Twinning European and Latin-American river basins for research enabling sustainable water resources management


TWINLATIN is a Specific Targeted Research Project financed under FP6 sub-priority Global change and ecosystems (Call 3). It addresses the work programme’s topic 6.3.II.3.1.1: Twinning European/third countries river basins. Through the project, 5 Latin-American and 2 European river basins are twinned, by means of the joint implementation of research actions which are logically structured in a series of inter-connected work packages (see below). Activities and research tasks are conducted within several fields of IWRM; hydrology, modelling of pollution flow, impact assessment, socio-economic impacts, climate change effects, scenario analysis and action efficiency. These address the highly heterogeneous nature of the Latin American region in terms of included climate zones, hydro-ecology, natural resources as well as socio-political systems, economic development, cultures and traditions. Numerous problems related to water quality and water availability are present in the selected set of river basins: e.g. flooding leads to loss of human welfare and lives, erosion and pollution pressure have become major problems in many countries of the region, and complicating and increasing the costs for water provision and deteriorating the quality of water and soils. Poor and weaker stakeholders are particularly suffering from these problems, and frequently the water-related natural disasters occur in regions with economical stagnation and high unemployment rates. Most regional institutions dealing with water resources management have not yet addressed the multi-disciplinary character of the management task. Scientific knowledge is not applied with a holistic approach, and local communities are seldom involved in the planning of response measures or in water management in general. Other problems that affect water management in Latin America are lack of strong water policies, absence of legal frameworks and fragmented water governance administration. The promotion of Integrated Water Resources Management – IWRM - in the twinned Latin-American river basins addresses the goals of the EU Water Initiative “Water for Life”, and builds on the methods and guidelines developed for the EU Water Framework Directive.

The final step will be development of tools for, and implementation of, identification of priority actions analysed in terms of physical/chemical efficiency as well as socio-economic effects. Priority actions are an essential part of an RBMP, and will be a crucial input and an encouragement to the Latin American end-users of TWINLATIN to develop full RBMP’s following the finalisation of the project. The mitigative actions should aim at the WFD goals of ‘Good Ecological Status’, but also at solving or reducing the significant problems of flooding and drought in the Latin American river basins.

Specific objectives
  1. To fill gaps in knowledge and methods in order to enable implementation of a harmonised IWRM approach in Latin American river basins, addressing the European Water Initiative and using the European Water Framework Directive as a guiding reference approach
  2. To enable and perform assessment of climate change effects on the hydrological regime, water availability and water quality of the seven river basins. Additionally, to identify and analyse actions addressing the EU WI, specifically improvement of water quality and availability as well as sanitation conditions for poor communities as a means to reduce poverty.
  3. To enable proposition of actions that have been thoroughly analysed from all perspectives; surface water availability, surface water quality, groundwater availability and quality, sustainability criteria, domestic, agricultural, industrial and hydropower stakeholder interests.

For more information see the project webpages at