Scarce Water Resources
around the Mediterranean
The freshwater habitats of the Mediterranean support diverse human and animal communities. But these habitats are amongst the most stressed in the world. The arid conditions, climate change and human actions are combining to place these environments under great pressure, with profound consequences for people and for nature.
The region has a long history of human ingenuity in overcoming water scarcity. Through the millennia, people have interacted with nature to create unique habitats and landscapes. They have developed strong cultural and practical relationships with their streams, rivers and wetlands. The cultural heritage of the Mediterranean includes traditional water management systems and infrastructure. It includes diverse water management practices and technologies, skills and knowledge, stories and beliefs. This heritage has helped people to survive through the years and to thrive in difficult conditions.
We are working with communities around fresh water sources in Greece and the Balkans, and expanding our programme to other places in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. We are helping people to protect heritage relating to water. We are helping them to adapt it and integrate it with modern technologies and approaches in order to sustain freshwater ecological functions and maintain dignified livelihoods for themselves.
Vjosa/Aoos River, Greece & Albania
We have been working with a coalition of environmental NGOs on the project Saving Europe’s last free flowing wild river – Vjosa/Aoos. This 270km-long river is subject to proposals for hydropower development, which is an important means of addressing climate change and energy security concerns. However, full account is not being taken of the social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of these proposals. Our environmental partners are investigating the biodiversity impacts. We are working with local people in Greece to investigate the impacts on their culture, communities and livelihoods, and to identify more sustainable approaches. Our aim is to help people make their voices heard, in order to ensure that the region's renewable energy transition is a just and sustainable one.
This project is part of a wider initiative, the Blue Heart of Europe. Watch the Blue Heart documentary.