Waterways Forward aims to improve the management of regional inland waterways and the territory adjacent to them by promoting an integrated, sustainable and participatory approach. The project is supported through the Interreg IVC programme, which explores opportunities to reinforce the role of Europe’s navigable inland waterways in furthering regional economic development.
The Waterways Forward partnership consists of 17 partners from 13 European countries. The project will develop recommendations for modern governance models to create a basis for integrated regional policies to boost the socio/economic development of inland waterways whilst respecting nature and the environment.
Recreational boating is a growing tourist asset in Europe. Also recreation and living along the shores of canals, rivers and lakes rep-resents a growing opportunity to boost the economic performance of regions bordering inland waterways. Inland waterways in Europe are often part of protected natural areas. The intensified future use of regional waterways has environ-mental implications which require sound management embedded in a governance structure which is balanced, efficient and that acknowledges the Water Framework Directive. Water transport is sustainable, but increased use of waterways can have adverse con-sequences on the environment.
Climate change impacts on the management of regional water-ways because of periodic surplus and shortage of water. Balanced and integrated management is required to ensure improvement of the socio/economic benefits for smaller inland waterways. This requires integrated and tailor-made governance structures instead of a patchwork of responsibilities. Regional strategies for sustainable development of regions adjacent to waterways which complement River Basin Management Planning are vital.
Partners have identified mechanism to manage their waterways which are often implemented with-out coordination. To streamline this debate partners developed regional analyses of their situation whilst involving regional stakeholders. Integrated policies will add value to sustainable development of the regions adjacent to waterways.