|Activities of the Programme
The Water Framework Directive requires the development of watershed management plans and remedial actions to improve the water quality and ecological quality of surface, ground waters and coastal zone. To date, in absence of integrated and sustainable management plans, environmental technologies have been implemented in a βsurgicalβ approach without any concern of the impacts to the watershed area as a whole. There is a need to integrate the design of environmental technologies with the watershed management plans. The premise of this proposal is the following: βThe selection, design characteristics and implementation of environmental friendly technologies for the minimization of non-point source pollution from agricultural lands should be conducted in conjunction with the development of watershed management plansβ. The objective of this proposal is the demonstration of a βtoolboxβ of environmental friendly technologies for the minimization of non-point source pollution from agricultural lands and integration of their design in the watershed management plans of the Evrotas River Basin and its coastal zone. The aims of the project coincide with the Rural Development Policy (RDP) of the European Union regarding the objectives of axis 2 (land management/environment) and specifically the agri-environmental measures.
The demonstration project will consist of 4 Phases:
Phase 1: Development of Preliminary Management Plans and Design of Demonstration Technologies (Task 1)
In this phase, all necessary basic information will be collected and actions will be carried out for the development of preliminary watershed and coastal zone management plans according to the instruction of the Water Framework Directive. In addition, based on the initial watershed and coastal zone model simulations, we will perform the design of the demonstration projects of the environmental friendly technologies. Social research will be initiated at this stage to obtain from the beginning anintegral and interdisciplinary consensus of all the planned activities and build continuous communication with all the Environmental NGOs and local authorities.
Phase 2: Demonstration of Environmental Friendly Technologies (Tasks 2 -4)
The aim of this phase is the development and demonstration of a βtoolboxβ of environmental friendly technologies that can be integrated in the management plans for the minimization of pollution loads. Three very different types of environmental friendly technologies will be demonstrated:
1. Monitored natural attenuation and water management: Pollutants are naturally attenuated in the environment. Monitoring natureβs capacity to attenuate contaminants and in combination with proper water management can lead us to establish the lowest limits of required additional engineered intervention to minimize the pollution loads and impacts to acceptable levels.
2. Drainage canal and river bank management: In agricultural areas, drainage canals decrease the levels of nitrates due to denitrification and plant uptake. Drainage canals are areas of accumulation of organic debris due to erosion and also areas of growth of plants such as Phragmitis australis (common reeds). It will be demonstrated that appropriate management of the reed will result in the minimization of nitrate pollution loads to surface waters. Plants like poplar trees, if planted at the riparian zones of the river, have been shown to decrease nutrient loads due to uptake and enhanced denitrification. Phytoremediation in conjunction with river bank erosion controls will be demonstrated as a combined remediation tool for non-point source pollution of nutrients.
3. Agricultural product waste management: Demonstration of techniques for agricultural product waste management is the third area of environmental friendly technologies which are expected to substantially reduce the polluting organic load entering the river watershed. Treatment and disposal of olive mill wastewater and solid wastes as well as management of excess orange production will be the focus of the demonstration. The βpaired watershedβ approach will be used to demonstrate the efficacy of each technology whereby one site is used as a background and another as the technology implementation site. The difference in response between the two sites will provide an estimate of the efficacy of the technology for pollution minimization.
Phase 3: Development of Watershed Management Plans (Tasks 5 and 6)
In this phase, we will achieve the integration of socioeconomic aspects in the optimal design of remedial technologies and the development of the final Watershed Management Plans. In this phase, we shall finalize the initial aspects of the management plans that involve the environmental pressure and impact assessment of the area, the assessment of the ecological quality of the waters in the watershed and the coastal zone, the assessment of the trends of the agricultural production behaviour and the calibration of the watershed and coastal zone models for the area. The management plans will be developed by exploring a variety of scenarios where the different technologies will be integrated. The viability of the scenarios and their social acceptability will be obtained by conducting social research and having the stakeholders participate in the decision making
Phase 4: Evaluation of Social Acceptance and Dissemination of Results (Tasks 7 and 8)
Near the end of the project, the key-informants from the previous fieldwork will evaluate all the activities and will reformulate their opinion taking into account the results from the demonstration of the environment friendly technologies. Representatives of all the participating communities, such as agricultural co-operations, trade unions, municipalities etc., will analyse the new situation and their potential involvement. EKKE will facilitate the social acceptance and, for this purpose, will organise (with the co-operation of NGOβs and Organisations of Environmental Education) a campaign to disseminate the expected benefits and sensitise the local population in the environmentβs protection. The final deliverable of the proposed project is the creation of a Local Development Observatory that will be housed at the Prefecture and it will be staffed by employees from the local authorities. The training of the staff will be carried out as part of this project. The Observatory will become the central watershed manager and it will play a vital role in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. The main financial activities of the area are tourism and agriculture. Both activities require rational management of water resources. Therefore the future development of the area is contingent upon the appropriate use of water resources and the success of implementation of laws such as the water Framework Directive.