Joint program for the assessment of water bodies in the Spanish-Portuguese Hydrographic Basins
About this good practice
The European Commission argues for the need to ensure the protection of the main water-dependent habitats, and Member States must cooperate to meet this purpose.
There are four international river basins shared between Spain and Portugal: Minho-Sil, Douro, Tejo and Guadiana. The shared water bodies, rivers, reservoirs and transition waters in the four river basin districts, have been chosen as the scope of action. Within the scope of the ALBUFEIRA project, cooperation was based on establishing hydromorphological and ecological management mechanisms for water bodies, carrying out activities between institutions and working groups, adopting unified technical, legal and administrative measures between both countries.
The project was based on 4 technical activities:
▪ Harmonization of methodologies for controlling the ecological status or ecological potential of water bodies (tested and validated through a joint experimental program);
▪ Monitoring the ecological status or ecological potential of water bodies for a joint assessment (collection of samples, calculation of indices, assessment of the ecological potential or status);
▪ Improved integration of the environmental objectives of the Water Framework Directive and the Habitats Directive;
▪ Raise the awareness of border communities on the importance of water resources in the transboundary space as a joint wealth that must be protected and used in a sustainable way.
Human resources of the partners involved in the project.
Total project cost (estimative):1.643.425,65€
FEDER approved: 1.232.569,24€
Evidence of success
The results achieved can be seen through the implementation of diversified activities, covering 58,000 hectares of protected areas integrated in the Natura 2000 Network between Spain and Portugal. Additionally, the water bodies covered proved the joint methodology for assessing the ecological status. The implementation of coordinated and effective management methodologies that redefine the ecological potential of shared rivers was promoted.
Potential for learning or transfer
Continuous assessment plays a crucial role in improving the degree of conservation of species and types of habitats in transboundary rivers, allowing for coordinated management and protection, assessing the need to define a reinforcement to guarantee the protection of habitats and protected species. The continuous evaluation method produces results, evaluations and decisions that can be analysed and compared for later replication of the method, a characteristic that facilitates transfer to other regions.
The results achieved are integrated into the joint tools and procedures of the Spanish and Portuguese administrations within the scope of the International Albufeira Agreement, as well as the WFD monitoring programs in both countries.
As the protection of the main water-dependent habitats is a necessity recognized by the European Commission, Member States must cooperate with this purpose, & this practice can be transferred to other territories (especially at the transboundary level)