SPARE PROJECT | Alpine rivers as society’s lifelines


The Alps are Europe’s water-towers, providing drinking water, agricultural products, energy, water purification, climate regulation, recreation for local communities and for surrounding lowlands and metropolitan areas. Alpine rivers are the blue backbones
of sustainable development but, only healthy rivers can provide such essential services Rivers are vulmerable and under pressure. We need to balance protection and development. River governance is fragmented and diverging among and within countries: so far, knowledge transfer of good practices
& policies has been weak. We need to learn from each other’s successes and failures. We are 9 partners from 6 alpine countries and we are supported by a broad network
of project observers. We care about our alpine rivers and we have spent three years working together
in an alpine-wide cooperation project called SPARE. We deal with the river planning and protection. We want to capitalize and improve strategic
river management approaches across the Alps and increase awareness
about river protection needs. Rivers flow for thousands of kilometers across the Alps but direct management is restricted
to the local and regional levels. River communities and local stakeholders
must actively participate to river planning and be aware
of the impacts of their actions on present and future generations. We have tested participatory
management processes in 5 River Pilot Studies: We all need to share through active dialogue. We need to organize participation
and adapt it to the local context. We’ve provided participatory methods
for engaging local communities, co-designed with stakeholders and water administrators, and ready to be implemented. We support policy makers, water managers
and local stakeholders groups through an interactive platform
of knowledge exchange including reports, videos, infographics, photobooks, and animations. The future of your river is about you, about your children, about your experience, about how much you feel the river, about how much you care about it.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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