IMPEL’s 2017 Water and Land conference will take place 4 and 5 October in Cagliari, Italy. This years’ theme will be “Land use and water quality: which interconnections?”
Water, as one of the most precious goods for life, is endangered by multiple threats, often descending from improper land use and illegal conducts. Land is a finite resource, subject to competing pressures from urbanisation, infrastructure, increased food, feed, fibre and fuel production and the provision of key ecosystem services. But it’s also a shrinking resource. Almost 1000 km2 of agriculture or natural land disappears every year in the EU, as it is converted into artificial areas. More EU land is affected by degradation all the time, and ecosystem services are lost as a result.
The comprehensive EU Legislation is helpful for protecting water environments, while soils still need pieces of regulation to complete the picture. The implementation is identified as one of the top challenges in recent EU Commission evaluations. For example a great effort is expected to meet the aim of the Europe 2020 Strategy to achieve no net land take by 2050.
The objectives of several major Directives, including the Water Framework Directive (WFD), remain to be fully achieved in many Member States. For example, the European Commission’s review of progress with River Basin Management Plans in meeting the requirements of the WFD showed that only just over half of freshwater bodies across the EU currently achieve the required quality level of good ecological status. Diffuse source pollution from agriculture, over-abstraction of water and physical modification of water bodies are key underlying causes of failure to achieve good status.
Inspection and restoration planning
To get appropriate results, an evolution in the planning approach is needed. In the conference there will be a focus on the inspection and restoration planning, to tackle the compliance assurance needs in a mid-long term perspective. A promotion action should be developed, both in the agricultural sector and in the other businesses with impacts on water and soil. A particular focus will be made on farmers, which provide a stable food supply for more than 500 million Europeans. 22 million farmers and agricultural workers are at heart of one of the biggest economic sector in the European Union (EU), the agri-food sector. The European Union’s farm policy ensures a decent standard of living for farmers, at the same time as setting requirements for animal health and welfare, environmental protection and food safety. Sustainable rural development completes the picture of the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP).
The Conference will build on the IMPEL Water and Land Expert Team activities and experiences to improve Water Framework Directive and the soil related directives implementation through good activity scheduling practices. More generally, the Water & Land Conference will treat topics related to the water and land protection implementation challenges, with regard to IMPEL members’ knowledge and experiences in challenges, problems, best practices and points of view about:
- agriculture: diffuse pollution, pesticides
- waste water treatment and sewerage systems, households
- over-allocation of water resources and over-abstraction of water
- ecological status of water bodies
- soil contamination and underground water quality
- IED and water quality
- physical modification of water bodies, affecting hydro-geomorphology and the achievement of good ecological status
- impact of climate change in water quality and disposability
- impact of climate change in soil quality and disposability
- circular economy contribution to water and soil policies
- restoration of water and wetland habitats
- flood protection issues and the related possible environmental consequences of measures to tackle flood risks
Abstracts will have to be sent until July 31st to the organising team. For the selected ones, a PowerPoint presentation has to be sent at least a week before the meeting, while a full report is expected for no later than November 3rd.