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H2O Gurea – the results of a three-year cross-border water management

H2O Gurea Project in Spain

  • February 03, 2020 09:30
  • Author TheMayor.EU
Medium basque country 3590079 1920

H2O Gurea is a project with the main goal of cooperation in water management between three cross-border regions along the rivers Bidasoa, Nivelle and Urumea. It has already been implemented for 3 years and showed excellent results in many aspects including water quality, biodiversity preservation, and river and flood management.

The challenges and goals

The main challenge behind the project was the management of the rivers in cooperation between the authorities on both sides of the river. Its good example, however, showed a good strategy for cooperation in order to reduce any administrative obstacles.

By applying the EU water directives, the management committee of the project has developed an innovative approach to the whole water cycle in order to influence and improve the flood management systems, one of the major issues in the areas around these rivers.

The main activities included, inter alia:

  • Improve quantitative management of water resources to reduce flood risks and lack of drinking water;
  • Develop flood risk management plans;
  • Ensure the supply of drinking water and quality increasing the storage capacities and connecting the distribution networks with those existing;
  • Mitigate some problems in certain areas such as the uncontrolled discharge of urban wastewater, average geomorphologic conditions and the presence of invasive species of fauna and flora;
  • Exchanges generated at a technical and political level between the different actors.

The project began in 2016 and the participants included the Government of Navarra, the Communauté Pays Basque (project leader), the municipality of Urdax / (Navarra), the Provincial Council of Guipúzcoa, URA Basque Water Agency and the Commonwealth of Txingudi.

The results

In December 2019, in Bertiz, the last meeting under this project was held. The above-mentioned aims have been achieved. Apart from them, other results have been also reported. These can be summarized in the following way:

  • Protection of species of special interest;
  • Studies and works toward reduction of wastewater discharge into the natural environment and preservation of the quality of bathing waters in the lower part of the basins;
  • Development of the informative publication “River Bioengineering. Technical manual for the Cantabrian field”, which collects the examples of several interventions carried out within the framework of the project and describes the techniques used in each case, serving as a methodological example with practical solutions to address the different problems of river restoration from bioengineering from the landscape.

This project presents one of the best examples of how water management of river basins can be achieved through administrative cooperation.

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