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Decision Support for Water Framework Directive Implementation: Volume 3 is a concrete outcome from the Harmoni-CA concerted action as part of a 4-volume series of Guidance Reports that guide water professionals through the implementation process of the Water Framework Directive, with a focus on the use of ICT-tools (and in particular modelling).They are complementary to the Guidance Documents produced by the EU Directorate General for Environment.
Water resources planning and management and the development of appropriate policies require methodologies and tools that are able to support systematic, integrative and multidisciplinary assessments at various scales. It also requires the quantification of various uncertainties in both data and models, and the incorporation of stakeholders participation and institutional mechanisms into the various tools and risk assessment methodologies, to help decision makers understand and evaluate alternative measures and decisions.
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The other three volumes in the Water Framework Directive Series are:
- Water Framework Directive: Model supported Implementation - A Water Manager’s Guideedited by Fred Hattermann and Zbigniew W Kundzewicz
- Modelling Aspects of Water Framework Directive Implementation - Volume 1edited by Prof. Peter A. Vanrolleghem
- Integrated Assessment for WFD implementation: Data, economic and human dimension - Volume 2 edited by Peter A. Vanrolleghem
Read an Excerpt
Guidance Report III.1
Review of model-based tools with regard to the interaction of water management and agriculture
Guido M. Bazzani
This guidance report focuses on over fifty available tools that have a wider application, have been developed and applied in the context of EU-funded projects, or that present specific aspects of interest to support the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The review clarifies the policy context of European water management and agriculture, paying particular attention to the recent reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its interaction with the WFD. In order to categorise and summarise the various models and tools related to water management and agriculture, a framework based on four critical dimensions (spatial scale, irrigation measures, agricultural measures and economic analysis) is adopted.
The tools are categorised into three classes, namely agronomic tools, hydrology and water quality tools and economic and land use tools. Further information is provided, referring interested readers to a dedicated web portal that offers comprehensive, Europeanwide shared information. Moreover, this report also aims to give an insight into the ways in which transparency in decision-making is improved by models and tools, how they support current water managers' tasks and methods to compare different management options in terms of their ecological, economic and social impact. To this end, three examples of good application are presented. Finally, the review considers how models and tools should be used to support the implementation process of the WFD, particularly considering its demands on public participation.
Information and Communication Tools (ICT), Models, Agriculture, Water, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Water Framework Directive (WFD)
1. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
ABM Averting Behaviour Models
AES Agro-Environment Schemes
BMPs Best Management Practices
CAP Common Agricultural Policy
CR Contingent Ranking
CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
CV Contingent Valuation
DPSIR Driving force–Pressure–State–Impact–Response
DS Decision Support
DSS Decision Support Systems
EEA European Environment Agency
EU European Union
FADN The Farm Accountancy Data Network
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
GFP Good Farming Practices
GIS Geographic Information Systems
GUI Graphical User Interface
HPM Hedonic Pricing Models
ICT Information and Communication Technology
IT Information Technology
K Potash (potassium)
MCA Multi-Criteria Analysis
MCDA Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
NGO Non-Governmental Organization
PC Personal Computer
PEC PEsticides Concentration
RB River Basin
RBMP River Basin Management Plans
RD Rural Development
RDM Recreational Demand Methods
RUSLE Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation
SDSS Spatial Decision Support Systems
SFP Single Farm Payment
SPS Single Payment Scheme
TEU Treaty of the European Community
TMDLs Total Maximum Daily Loads
USDA-ARS United States Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service
USEPA United States Environmental Protection Agency
USLE Universal Soil Loss Equation
WFD Water Framework Directive
2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This guidance report is primarily directed at water and agricultural managers who wish to find out about agricultural policy reform and existing models and tools that support joint water and agricultural management processes. It may also be beneficial to water authorities, water irrigation and reclamation boards, farmers' associations and NGOs. The goals of the document are manifold:
- to clarify the policy context, paying special attention to the recent reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its interaction with the Water Framework Directive (WFD);
- to categorize existing tools and models related to water and agriculture;
- to encourage stakeholders to use models and tools by offering examples of good application;
- to suggest how models and tools should be used to support a participatory implementation process of the WFD in agriculture.
