Four projects, including JOINTISZA, discuss synergy-building opportunities at capitalisation event during recent Danube Forum in Budapest
Representatives from four Interreg projects (CAMARO-D, DanubeSediment, DriDanube, and JOINTISZA) cooperating in the framework of Thematic Pole 4 in connection to water management, took part in a Danube Transnational Programme capitalisation event on October 19, 2017, during the 6th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, held in Budapest. The capitalisation event was streamed live on Facebook.
While each of the four projects focuses on a specific aspect of water management, the purpose of the event was to explore ways that the projects can get improved results through cooperation, collaboration, and sharing of information and expertise with the other project stakeholders. The event was moderated by Balazs Horvath from the General Directorate of Water Management, Hungary, and Coordinator for EUSDR Priority Area 4.
Participating in the capitalisation event as project representatives were: Hubert Siegel from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Water Management and Environment, the lead partner of the CAMARO-D project; Peter Bakonyi from the Technical University of Budapest, lead partner of the DanubeSediment project; Andreja Susnik from the Slovenian Environment Agency, representing the DriDanube project; and Gyorgy Ratfai from the Tisza Office of Szolnok, Hungary, and the General Directorate of Water Management, the lead partner of the JOINTISZA project.
Each of the participants was given the opportunity to introduce their project and describe main outputs, after which they shared possible and existing synergies with the other projects. Each of the projects started in 2017 and will run through mid-2019.
“What we’re trying to do with the Danube Strategy is to set up international projects that help in the implementation of river basin management plans, flood risk management plans and all related issues in a transboundary context,” Horvath said during his introduction.
“Land use, the focus of the CAMARO-D project, is a crucial issue when you talk about water management, but another is movement of sediment in rivers—and the DanubeSediment project can assist in identifying common methodologies,” Horvath continued. “Problems also arise when there is too little water, which is what the DriDanube project addresses, but here we move to a more integrated project—JOINTISZA—which involves five countries in drafting an integrated river basin management plan.”
Components and combinations
The CAMARO-D project has “partners from nine countries,” Hubert Siegel explained, “including governmental bodies, environmental agencies, water suppliers, and educational and research institutes. Our goal is not only to improve land use practices, but to also protect against floods.”
According to Siegel, the main outputs of CAMARO-D will be: a catchment-based land use development plan that will cover the whole area of the Danube basin; a decision support tool to help structure competences and facilitate acceptance of the land use development plan; and a roadmap for necessary steps and legislative concretisation at the national level of partner countries to improve land use management and organisational structure regarding water protection and flood protection.
A mid-term conference, planned for mid-2018, will involve JOINTISZA participants, as well as project partners EISDR, ICPDR and the Global Water Partnership. In spring 2019, the project will hold trainings in pilot areas dealing with interdependencies between land use, vegetation cover, groundwater resources, rivers and other areas, and will invite other pole project partners to share their new know-how. The main task of the project’s final conference will be to create an institutional, transnational Danube Region Platform to establish partnerships beyond the project lifetimes. Finally, the CAMARO-D project functions as an associated strategic partner of the DriDanube project through its cooperation with the Technical University of Vienna in model generation.
“In the Danube basin, there is an increasing discrepancy between sediment surpluses—that is, sedimentation of reservoirs—and sediment deficits—that is, coastal erosion,” said Peter Bakonyi. “An approach to deal with this issue needs to cover the whole river because sedimentation knows no administrative borders.”
Bakonyi recalled that the DanubeSediment project was started because ICPDR experts recognised the lack of relevant knowledge during the preparation of the first and second versions of the Danube River Basin Management Plan. The DanubeSediment project aims to improve sediment management and restore sediment balance along the Danube.
Main outputs will include: a “Danube Sediment Management Guide”, including measures to be implemented; sediment manuals for stakeholders; and provision of means and tools to implement recommended measures. Sustainable sediment management will improve navigability, improve ecological conditions, contribute to sustainable hydropower, and help reduce flood risk in the region, Bakonyi said.
As for inter-project collaboration, while “sediment is just one slice of water management, our input on floods can be used in the other three projects,” he claimed. “Regarding the JOINTISZA project, our outputs can be directly used in the Integrated Tisza River Basin Management Plan. With the CAMARO-D project, land use and planning technology will influence runoff from the river basin and will influence the input of sediment into the river—clear grounds for collaboration. Regarding the DriDanube project, while the connection is not so obvious, dry periods have an impact on levels of sedimentation, so there is a natural link where we can combine our efforts in developing our projects.”