EUWI+, integrated water resources management in river basins for 30 million citizens at the European Union border

12/04/2021
The project « European Union Water Initiative Plus » (EUWI+) started in 2016. The project is co-funded by the European Union and by Austria and  France  through the  Austrian  Development  Agency  and  the French Artois-Picardie Water Agency and aims to improve integrated water management in the 6 countries of the Eastern Partnership (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), following the principles of the EU Water Framework Directive. 
 
Belorussian experts working for the inventory of springs in the Pripyat river basin 
©Central Reseach Institute for Complex Use of Water Resources of the Republic of Belarus
 
In this project, the International Office for Water in France (OiEau) manages the elaboration of river basin management plans, stakeholder involvement and awareness-raising for the large public. In total, 11 river basin management plans were improved or developed for the very first time in the 6 Partner Countries. It represents 500,000 km (50% of the total countries area) and benefits 30 million citizens (40% of the total population), part of which was involved in two rounds of public consultation in 2019 and 2020. 
 
Map of the pilot river basins in the 6 Eastern Partnership Countries 
 
The International Office for Water in France also supports the Eastern Partnership countries in the development of their water data management system. This will enable institutions in the water sector to share their data more efficiently and transform them into valuable information to take informed decisions concerning sustainable management of water resources. 
River basin management plans are currently being submitted to Ministries of the Eastern Partnership countries for their adoption, a process in which OiEau also provides its expertise of institutional mechanisms in the adoption of such plans. 
The EUWI+ project strengthens the integrated water resources management at river basin scale, but also at national scale, through the alignment of national legislation realised with support of the UNECE and OECD. The Environment Agency Austria coordinates field work (surface and groundwater monitoring surveys) and the provision of equipment so that Eastern partners can monitor and analyse the status of their water resources according to European standards.
 
Nataliia Osadcha and the team of Ukrainian experts working on the Dnipro river basin management 
© Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute
Photo taken before the COVID19 crisis
 
 « In Ukraine, the EU Water Framework Directive represents a totally new approach to water resources management, based on environmental principles. This means that the focus will not just be on quantitative and health indicators, but the state of the aquatic ecosystem. This approach has already been successfully implemented and validated in EU countries, many of which have succeeded in reviving rivers. » Nataliia Osadcha, Doctor of Geographical Sciences. Hydrometeorological Institute of Ukraine. EUWI+ expert for the Dnipro River Basin Management Plan