Managing the effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems under water scarcity
The Environmental Quality Group within the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College is leading Work Package 12, of the €10 million multidisciplinary 5 year research programme carried out to investigate how the effects of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystems under water scarcity can be sustainably managed, called Globaqua and funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme.
A consortium of 23 research partners across Europe, Canada and Morocco brings together leading experts in the fields of environmental science, economics, sociology and policy analysis. within Globaqua, investigating how water management policy can be revised. Specifically, they will establish how current water management policies could be improved to better account for the interactions of multiple stressors under water scarcity. This will involve performing a systematic review into how current legislation (including the Water Framework Directive) and practices related to water manage these stressors together, evaluating the scientific soundness of policies and their implementation in European nations. Further tasks will make recommendations for the amendment of EU water policies so that uncertainties about how different stressors interact are addressed and how methodologies and tools that diagnose change in water bodies could be used to support the development of policies that deliver environmental benefits.
There are also six case studies within the Globaqua project and Imperial College are co-ordinating the UK inputs, focusing on the Broads catchment in the Anglian Region. The case study aims to deliver an analysis of the effects of different water flows (e.g. floods, droughts) on multiple stressors and the response of biodiversity; and an assessment of change scenarios on ecosystem services and socio-economic development.
By consulting throughout the project with stakeholder panels which include representatives from regulatory bodies across Europe as well as end users such as water companies, the outcomes from Globaqua will shape policy that delivers optimal water management solutions to deal with global environmental change.
Imperial’s contribution is being led by Dr Nick Voulvoulis. Two Globaqua PhD researchers (Karl Arpon and Theo Giakoumis) are also contributing to the knowledge on utilising a systems approach to water management and determining the tools and indicators required for such an approach. Within the project there is a stakeholder panel comprising of six European experts in the field of water management.