INNOMED project: Innovative options for water resources management in the Mediterranean – The Portuguese case study

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Pedro Beca (Portugal) 1; Santiago Begueír’a (Spain) 2; Paulo Diogo (Portugal) 1; António Carmona Rodrigues (Portugal) 1; João Fonseca (Portugal) 1

1 - MARE - FCT/UNL - Universidade NOVA de Lisboa; 2 - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

With the aim of improving the adaptation measures needed in sustainable water use, there is a growing interest in a better understanding of the interactions between land use, climate, and their effects on water resources, as well as people’s livelihoods. This is very relevant in areas such as the Mediterranean, one of the regions on the planet that is likely to be most affected by climate change (CC), with significant impacts on water resources. In this region, there are currently issues of water scarcity, and there is a high concentration of economic activities that are highly dependent on climate sensitive resources.

The main objective of INNOMED is to develop and apply a multidisciplinary approach to study alternative management options in forestry and agriculture, focused on the improvement of water use efficiency, as well as promoting sustainable land and water management solutions at the river basin level. The project is carried out in five pilot study areas: Cyprus, Italy, Moldavia, Portugal and Spain. This work presents part of the project, focused on the Portuguese case study – the Degebe river basin in the Alentejo region, which includes three reservoirs providing water to agriculture and human consumption. In total the study area provides water for an irrigated area of about 3000 ha and a population of 65000 people.

The methods in use include:

  1. river basin water balance analysis, using eco-hydrological simulations for different (present and future) climatic conditions;
  2. assessment of the blue- and green-water footprint of (current and alternative) land uses and management approaches;
  3. economic analysis of the proposed management options.

The project is developed in close collaboration with stakeholders, which allows identifying present and innovative management options and proposing new water management strategies.

The project started in 2017 and is still ongoing until 2020; thus far, preliminary results using climate data downscaling for hydrological modeling indicate that there is an annual trend of increase on average temperature, combined with a change in the seasonal patterns of precipitation. It is thus foreseen a significant impact on the availability of both green and blue water for agriculture and forestry, which will have a significant effect in the use management of water resources, in some cases possibly implying different land uses and management approaches. INNOMED is intended to provide a significant contribution to improve knowledge in water management, and support the development of new strategies for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).