The main objective of the TEACHER-CE project is to develop an integrated and joint strategy for improvement of existing water management practices (implementation of EU water legislation) taking into consideration knowledge gained from previous projects. Strategy will be released for promoting and stimulating adoption of TEACHER-CE Toolbox (CC-ARP-CE) for efficient decision making in water management planning.
In order to achieve this objective, it was necessary to identify the gaps in existing strategies, policy documents and directives implementation at the operational level. For this purpose, a multi-perspective approach was applied, which combines an identification of gaps:
- at the level of European Union water legislation in order to identify potential policy gaps that may explain difficulties at the local level;
- at the level of countries from a formal perspective through the RBMP (River Basin Management Plan) and FRMP (Flood Risk Management Plan) assessment reports;
- at the local, regional, river basin and national level in the frame of a scope review of policy documents;
- from a horizontal perspective with review of grey and scientific literature and previously funded projects.
Major effort was made for local, regional, river basin and national level analysis of policy documents. A review group formed by representatives of all project partners analysed over 100 policy documents containing strategies related to water management and adaptation to climate change. These documents include: river basin management plans, flood risk management plans, climate, environmental and spatial strategies and plans. The collected knowledge made it possible to recognise the scope of existing strategies and identify gaps in them that reduce their effectiveness in the implementation of climate proof, sustainable water management. Most of the analysed strategies need to be supplemented with the characteristics of predicted climate changes, additional measures and methods of increasing resistance to drought or floods while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The TEACHER project responds to the needs of supplementing and improving existing strategies and policy documents by providing a wide range of tools - from describing climate change, through diagnosing current and future problems, to delivering carefully selected adaptation measures included in the catalogue and capitalized projects. Proposed vision of strategies improvement consists of 4 general recommendations:
1) Integrate assumptions of national/regional documents into the planning process
Addressing problems at a coarse national/sub-continental scale may be not the appropriate scale to respond and manage risks locally. Nevertheless, local policy documents should consider the objectives of the national/ regional ones to achieve synergy with them and, in case of RBMP and FRMP, be consistent at the watershed level.
2) Integrate the climate change effects into the planning process
Climate change effects should be considered when setting objectives of the policy document. This exercise of integration should be transparent: the policy document should clearly explain how climate change is taken into consideration. To describe climate change, it is also recommended to take into account IPCC scenarios as a reference data.
3) Maximize of cross-sectoral benefits
To achieve these objectives, local planning actors should apply integrated, multi-criteria and strategic solutions. Thus, an interdisciplinary approach should be favoured. Maximizing cross-sectoral benefits will de facto promote green infrastructure and nature-based solutions.
4) Privilege the implementation of nature-based solutions, implementing sustainable land use
Local planning actors consider and promote the potential of solutions based on ecosystem services for the protection of water source (quantitatively and qualitatively) or the adaptation to climate change.
More detailed recommendations, in the form of a step-by-step guideline, were prepared for operational level of water management planning:
Step #0 – Preparation – engaging stakeholders and other audiences
- Obtaining political support for adaptation
- Setting up consultative and participatory mechanisms to enable:
- the multi-stakeholder engagement in the adaptation process,
- a continuous communication process for the engagement of the different target audiences,
- Assigning roles and responsibilities of the “core adaptation team” responsible of the review of the strategy within the administration, setting up institutional cooperation,
- Identifying and securing human, technical and financial resources
Step #1 – Identification and prioritisation of relevant fields of action in the local context
- Identifying which fields of action are considered as a relevant local issue
- Prioritising identified fields of action
Step #2- Climate change description: state of play and projections
- Recognizing past and present climate impacts (overview of past climate and extreme weather events, their consequences and existing response actions is in place)
- Describing the climate changes projection at the local scale:
- in the atmospheric medium;
- in the hydrological medium;
- in the hydrogeological medium;
- in the frequency of extreme meteorological events.
Step #3 – State of play of the different fields of actions and objectives
- Describing the state of play of the different fields of actions
- Describing of objectives of the different fields of actions
- Setting up a schedule to reach the objectives (the time perspective of the reviewed document).
- Using GIS methodologies/tools indicating potential needs (vulnerabilities) and possibilities (capacities) of NSWRM (Natural Small Water Retention Measures) development based on multi-criteria analysis taking into account environmental conditions
Step #4 – Assessing the Climate Change risks associated with objectives - Integration of the Step #2 with the Step #3
- Preparing the assessment by determining the impact of the climate changes on the fields of action objectives defined in the reviewed document, by:
- identifying of connections between fields of action to understand the interdependencies and maximize the cross-sectoral benefits at the step #5
- identifying the impacts of climate change on the water use, considering the interactions between fields of actions
- checking the robustness of the measures planned in the reviewed documents or its assumptions (climate change resilience test)
- Assessing the climate change risk by developing an impact chain by identifying and organizing its 3 components:
- the hazards (e.g.: too high temperatures) on the basis #2
- the vulnerabilities (e.g.: unfavourable soil conditions) - on the basis of the step #3
- the exposures (e.g.: high proportion of agriculture in the local economy) on the basis #3
Step #5 – Identification and selection of adaptation measures
- Defining the operational priorities, e.g.: how much your objectives are time bounded? What is the affordability of the actors? E.g.: the ranking and catalogue of measures of the CC-ARP-CE Tool provides a prioritisation system with 4 criteria:
- duration and complexity of implementation;
- Involving stakeholders in the development of the prioritization/ selection system for adaptation measures or in the process of weighting criteria
- Using decision Support Tool (DST) developed for supporting the implementation of innovative Best Management Practices (BMPs)
- Completing the analysis by discussing with stakeholders about the best way to address vulnerabilities.
Step #6 – preparation of the implementation of the reviewed document and the monitoring of its objectives, assessment of impact
- Consulting stakeholders and ensuring their approval and support for the chosen set of measures
- Consulting with neighbouring countries in the field of adaption measures (if applicable)
- Identifying of indicators to evaluate the achievement of the objectives
- Assessing the document on emission of greenhouse gases or adaptation to the climate change at the step of impact assessment, supporting expert judgment with data
Operational recommendations aim to integrate the dynamics of the effects of climate change in the planning process of policy documents associated - directly or indirectly - with water management. In other words, they try to ensure that the document's objectives are met despite the climate risk. The guideline mainly refers to the CC-ARP-CE tool and the cross-fertilized projects and takes into account the assumptions of the European Climate Adaptation Platform “Climate-ADAPT”.