SPNL participated in the Sub-regional training on the Cost Assessment of Water Resources Degradation that took place in Athens, 23- 24-25 June 2014.
The aim of this training workshop is to assess the economic valuation of water resources at the basin level. In the past two years, SWIM-SM has focused on assessing the cost of water resources degradation in order to demonstrate the usefulness of quantifying the economic gains and losses for a range of water management decisions. In 2014, SWIM-SM will focus on policy analysis, capacity building and applied analysis in Cost Assessment of Water Resources Degradation (CAWRD), complemented by a water/environment policy assessment. In this context, the sub-regional training has be organized with the aim to provide technical training of practitioners as well as sensitization of policymakers and other stakeholders in the use of CAWRD.
The Southern Mediterranean Region, comprising the Project Countries are faced with the issues of water scarcity, salinity, water logging, bacteriological and chemical contamination, and dam sedimentation. These issues affect directly and indirectly all water and land uses, namely agriculture ,fisheries ,domestic use, sanitation, health, industry, hydropower , tourism and biodiversity.
The water and soil concerns are at the heart of the water policies in the Project Countries, and the mainstreaming of water resources and land use. Governments invested considerably in building an increasingly integrated hydraulic infrastructure (dams, wells, installations to recharge aquifers, desalination, treatment of wastewater, water transfer…). During the last decade, significant progress was made in the decentralization of water resource management, mainly focused on participatory management methods, accompanied by technical and financial support by the State.
These problems are widely acknowledged at national level through a series of technical reports and economic studies of degradation which was spearheaded first by the Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Program ( METAP) in its cost of environment degradation (COED) regional program and subsequently by the European Commission on the Analysis for European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Countries and the Russian Federation, on social and economic benefits of enhanced environmental protection. The estimates, however, cannot be used directly to provide an operational response as they did not consider the costs and benefits of possible solutions to the watershed degradation problems. In fact less is known at a more detailed river basin level as no accurate identification of problems and evaluation of the associated costs of degradation have been undertaken so far. However it is at the basin level, that decisions has to be taken as to the management, and the protection of the water resources in full collaboration with local authorities and in particular the regional/local wastewater establishment.
Sustainable Water Integrated Management (SWIM) is a Regional Technical Assistance Programme launched by the European Commission with a budget of € 22 million and aims to contribute to the extensive dissemination and effective implementation of sustainable water management policies and practices in the Southern Mediterranean Region. This is in the context of increasing water scarcity, combined pressures on water resources from a wide range of users, desertification processes and in connection with climate change.