The project dealt with real case studies, involving six study sites located in coastal areas over the Mediterranean, both in the North and South. The project took into account fresh water bodies as well as transitional waters (the estuarine part of the system), where most of the demographic concentration occurs.
Key stakeholders were contacted at the chosen sites, and agreed to collaborate in the project providing the necessary information on water supply, uses and demand, and expressed interest in the project outputs. International multidisciplinary teams were established for each case study, and focal technical meetings were promoted locally, involving key stakeholders.
Special attention was adopted to involve women stakeholders, for their specific role in water uses. The first information flow was down-top, and the issue/s specific for each case study were proposed as such by the stakeholders.
This approach provided a perception of the relationships of the local community with the water, and the results have constituted the baseline for discussion on guidelines for water management with the stakeholders.
The research described the system qualitatively in a conceptual model, also defining spatial limits for the system and consequently the survey. Significant elements of the systems, with relation to the issue/s identified by the stakeholders, were then estimated quantitatively, to build databases, develop quantitative models and identify trends. Impacts were then assessed and analysed, searching for early indicators of changes.
Stakeholders and local communities participated in providing existing information. In this case the flow of information was in both directions: researchers explained their methodologies and research results, local stakeholders contributed with their knowledge and perception of the issue/s.
Alternative management strategies for the case studies were then developed and proposed to stakeholders for evaluation. In this case, the flow of information was top-down, and horizontal, with exchanges among experts and stakeholders.
The final product, i.e. management strategies and guidelines for management of water bodies in Mediterranean coastal area, has been proposed to stakeholders at the national and international levels. In this case, as well as for other products of the project (databases, protocols for use of bioindicators, monitoring plans, etc.) the flow of information has been from the project (partners and local stakeholders involved) to the exterior. The project contributed to popular education through the involvement of the local communities, and offered international training to students and young researchers, both from Mediterranean Partner Countries and Europe, in the different phases of the project.
The approach, the methodology and the expected outputs of the WADI project are described in details in separate WORKPACKAGES: