IMPEL Water and Land Conference 2019

The 2019 IMPEL Water and Land Conference took place on 8 and 9 October in Rome, Italy, at the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA – Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale). This two-day conference brought together speakers from different Member States to talk about droughts and floods adaptation in a changing climate.

Liam Cashman from Commission’s DG ENV delivered a presentation on the Environmental Compliance Assurance (ECA) and emphasised the contribution of IMPEL’s work on specific topics (e.g. Doing the Right Things and Guidelines for Inspections) adding that with the new Commission’s focus on zero pollution there is still much work to be done, especially on Water and Land issues (e.g. Nitrate Directive).

The 1st session of the Conference featured several presentations and perspectives on droughts and the focus was on trends in the drought landscape, irrigation problems, groundwater slow crisis, strategic dam planning and designing dams to pass sediments as a way to fight droughts. Most speakers agreed that there is a need to build resilience in the view of next decades.

The 2nd session was focused on floods and the speakers delivered presentations that highlighted the implementation challenges of the main legislative drivers on this topic: Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Floods Management Directive (FMD). Jill Michielssen from Commission’s DG ENV pointed out that even though compliance is increasing there are still implementation gaps in all Member States regarding the implementation of the WFD that need to be urgently filled.

There were different discussion panels throughout the conference, namely one about Climate Change Effects and about the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Industrial Emissions Directive and the challenges found when the two directives are crossed over.

The Project Managers from the Water & Land Expert Team delivered presentations about the developments and main findings of the projects they are managing this year and Marco Falconi, the Expert Team Leader, closed the Conference by giving a presentation about IMPEL and the challenges that lie ahead.

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