Climate regulates water availability in the Mediterranean region to a large degree; here the climate is characterized by an accentuated summer drought and seasonal rainfall, with strong inter- and intra-annual variability.  Mediterranean ecosystems are limited by these arid conditions, to which is added climate change, recent changes in land use, and other human pressures. As a result, many rivers do not even comply with minimum ecological flow regimes and cannot meet the current demands of ecosystems or society. If we add to the pressures on these river basins the mosaic landscape that characterizes the Mediterranean, we find that many conflicts are being generated between the needs of ecosystems, people and economic actors.

For this reason, we need integrated water and land management to ensure good ecosystem quality and promote responsible use of these resources. Such management must integrate different perspectives and needs and must be designed in a participatory, technologically-open, and integrative manner. Only this way is it possible to deal with conflicts, seek consensual solutions, propose political measures, and create sustainable water management strategies.

The main lines of work and experience of CREAF in this field include:

  • Climate change and its impact on water bodies: We study the effects of climate change on water availability for ecosystems and human activities. 
  • Multidisciplinary and integrated approach to water and land uses: We calculate water budgets considering inputs from the atmosphere and human consumption, taking into account the role of natural systems and different regional planning models.
  • Participatory processes for the design of management and planning strategies: We have experience in social participation and dialogue between science and society; this is essential for ensuring an effective implementation of the planned measures.
  • Land use change: We evaluate the interaction between land use changes and water availability and demand. 
  • Identification of social and regional vulnerabilities: We identify the regional ecosystems and human activities which face the greatest risks from impacts of global change.
  • Design and implementation of adaptation measures: We design global change adaptation strategies and measures to enhance water availability with attention to social and ecosystem vulnerabilities.
  • Management training: We organize courses and on-site visits that promote knowledge and its exchange on adaptive management, territorial analysis, and the involvement of different actors.
  • GIS and remote sensing methods and tool development: We carry out spatio-temporal analyses of water resources and monitor and characterize drought and its impacts.
  • Standardization and interoperability: We work on the standards and interoperability of formats, data, metadata, services and tools to improve integration of the water sector in a multidisciplinary environment.