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Sustainable use of water resources and rural development in drought affected areas (IMAGE)
Date du début: 31 mai 2006, Date de fin: 30 mars 2008 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

The main objective of the project IMAGE is to develop a Water and Rural Development Support System (WARD¬SS). WARDSS is software that will assist institutional organisation in decision making processes on sustainable use of natural resources and rural development. The WARDSS architecture will be based on an inter-institutional/participatory approach, whose design will actively involve, at different levels, all parties associated to the water resource use/management. The WARDSS software will be a web-based open-source accessible to all institutional organisation that are involved in defining water polices. The sustainable use of natural resources requires an adequate management of the key activities associated to them. Most of the current political strategies that should aim at implementing, in each rural context, these resource conservation principles have been developed without considering the inter-dependency of such principles within the agro-eco-system as a whole. In this respect, specific measures conceived for optimizing water resource management, containing soil degradation/erosion/ salinization, minimizing soil and underground water nutrients/pesticides concentrations, preserving natural habitats and landscape have been considered separately in the current EU legislative frameworks. In contrast, these components are closely connected as regard to both their environmental impact and their effects on the sustainability of the rural development itself. For the water resource, an example of an integrated approach is the Water Framework Directive (WFD) which indicates the Water District as the elementary territorial reference unit on which environmental management decision policies should be defined. Based on this territorial context, this project aims at defining an integrated strategy for water resource management which coordinates the players involved at: 1. First Level – administrative/political scale; 2. Second Level – management/distribution scale; 3. Third Level - end-user/local community scale. For each level, specific strategies to combat drought, salinization and desertification will be proposed. A Water and Rural Development Support System (WARD¬SS) will be developed as a computer based open-source tool for predicting the social, economical and environmental implications of an integrated management of conservation measures. Each partner will be working in areas highly exposed to water shortage and will contribute to one or more of the following fundamental steps (WPs in the detailed description): 1. Defining parameters that will indicate how water shortage may affect (A) productivity, employment and development of different sectors, (B) social structure, (C) other natural resources: 2. Collaborating in establishing an information exchange platform accessible to all partners; 3. Designing the WARDSS architecture based on both an inter-institutional and a participatory approach; 4. Simulating application of WARDSS at district (Basilicata Region) and sub-district (Creta – OADYK) levels. The WARDSS will represent a support tool for decision making processes on sustainable use of natural resources and rural development and as such it will be useful in assessing the effects (ex-ante and in-itinere) of implementing the 2007/2013 rural development policies in different contexts. The WARDSS software will be a web-based open-source accessible to all institutional organisms that are involved in defining water polices.



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