2.2. Interaction between the Common Agricultural Policy and the Water Framework Directive
Agriculture plays a central role in water management, since it is a significant utilizer of water resources in Europe, accounting for around 30% of total use. In southern Europe, water is a fundamental agricultural input, with irrigation accounting for over 50% of demand. Furthermore, agriculture and forestry, which cover more than three-quarters of the area of the European Union, play a key role in determining the rural economy and environmental quality. Environmental pressures due to agricultural activities, including water pollution, are often viewed as a serious problem in many areas.
Due to an agreement on the Mid-Term Review of the CAP reached in June 2003, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has adopted a new model for European agriculture. This model reflects the multifunctional role played by farming, integrating economic viability, food safety, social balance and environmental concerns. The key elements of the reform, which completely changes the way in which the EU supports its farm sector, are: adoption of a "single farm payment" for EU farmers – aid paid to producers will no longer be dependent on type of production, thus "decoupling" aid from, or removing the causes of, indirect environmental damage; enforcement of "cross-compliance", which makes direct payments conditional on specific requirements; strengthening Rural Development (RD) policy, into which instruments directly concerned with environmental outcomes are inserted.
The WFD and RD policy both adopt planning processes. However, important differences arise between them, of which scale and time could cause major problems. Win-win situations for both policies require close attention in the implementation phase; representatives from different authorities should interact to create a common vision of agricultural and environmental problems.
2.3. Categorization of existing tools and models
This guidance report focuses on over fifty available tools that have a wider application, have been developed and applied in the context of EU-funded projects, or that present specific aspects of interest to support the implementation of the WFD. To categorize and summarize these tools, a framework based on four critical dimensions (spatial scale, irrigation measures, agricultural measures and economic analysis) is adopted. The tools are categorised into three classes:
* agronomic tools;
* hydrology and water quality tools;
* economic and land use tools.
This review demonstrates how most tools tend to shift towards a new class, embracing holistic integrated Decision Support Systems (DSS). This follows the observed trend in modelling, which is changing from monodisciplinary to multidisciplinary approaches, in which several domains are integrated.
The non-exhaustive list can support the identification of models and tools to address specific issues, including the correct consideration of domains, scales and types of measures. A table in the annex summarizes the relevant information and includes each tool's website and contact details.
Further information is provided, referring interested readers to a dedicated web portal that offers comprehensive, shared European information, such as WISE, the 'Water Information System for Europe'. Since innovation in computational technology will further enhance the frontier of modelling, web portals are a key instrument for water and agricultural managers to access updated information.
2.4. Examples of good application
Three examples of good application are presented. The selected case studies have been carried out recently in different European water basins in the context of EU-funded projects. The projects are:
* WaterStrategyMan in the ARID cluster
* the German Elbe River Basin
* the Piave River Basin in Italy.
The case studies give an insight into relevant questions such as: How can tools improve transparency in decision-making? How can tools support water managers in their present tasks? How can various management options be compared in terms of their ecological, economic and social impact?
2.5. Models and tools to support the participatory implementation process of the WFD
The final section of the guidance report explores considerations of how models and tools should be used to support the implementation process of the WFD.
Good practice in model application deserves continual attention. In fact, the credibility and impact of the information and insight that modelling aims to generate are highly dependent on the quality of the modelling exercise.
The political process-oriented nature of water management requires an adaptive approach, which should also consider how models and tools should be used. A multilevel approach in modelling is recommended. At a higher level, conceptual models can support the definition of a common conceptual framework for cross-disciplinary work involving authorities, managers, stakeholders and researchers. At lower levels, quantitative models can support specific analyses exploring the strength of interactions and the sensitivity of the system to changes. The information produced, clarifying the areas of greatest uncertainty and influence on system evolution under different assumptions, can help prioritize field research and support water and agricultural management. However, it cannot offer definitive solutions, since uncertainty and subjectivity are intrinsic to all decision processes, which tools can reduce but not eliminate.
Since water pollution caused by agricultural activities is not specific to irrigated agriculture, the design of policies capable of increasing water quality, while preserving the economic and social sustainability of agricultural systems, requires a clear understanding of the complex relation at different scales from the field/farm up to region catchments and basins. Such understanding can be favoured by a combination of existing tools used by multidisciplinary teams of well-trained people with adequate data in the participatory process.
