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Information for a better Decision-Making

Apr 30, 2014

In the International Year of Water Cooperation, CIPRA placed a strong focus on this, the most important of natural resources in the Alps. Its activities reached a wide audience, triggered debate and are now generating new solutions.

"One of CIPRA's main tasks", says Thomas Aichner, Director of Merano Marketing, "is to make people more aware and give them a sense of responsibility." That neatly summarises what CIPRA's communications work is all about. Solutions are more successful when we are better informed and know and understand other people's standpoints. Thomas Aichner was speaking at CIPRA's conference on "The Alps as a Water Trough", which was held in Bolzano/I in October 2013.
In the International Year of Water Cooperation, CIPRA approached the subject from various angles. In Bolzano, experts, mountain lovers, young people and stakeholders devoted three days to the question of who is responsible for water management, and their debates received extensive coverage in the media. A basis for the discussions was provided by CIPRA in the form of an edition of Alps Insight entitled "Alpine Water" (not available in English). This booklet paints a clear picture of the forthcoming challenges facing the Alps with regard to water and presents solutions with examples in the various articles. Articles in other publications and online documentation rounded off CIPRA's communication efforts in the International Year of Water Cooperation. The following three central findings emerged from the informed debate that all of this facilitated:

-Climate change has a major impact on water supplies in the Alps. By 2050 at the latest, the runoff from glaciers will be in decline, and the Alps will lose their function as a drinking water reservoir. Georg Kaser of the Department of Meteorology and Geophysics at the University of Innsbruck/A, says, "We decide today the direction we are going to take."

-The proposed energy transition is a threat to the natural environment of the Alps. What is missing is an awareness of the balance between the capabilities of renewable sources of energy such as hydro-electric power and those of ecosystems. Mario Broggi, former CIPRA President and expert on the Alps, offers a succinct warning: "Landscape is not renewable."

-One of today's trends is towards privatisation. But water must remain a public good: "Only the public authorities - through laws and taxes - can guarantee its fair distribution," says Stefan Kunz, Director of Aqua Viva - Rheinaubund.
CIPRA is also fulfilling its responsibility for action, incorporating the findings of the International Year of Water Cooperation into its projects and the political bodies of the Alpine Convention. CIPRA is patient in the knowledge that change does not happen overnight. That makes it all the more important for us to start now.

Barbara Wülser
CIPRA International

Water in its many Facets
The international conference on "The Alps as a Water Trough" was held at Eurac in Bolzano/I on 10-12 October 2013. Alps Insight no. 98 on "Alpine Water" (not available in English) explains why our most important resources must remain a public good. The CIPRA Compact "Water in Climate Change" provides an overview of the current state of research plus background information, examples and CIPRA's demands. All these publications plus video interviews and online presentations are available on the CIPRA website. (de) (de)


Source: Annual Report 2013, CIPRA International,