SMART:  Sustainable Management of Scarce Resources
in the Mediterranean Coastal Zone
Project Summary Project Objectives Policy Contributions Innovation Deliverables

Project Work Plan
The project is designed for a period of three years. It will consist of four overlapping main phases with their associated milestones.

The first, initial phase is dedicated to the analysis of detailed requirements and constraints, data availability versus data requirements, and the resulting detailed specifications for the methodological approach derived from these requirements and constraints. The different physiographical as well as socio-economic setting of the individual case studies planned will provide a rich set of examples for a truly generic approach across the five Mediterranean case study countries.

The second phase will concentrate, in parallel, on data compilation and tool development. Based on the specifications evolving from the overlapping first phase, the set of tools to be used will be adjusted and adapted for the conceptual framework of the project. A main element here is the integration of quantitative methods based on simulation modeling and qualitative assessment in the socio-economic domain. Emphasis is on economic assessment to evaluate policy options in terms of economic efficiency. An important objective will be to achieve enough methodological flexibility to meet the constraints expected in different settings.

The third and central phase will concentrate on the individual case studies; the emphasis here is on the parallel use and comparative evaluation of a common methodology and set of tools for a range of regional studies with different emphasis within the common theme. Direct comparability of policy options will be ensured through the use of a common framework of indicators. Running the case studies in parallel and synchronized as much as possible should guarantee the full exploitation of different experiences in the case studies, leading to more general conclusions but also an effective work style through shared experience with common tools and objectives.

The fourth phase, again overlapping with the previous steps, will concentrate on comparative evaluation and dissemination. Generalization of the policy lessons learned, and the dissemination of project results to as wide as possible an audience using a broad range of communication methods prominently including the Internet will be the central activities. Dissemination is understood not as a post-processing step in the project, but as an essential element of the policy making process itself, assisted by systems analysis and information technology as the methodological core of the approach.

The scientific and technical approach
The proposal is based on a number of principles of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (COM(2000)547), and water resources management (2000/60/EC) in particular. These are:

  • A broad holistic and systemic approach;
  • A long-term perspective of sustainability;
  • Exploitation of natural processes and controls;
  • Adaptive management and collective learning;
  • Participatory planning and policy making;
  • Adaptation to local/regional requirements and specificity;
  • Involvement of all relevant actors and stake holders;
  • Use of a flexible combination of instruments.
The approach is inter- and multi-disciplinary, and in particular aims to bring together quantitative numerical analysis as the basis for any rational resource and coastal zone management policies with the tools and methods of socio-economic research. Combining the rigor and intellectual discipline of quantitative analysis and numerical modeling with the flexibility and problem orientation of in part qualitative and semi-quantitative socio-economic analysis should result in a consistent, plausible, and practical contribution to sustainable development policies.

The approach rests on four main and iterative steps:

  • Socio-economic analysis to define problem issues, objectives and constraints, and the network of actors involved; this should identify for the case study areas the main problems of coastal zone development, and water resources management in particular, together with a set of potential policy instruments that may redress these problems towards toward an overall policy objective of sustainability, which implies economic efficiency and distributional equity.
  • Quantitative analysis of the biophysical resource system, based on numerical simulation of policy scenarios identified and defined above; this includes an economic assessment of the costs and benefits of water use and supply (expressed as net present value) driven by overall development trends and land use change;
  • Assessment of these scenarios in terms of the criteria and against the objectives defined in the socio-economic analysis; this extends the basic monetary assessment with considerations of distributional effects, administrative and enforcement efficiency, and overall political feasibility;
  • Communication of the results to the actors and stake holders network, integration of broad feedback on assessment and policy alternatives into the next round of iteration.
This approach, at the level of the individual parallel regional case studies, will supplemented by an additional layer of comparative analysis across the case studies in the different countries in an attempt to distill generalized lessons and best practice concepts, as well as a comparison with EU policies sustainable development policies.

The Socio-economic framework
Integrated Coastal Zone management requires a broad, holistic perspective (COM(95)511, COM(2000)547). At the same time, water is clearly a key resource, and the river basin a central unit of assessment on a the regional scale.

European environmental policies, as exemplified by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC), is increasingly oriented toward economic efficiency and the polluter pays principle. Extended by the principle of distributional equity, and the constraints of administrative, regulatory and enforcement efficiency, and general political feasibility, this provides a set of broad policy objectives that are equally applicable to the broader area of general resources management. This, in turn, is most dramatically at issue in the coastal zone.

Two principles are to be taken into account for the economic aspects of natural resources management. Firstly, the full recovery of the costs such as the costs of of water services, and secondly the polluter pays principle. Resource policies should provide adequate incentives for users to use (water) resources efficiently, and there should be an "adequate contribution from different water uses - industry, households and agriculture - to the recovery of the costs of water services", principles that are easily extended to other resource domains.

The economic analysis described in the WFD aims at supporting the selection of the most cost-effective combination of measures in respect of (water) resource uses to be included in any programme of measures.

The main steps in the socio-economic analysis are:

  • Population, demographic and migration policy analysis; a specific example would be unemployment in traditional (but collapsing) sectors such as coastal fisheries;
  • Urban and economic (land use) development options, and in particular the effects of tourism development (the golf course syndrome), investment patterns;
  • Analysis of competing uses of land and water, demands, allocation, conflicts of traditional sectors like agriculture with rapidly growing domestic, industrial and touristic use, as well as environmental constraints;
  • Economics of land use and water use and supply, costs and benefits.

Numerical analysis
To provide the quantitative basis and feedback for any socio-economic and policy analysis, a set of readily available industry standard numerical simulation models will be used to describe land use change and the water resources situation in each of the case study areas. The models are based on GIS technology, cellular automata using a rule-based expert system, and classical water resources and hydrological models, based on the conservation laws (mass, momentum), using (partial) differential equations to describe dynamic water budgets in space. The tools include:

  • A hybrid expert system with embedded GIS functionality and spatial analysis and decision support extensions using a discrete multi-criteria approach;
  • A river basin scale water resources modeling system, WaterWare;
  • A detailed 3D dynamic flow and transport modeling system, TELEMAC.
Together these two model system can describe any aspect of the hydrological system including demand-supply patterns and water quality aspects. They are extended to include land use pattern and their development and change, as well as the economics of water use and supply, based on the calculation of a net present value summary of costs and benefits.

Policy oriented integration
The integration of the socio-economic methods and the numerical models is accomplished in a two-stage process, using a combination of scenarios and assessment rules:

The scenarios describe possible development strategies and policies (including external driving forces such as climate or demographics) in terms of, inter alias, land use change, investment in infrastructure, water allocation and pricing, water use technologies including treatment and recycling. These scenarios are based on the guidelines derived at the socio-economic level.

The scenarios (in terms of their physical attributes and implications) are then simulated with the numerical models. The resulting patterns and budgets of water distribution and allocation, demand and supply and then analysed again in terms of their socio-economic impacts (monetary and social aggregate costs, and benefits, environmental impacts). The resulting data are aggregated into policy-relevant indicators and information; to keep this process open and reproducible, a rule-based expert system will be used for this impact assessment and aggregation procedure.

Open and participatory decision making processes
The final step in this approach is then to communicate these finding back to the key actors that have identified the issues and possible solution strategies. Their response and reactions will trigger the next cycle in the policy and decision making process.

To support a participatory decision making process requires the appropriate institutional and public interfaces, but also a shared information basis. Here the role of the internet as a central medium and tool for effective networking will be explored.

© Copyright 1995-2016 by:   ESS   Environmental Software and Services GmbH AUSTRIA | print page