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FEDENATUR Conference: Water management in Periurban Parks.How to promote & preserve this valuable good
Water is an essential resource, scarce in much of the world. An efficient and sustainable management of water is paramount, even for rainy countries.

Water management has two important dimensions. On the one hand, the provision of water for human consumption and, on the other hand, the provision of enough and good quality water for the environment.

These are global challenges, which are of particular importance in metropolitan areas, especially in rural and peri-urban natural areas where urban and demographic pressure, the implementation of infrastructure and land artificialization produce strong environmental imbalances.

In peri-urban areas, a major challenge is how to revert this situation: how to transform the construction of infrastructures into improvements for landscape and biodiversity?

There are many examples of how some actions on the territory aimed at managing aspects related to the water cycle, such as flood areas, catchment areas , treatment facilities or pipes - eventually acquire an environmental dimension that improves the environment and biodiversity. Thus, for example, the Green Ring of Vitoria - Gasteiz and the Grand Parc de Miribel Jonage are periurban natural areas that act as flood expansion areas. They were initially established to protect cities against periodic floods. Miribel Jonage also supplies drinking water to the city of Lyon.

In recent decades, public agencies have struggled to restore the rivers contaminated by industrial activity. They have installed water treatment plants and have protected river spaces in which, slowly, biodiversity has come back. Good examples are the Canal de Roubaix in the Lille metropolitan area, or the Llobregat river, Besos river and Ripoll river in the Barcelona metropolitan context.

The implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC) has just given a boost to the recovery of water bodies, including those of weaker flow, such as Mediterranean streams. Periurban parks managers - regardless of water scarcity or abundance - have an obligation to use it rationally, not waste it, not pollute it, promote its treatment and reuse, especially for enhancing biodiversity.

Our next FEDENATUR technical meeting will be host by the Consortium of the Natural Park of the Sierra de Collserola (Barcelona) and will focus on the issue of water management in Periurban Parks.

The aim is to determine which are the strategies followed by the different types of Periurban parks to optimize water use, to promote aquatic biodiversity, to recover riparian plant communities, to diversify landscape, to fight against aquatic invasive species, and to make compatible preservation with public use. The water cycle, as an educational dimension, is another area on which to focus.

The technical conference is addressed to responsible of periurban natural areas (directors, managers, politicians, technicians ...). Its purpose is the exchange of ideas and good practices from examples set by other parks.

The conference will be held in Sant Just Desvern (Barcelona), 22nd May 2014