Eurocities is a network of major European cities, working together on exchanging best practices and on lobbying the institutions for a better inclusion of urban requirements in European policies. It was founded in 1986 by the mayors of six large cities: Barcelona, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Lyon, Milan and Rotterdam. Currently, the network brings together the local governments of over 130 of Europe’s largest cities and 40 partner cities, that between them govern 130 million citizens across 35 countries.
Based on the EU’s three key challenges, climate, inclusion andrecovery, EUROCITIES addresses a wide range of policy areas affecting the day-to-day lives of Europe’s citizens.
The consortium is organized into seven forums: culture, economy, environment, knowledge society, mobility, social affair and cooperation whose member periodically meet to discuss about problems and suggest possible solutions.
On June 12th -14th 2013, members met at the Eurocities Environment Forum (EEF) in the city of Stockholm.
Delegates of cities were organized in workgroups, Air quality, Climate Change & Energy Efficiency, Clean cities, Green areas and biodiversity, Greening the local economy, Noise, Waste and Water. Iren Acqua Gas (IAG) was invited to participate to the forum, both as the Genoa city delegate and as a PREPARED Enabling Change partner. During the first morning, IAG participated in the water workgroup and the discussion focused on a new project addressing new threats to water quality, namely micro pollutants, viruses and bacteria.
The project aims at increasing awareness among citizens and to exchange knowledge. Water quality aspects were dealt with in relation to potability of water and the importance of monitoring and management.
After workgroup briefing, delegates joined a plenary session where, IAG presented some results of the Genoa demonstration in the framework of the PREPARED project. Of main interest was the strong correlation between water and energy management.
The Genoa research activity and demonstration has developed and is applying a decision support system for enhancing water resources management under climate change stressing periods. The DSS helps to understand the impacts of climate related changes. This includes the allocation to competitive uses, protection of water intakes and management of climate change scenarios including dry and flood periods where water intakes are inoperable. The model takes into account hydropower production highlighting the possibility to avoid carbon emission in the atmosphere and this aspect was of particular interest for people participating at the forum.
Addressing changes in climate and how it affects water is a priority and it plays an important role for cities. This is especially the case in Europe where 75% of the population live in cities. Furthermore cities have to deal with specific climate issues, such as urban ‘heat island’ effects, exacerbated risk of flooding due to less permeable surfaces and possible periods of water scarcity.
Despite efforts to limit the impact of climate change, it is clear that global warming and the fall-out effects cannot be completely avoided. Rising sea levels, extreme weather phenomena with heavier rainfall and wind, more floods and more droughts are close to be a reality to which Europe need to adapt.
In this framework, the PREPARED project was introduced as a valid example collaboration among European partners and of activities for adaptation to climate change impacts.