Session 1.6: Mobilizing and integrating knowledge for water quality
Clean water is vital for human health, farming and food, biodiversity, tourism and recreation. The improvement of water quality is a major challenge given the pressures on the system from human activities in combination with global developments such as climate change and growing food demands. This challenge
cannot be solved with a disciplinary focus; it requires an integrated approach. The available budgets and public awareness of water quality are in general much lower than for water security.
In the European context, the Water Framework Directive challenges member states to improve water quality. The progress towards the goals set for 2027 varies across countries. In many regions, intensified efforts will be required. To this end, the Netherlands has started a national initiative called ‘Delta-approach for Water Quality and Fresh Water’ in order to coordinate the efforts of various national and regional authorities, research organizations and stakeholders. The development and implementation of effective policies, regulations and measures requires a sound understanding of drivers, pressures, stressors and stressor
interactions that cause ecological water quality impairment. Therefor state-of-the-art knowledge must be made accessible and usable for policy makers and water managers and new knowledge and practical tools for application have to be developed, Knowledge on water quality is present at several institutes in the Netherlands, but it is insufficiently integrated and accessible. Therefore, the Dutch research institutes Deltares, KWR, WUR-WER, RIVM (aligned
with PBL, STOWA, WVL) decided to strengthen their collaboration, for chemically clean and ecologically healthy water. This collaboration has been ratified in the Knowledge Impulse for Water Quaility (KIWQ). The institutes work closely with regional and national authorities, private companies, stakeholders and citizens.
On the international level, EU funding stimulates knowledge exchange and research collaboration, for example by Horizon 2020 projects and EIP focus groups. However given geographical and socio-economic factors, countries and regions within countries deal with different governance, environmental issues and
research questions. For these reasons, tailored research to understand the stressors and initiate effective en feasible measures, a common knowledge base, capacity building and knowledge integration on national and regional levels seems crucial for improving water quality.
While another session (initiated by Leo Posthuma) will highlight some of the topics that we are working on in the KIWQ, the current session will focus in particular on the way knowledge integration is organized in this program.
Questions to discuss in this special session:
– How to integrate knowledge across different organizations, regions and sectors?
– How to organize the production and integration of knowledge in such a way that it generates optimal impact?