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Rivers connect people

The partners of the Spare Project are as diverse as they are at home in different Alpine countries, comprising as they do a university, two research agencies, two official bodies, a regional office, and two environmental organisations. Together they demonstrate how river management can be improved above and beyond administrative, cultural and technical boundaries.

Rivers supply clean drinking water to people living not just in the Alps and throughout Europe, irrigating fields and farmland and providing a habitat for many plants and animals. People use them for recreational purposes and to generate electricity. The comprehensive water course management scheme set out as part of the Spare Project is the basis for providing these ecosystem functions. The wide array of project partners means that stakeholders can be involved in many different sectors. Five pilot regions are testing methods for participating in river planning and drawing up solutions together.

For example in Dora Baltea, one of the Spare pilot regions. Over the past century the glacier river area in the north-west of the Italian Alps has been used intensively for economic and urban growth. Riverbank vegetation, flood areas and natural run-off and drainage areas have been lost as a result. But now, as part of the Spare Project, the local population, local administrations, agriculture, electricity suppliers, and many others are being involved in the river planning. In the ongoing investigations, flow data from the river bed is being monitored and new procedures for issuing water concessions are being jointly developed.

www.cipra.org/biodiversity

“For geographical and cultural reasons, mountain regions are often isolated – co-operation as part of the Spare project is invaluable as it helps to establish personal contacts and promotes the exchange of knowledge and expertise. This in turn leads to better environmental management and better land management.”

Andrea Mammoliti Mochet, Spare project partner, Aosta Valley/I Regional Office for Environmental Projection