More equitable allocation of water between different users, better implementation of environmental legislation, cleaning up our riverbeds, awareness campaigns, and the expansion of parks along rivers could help Cyprus adapt to climate change. These were some of the options proposed by a diverse group of stakeholders during the first BeWater Project workshop organized at The Cyprus Institute on 2 July 2014.
Research conducted by The Cyprus Institute indicates that within the near future (2020-2050) Cyprus will experience more drought years, more extreme rainfall events, and more days with temperatures above 35oC. With climate change looming, water management is becoming even more important for Cyprus and the water scarce countries in the Mediterranean region. But we still don’t get it right! Adriana Bruggeman, Research Scientist at The Cyprus Institute, explained that this is the reason why the BeWater Project aims to do things differently. The European funded BeWater project is leading a process of dialogue and collaboration between scientists and society in river basins in Spain, Slovenia, Tunisia and Cyprus.
Mr Kourtellaris, an agricultural producer, strongly believes that water means existence and a source of income as well. Bird Life's Director Claire Papazoglou stated that adaptive water management plans need to consider the role of biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem services. Public Works officer Stavros Kleanthous explained that water also creates a continuous challenge for sustainable urban drainage management.
The workshop gathered environmentalists, community leaders, town planners and water, agriculture and environmental businesses and officials. These stakeholders first identified the key challenges for future water management in the Pedieos River Basin. Together they then took up the task and mapped their ideas for sustainable solutions.
From September 2014 onwards, the process will expand further through interviews with experts and authorities and public talks. A second workshop will be organized in June 2015 to evaluate these climate adaptation proposals and plans collectively.
The BeWater project (Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change) is financed through the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission under the Science in Society initiative.