AGREEMAR “Adaptive agreements on benefits sharing for managed aquifer recharge in the Mediterranean region” is a project funded under the PRIMA 2021 program for a period of three years (June 2022 – May 2025) with partners from Germany, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Tunisia. AGREEMAR intends to develop an adaptive governance framework integrated with a set of management tools that will assist water policy makers and water managers to reach Sustainable Integrated Water Resources Management.
The countries in the Mediterranean basin have many features in common, including an arid and semi- arid climate, economic activities focusing on agriculture and tourism, and a strong economic and social value of water. Water resources availability is often characterized by uneven spatio-temporal distribution heavily affected by agricultural intensification, necessity to sustain the rapid population growth, and extensive and seasonal tourism in coastal areas. Aquifers play an important role in the provision of several services to human activities, including storage and production of clean water (for drinking water supply, irrigation, etc.), flood mitigation, saltwater intrusion control and support to aquatic ecosystems.
In many places (especially in northern Mediterranean countries), aquifers are being over-exploited, i.e., the annual abstraction rate exceeds the recharge rate, in which case utilisation rate falls below the sustainability threshold. In coastal areas, this leads to seawater intrusion. As a consequence, coastal communities increasingly suffer from insufficient supply of drinking water and a decreasing quality of agricultural lands due to progressive salinization of soils, a trend which is expected to worsen due to climate change impacts.
AGREEMAR’s mission is to contribute to water scarcity alleviation in the Mediterranean basin by increasing the water availability at a national/regional/basin level. This will be achieved by an improved and integrated management of the water cycle, including water reuse, centred on optimizing the water storage in aquifers.
The long-term aim of AGREEMAR is to optimize the hydrological balance in Mediterranean countries by developing governance models, management strategies, costs-benefits analyses, technical specifications and simulation tools to optimize the water storage in aquifers, enabling increased resilience to climate change. Read more
The research approach includes: 1) development and demonstration of a combined mapping methodology that integrates the demand for aquifer-dependent services, a realistic hydrological assessment of conventional and non-conventional water sources for MAR, and a GIS-based multi-criteria decision analysis for the selection of sites suitable for MAR application; 2) development of a general participatory governance framework at regional level based on the results from the feasibility mapping and national policy analysis; 3) validation of the feasibility maps through numerical models at watershed and local scale to assess the improvements in reliability, vulnerability and resilience provided by the inclusion of MAR schemes in water management schemes; 4) implementation of co-created location-specific agreements for MAR benefits sharing, supported by scientific evidence (feasibility maps and modelling) and endorsed by cross-sectoral stakeholder groups; 5) a participative multi-actor approach for fostering the engagement of stakeholders from different societal sectors and actor groups in all stages of project development. Read more
The project will demonstrate its applicability at four regional sites from Tunisia, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain by fostering the integration of water supply sources and multi-sectoral water needs for the development of participative adaptation strategies tailored to the local context. AGREEMAR will ensure strong stakeholders’ involvement across multiple sectors for co-designing, co-working and validating of sustainable water management solutions with wider societal acceptance. Read more
AGREEMAR includes six partners covering universities, public companies, and national research centres from Germany, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal and Tunisia, together with stakeholders from four Mediterranean regional clusters. The consortium’s members are: Technische Universität Dresden (TUD), GERMANY, Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (LNEC), PORTUGAL, Eratosthenes Centre of Excellence (ECoE), CYPRUS, adelphi research gGmbH, GERMANY, Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), SPAIN, National Institute of Agronomy (INAT), University of Carthage, TUNISIA. Read more
The project is funded under the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), an EU Horizon2020 initiative sponsoring projects that contribute to sustainable use of natural resources, economic growth and stability in the Mediterranean region. Read more
Funding of consortium partners is provided by National Funding Agencies from participating countries: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung – BMBF through the Projektträger Karlsruhe – PTKA (Germany); Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia – FCT (Portugal); Research and Innovation Foundation – RIF (Cyprus); Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (Spain); Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research through the Directorate General of Scientific Research (Tunisia).
The project’s duration is three years, from 1 June 2022 until 31 May 2025.