The Horizon 2022 project RETOUCH Nexus stands at the forefront of research and innovation for resilient water governance in the face of climate change in the European Union. This initiative champions an integrated approach to water governance, introducing the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus as a cross-sectoral strategy that prioritizes ecological and social considerations within the EU water economy.
The primary goal of RETOUCH Nexus is to design and promote integrated, innovative, and inclusive Nexus-smart water governance schemes. These schemes aim to secure a resilient water future in the EU against the impacts of climate change. The project employs an evidence-based approach, utilizing six case studies to propose, assess, and optimize WEFE Nexus-smart methods across various water governance contexts.
1. Monitoring Water Governance: socio-economic and environmental indicators are provided, reflecting the cross-sectoral and multi-level nature of water use.
2. Designing Resilient Practices: climate-resilient water governance practices are developed, ensuring sustainability and robust management under cross-sectoral competition.
3. Fostering Engagement: transparent, inclusive, and innovative engagement mechanisms are promoted, empowering stakeholder and citizen participation in water governance.
4. Upscaling Success: socio-economic and environmental resilience are increased by upscaling successful Nexus-based water governance interventions validated throughout the project’s duration.
Given the unique challenges faced by islands, effective water management becomes crucial. The project has a focus on islands with the inclusion of Malta and Texel (Netherlands), addressing key issues such as water scarcity and high import costs, as well as limited agricultural land.
Recent accomplishments within the project include the creation of stakeholder engagement roadmaps focusing on multi-actor engagement mechanisms for water governance. With the participation of Case Study Leaders and the contribution of Greening the Islands (GTI), each roadmap was tailored to the specific case study identifying twelve innovative mechanisms and supporting guidelines to engage stakeholders and citizens, fostering inclusive participation in water governance. This process included the use of the GTI App as a tool to exchange ideas, knowledge, and experiences on the respective processes in place.
The GTI App will be showcased during the RETOUCH Nexus General Assembly, scheduled for January in Valencia, Spain, to facilitate online stakeholder engagement, share best practices, and create forums for debates. The project’s consortium, led by the Technical University of Munich, includes partners from Spain, Malta, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovakia, France, Belgium, and more.
The RETOUCH Nexus project represents a milestone in advancing water governance, integrating innovation, inclusivity, and resilience for a secure water future in the EU. Stay tuned for updates as the project unfolds, with the upcoming General Assembly promising further insights and collaboration opportunities among consortium members.