The definition of packages of integrated measures addressing quality and quantity issues can be supported by tools. However, there is no general solution, since measures are case-dependent. Various tools include specific routines to support the economic analysis requested by the WFD in one or more of the addressed aspects, ranging from the economic analysis of water use, cost recovery and pricing schemes, up to the evaluation of benefits to the environment and society, and eventually of disproportionate cost. Nonetheless, the support provided by such tools is highly dependent on how they are used – at present, it is incumbent on the Member States to decide how such analyses and valuations should be carried out; no common guidelines are defined.
The translation of the experience gained in research to the management domain will probably be a long process, in which support by the scientific community should be considered essential. In order to bridge the gap to real-world decision processes, the following recommendations are deemed important:
- a multilevel approach in modelling that integrates conceptual and quantitative models should be adopted;
- participatory modelling involving end users and stakeholders in modelling exercises should be implemented to enable them to understand and review the various assumptions and their implications for the modelling results;
- training and capacity-building activities are necessary at the local level;
- models and tools need to be adapted to local pre-established approaches, not vice versa;
- models and tools should be viewed as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) components of a structured and flexible approach.
This guidance report follows the 2nd Policy Workshop of Harmoni-CA/WP5: Interaction of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Implementation of the Water Framework Directive at European and Regional Levels, which was held on 4-5 April 2005 in Brussels. The Harmoni-CA Document: HCA-WP5-2005-Re05/ Final Version-Deliverable No. D 5.3.2 20.04.05 by Ilke Borowski and Johannes Heeb summarizes: "The workshop gave 30 agricultural and water managers from European, national and regional authorities the chance to get their hands on tools/models which may support their management activities during the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive and the Common Agricultural Policy. During the workshop an intensive exchange between the developers of the presented tools/models took place. Seven existing and easily accessible tools/models were presented and evaluated according to management questions which were defined by the participants with regard to the changing conditions under the WFD and the CAP. ... During the workshop the discussion of the seven presented tools/models showed that most of the tools/models can support the joint water and agricultural management processes in some regard. However there was no tool/model identified which was considered fully capable to sufficiently answer all questions raised by the policy makers with regards to the interaction of CAP and WFD. Also, no combination of the presented tools/models was able to do so. The main gaps of the tools/models were identified in terms of the general integration of different domains like water quality, quantity, ecology but especially of economic evaluation means" (Borowski and Heeb, 2005, p. 3).
The guidance report includes a to-do list for tool/model developers, which contains a summary of the demands identified during the workshop from the policy side:
1. "Supporting participation - The existing tools/models can support and facilitate participation. But stakeholders have to be involved more intensively in the tool/model development process to bridge the knowledge gap between them, the "river basin managers" and the scientists (or in other words to make better use of existing knowledge).
2. Supporting economic assessments - There is a clear need for tools/models to support integrated economic assessments of policy measures. Existing tools/models should be integrated with existing agro-economic tools/ models.
3. Transferability and applicability - Models should be developed to make a region-specific evaluation of policy measures possible. This, however, means that rather than having a few general tools/models, there is a need for a large number of specific, regional tools/models; a need which requires more resources. Tools/models should facilitate conflict and synergy management between CAP and WFD.
4. Integration - Tools/models should be developed to make more systemic work possible, integrating ecological, economical and social issues at qualitative and quantitative levels.
5. Simulation of behaviour - Tools/models are needed to simulate farmers' behaviour in response to policy measures. This would help to work out concrete action plans and select the most sustainable development scenario based on the simulation results.
6. Motivate policy makers to use the tools/models - Tools/models are still mostly used in the academic world. In order to convince policy makers to use tools/models in their daily work, information about the abilities, the validity, the level of uncertainty and the conditions of applicability of the tools/models have to be clearer to the practitioners. Tools/models should make clear what added value they can provide to policy makers working in integrated and participator river basin management in the CAP – WFD context. Access to the tools/models should be made easier for policy makers: promising options are toolboxes as developed, e.g. in the BMW project or the Harmoni-CA toolbox (www.harmoni-ca.info). In addition to technical solutions, more work needs to be done to understand the working constraints of policy makers so that tools/models can be adapted to fit their work."
Excerpted from "Decision Support for Water Framework Directive Implementation Volume 3"
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Table of Contents
Contents: Decision support systems for water resources management: Current state and guidelines for tool development, Carlo Giupponi, Jaroslav Mysiak, Yaella Depietri and Marco Tamaro; Model-based tools regarding the interaction of water management and agriculture, Guido M. Bazzani