Exchange on the GRoW cross section topics.

Already at the GRoW launch conference in September 2017 in Karlsruhe cross section topics playing a role in a number of projects, respectively, were identified by the twelve projects that are part of the joint project. Three topics were selected to be worked on together in the future: "Water Footprint" (contact person: Dr. Markus Berger), "Economic and other incentive mechanisms" (contact person: Prof. Dr. Karl-Ulrich Rudolph) and "Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)" (contact person: Prof. Dr. Claudia Pahl-Wostl). From 21st tom 23rd March representatives of all GRoW projects that show points of contact to these topics, met in Berlin to exchange on the latest project progresses and to determine further measures regarding the cross section topics. In the future the representatives will met semi-annual, work on the cross section topics in-between will be organized on demand with the help of adelphi.

Cross section topic Water Footprint

Dr. Markus Berger, TU Berlin, inaugurated the workshop with a key note speech: He summarized the (historical) development of the water footprint from the virtual water concept introduced already in the 1960s to the methods of impact assessment scientists deal with currently. In the following participants from the GRoW projects GlobeDrought, goCAM, InoCottonGrow, iWaGSS, MedWATER, VIWA, WELLE and WANDELexplained their contribution to the water footprint and listed the related topics that are in progress at the moment. The main contribution of WANDEL is for sure the assessment of a regionalised water scarcity footprint for energy supply chains. At present we are concentrating on the development of a grey water footprint concept as well as on the calculation of the water footprint with the means of life cycle assessment.
After a discussion about possible interfaces between the projects two labour issues were selected to be discussed further in the afternoon in group work: "Impact Assessment" "Water Quality". The topic "Mitigation" was identified as important to all participating projects as well, but postponed.
The group "Water Quality" faced the problem of identifying common features while working on different scales: InoCottonGRoW for example is provided with ground truth waste water data by Pakistan's textile industry to assess water quality, whereas WANDEL uses the model WaterGAP3 to be able to make global statements. The participants agreed on preparing a standardized inventory for all GRoW projects that defines substances to be considered in the course of examinations of the water quality. Also specific leaching and run-off rates, for example for nitrate, shall be defined. Moreover the group plans to exchange on tresholds for substances that are applied when calculating the dilution volume for the grey water footprint. Many guidelines and regulations exist in this field and we have to clarify if for example the EU-regulations that apply to Germany can be transfered to Brasilia or Morocco. On completion of the projects a guideline how to deal with water quality on different scales shall be composed.
The group "Impact Assessment" staked out several questions being relevant for the water footprint and nominated contact persons, respectively, e.g.:
  • How can me model the depletion of aquifers?
  • How can we connect the water footprint to social and economic impacts?
  • How can we combine groundwater and surface water models?
  • How can we solve upstream-downstream problems?
  • How can we deal with competition and allocation between sectors?
results work-groups
Display panels, that were developed within the groups "Impact Assessment" and "Water Quality".

Cross section topic Economic and Other Incentive Mechanisms"

The cross-cutting theme "Economic and Other Incentive Mechanisms" was marked by a policy debate on managed, economic and preventive systems and their impact. Particular attention was given to not predicted influences. For example, the promotion of biogas plants in the Oldenburger Münsterland led to increased fertilization and thus a qualitative deterioration of the groundwater. It is important to be able to recognize these and similar conflicts of interest early on.

From this debate, there were several focal points, of which three ultimately prevailed by majority vote. The topic "Assessing Governance" takes into account the fact that administrative systems, by their very nature, make incentive systems more or less effective. This shall be made assessable. The "potentials of digitization" deal with the possibilities as well as the obstacles that networked tools can offer in terms of economic support systems. The focus on "irrigated agriculture" came from the desire of several GRoW partners working in the field to try to make agricultural use of water more effective through innovative governance concepts.

Cross section topic SDG Achievement

The GRoW Directive is committed to facilitating and advancing the implementation of the UN-proclaimed SDGs in the international environment around the resource of water through in-depth research. However, there are still some aspects that remain unclear, which is why the participants spoke out in favor of defining the common objectives by means of a position paper for all GRoW partnered project participants. This should strengthen the position of GRoW project representatives at international conferences. In particular, the forthcoming focus on SDG 6 in the UN and the "International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028" will be taken into account.

In the course of the discussions, the participants agreed on two topics to be covered. On the one hand, "indicators / data / models" are still not finally defined in relation to the SDGs. For example, there is a lack of consistent SDG standards for water quality and aquatic ecosystem assessments. The GRoW group advocates that this state shall be terminated soon and wants to internally define which values ​​and systematics are suitable. This should be communicated to the outside. The inherent question about "conflicting goals and synergies of governance and structures" of SDGs (water vs energy vs food) should be analyzed internally by GRoW. For example, an inventory and the decoding of interdependencies in the individual projects should be made. At the same time it should be determined if the type of governance-structure analysis between the projects can be harmonized.

Thanks to Tobias Landwehr, USF, for reporting the meetings on the cross-cutting topics "Economic and Other Incentive Mechanisms" and "SDG Achievement".