Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
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HTML Document SMAP priority on integrated water management

Released 15/02/2006

The water sector is a key area for the protection of the environment and sustainable development in the Mediterranean.

Water is a scarce and fragile resource, widely exploited and unequally distributed throughout the region.
Shortage, salinisation and overexploitation leading to considerable losses, are different facets of an irrational use and management of this precious natural resource.

Pollution and mismanagement of water can have negative effects on health, on economic development and on the overall protection of the environment in the region. It can lead to soil degradation, as well as to loss of precious wetlands and biodiversity.

In line with the approach established by the Marseilles Euro-Mediterranean Water Conference, the Helsinky Declaration suggests that action to promote sustainable water management must be based on a global and integrated approach capable of anticipating future problems and aiming at the increase and diversification of supply and the sustainable management of water demand.

The Euro-Mediterranean information system on know-how in the water management sector, the establishment of which was decided by the Marseilles Water Conference, could be used to spread information on available water management techniques and new technologies.

The Helsinky Declaration points out the following urgent actions to be undertaken in this sector:

  • Evaluation and monitoring of water quality and quantity; assessment of potential resources especially in critical areas
  • Establishment and implementation of programmes for the provision of safe drinking water, and for waste water treatment systems in the Mediterranean, encouraging transfer of appropriate technology and know-how to this regard
  • Establishment and implementation of water conservation plans
  • Protection of water reservoirs and wetlands and establishment of river basin and catchment area management plans
  • Identification and use of measures and techniques for:
  • improved collection, treatment, disposal and re-use of municipal and industrial waste water, sludge and stormwater run-off
  • prevention of salinisation and treatment of brackish water
  • Establishment and implementation of programmes to tackle water losses and development of techniques to reduce irrigation inputs
  • Encouragement of decentralised authorities, bringing together users and local communities on the basis of shared responsibilities, using appropriate measures to alter unsustainable water production and use patterns, with the aim of promoting the integrated local management of water
  • Reorganisation of the management of water resources leading, where appropriate, to the establishment of financially autonomous enterprises and other similar bodies
Source: Helsinki Declaration, Nov 1997