BIGDATA 4RIVERS – Improving European river water quality through smart water management policies

One of Europe’s most relevant resources is the rivers that cross it. Rivers are not only primarily responsible for Europe’s rich and diverse natural ecosystems, but also the main source of water used by the population and its activities. Water is a scarce resource that must be protected and reused and, in this context, the preservation of the water quality of European rivers is a major concern for local, regional, national and even European authorities. Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under the Interreg Europa program with an eligible investment value of 1.29 million euros, BIGDATA 4RIVERS is a project that aims to advance the implementation of water directives, proposing the promotion of intelligent water management, where Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) must support this implementation in the territories covered.

The BIGDATA 4RIVERS project is led by CIM Alto Minho and has the collaboration of other European partners such as the Iberian Association of Municipalities bordering the Douro River (Spain); the Regional Development Fund on behalf of the Attica Region (Greece); the National Union of Romanian Entrepreneurs (Romania); the Östergötland County Administrative Council (Sweden); o DREAM – Competitiveness Cluster in Water and Environment (France); and the Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania).

The main objective of this project is to share and exchange experiences and good practices between partners, within the scope of efficient management of water resources management systems and cycles. This objective involves adapting these good practices and applying the lessons learned to the reality of each partner, through the development of individual Action Plans and promoting their application within the scope of the Regional / Local Public Policy Instruments. BIGDATA 4RIVERS is, in essence, a conducting project to generate mechanisms for sharing information and knowledge, allowing the incorporation of the best planning processes and supporting decision making in relation to regional / local water management. The interregional learning process will allow partners to learn and support each other, based on sharing their experiences in the implementation of the European directives provided for in the Water Framework Directive. The main results of the project are:

Joint analytical report with the objective of identifying the main water and water resources management policies and comparing the level of application of European water sector directives, allowing partners to identify opportunities and needs to improve their Political Instruments (IP);

Experience exchange activities (site visits, interregional training seminar and interregional workshop).

Since its approval, at the end of March 2019, the first phase of the project has already started, which focuses on the exchange of experiences and good practices with the aim of improving regional / national policies as a result of the elaboration of action plans which may be targeted for funding in the next phase of this type of project (2022-2023).