OPTIMA: Optimisation   for Sustainable
Water Resources Management

Project Description


Water is a key resource in the Mediterranean region, and efficient use and allocation are paramount to sustainable development, in particular in the coastal zone of the South and East, undergoing fast economic development, land use and demographic change.

The overall aim of OPTIMA is to develop, implement, test, critically evaluate, and exploit an innovative, scientifically rigorous yet practical approach to water resources management intended to increase efficiencies and to reconcile conflicting demands. Based on the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) the approach equally considers economic efficiency, environmental compatibility, and social equity as the pillars of sustainable development.

The project also aims at building a wide dissemination network of expertise and knowledge exchange sharing its findings, generic data, and best practise examples.

For a broad geographical coverage and a good basis for comparative analysis, OPTIMA brings together partners from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, Cyprus, Malta, Italy, Greece, and Austria.

OPTIMA is extending classical optimisation and mathematical programming methodology in several respects, by:
  • Using a full-featured dynamic and distributed simulation model and genetic programming as the core to generate feasible and non-dominated alternatives. Water technology alternatives including their cost structure, and up-to-date remote- sensing derived land use information are primary inputs;
  • Extending the set of objectives, criteria and constraints through expert systems technology to include difficult to quantify environmental and social dimensions;
  • Putting specific emphasis on local acceptance and implementation through the inclusion of stake-holders in an interactive, participatory decision making process carefully embedded in institutional structures, using a discrete multi-criteria reference point methodology;
  • Comparative evaluation and benchmarking across the set of local and regional case studies in 7 countries, namely Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia and Morocco around the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.

OPTIMAis funded, in part, by the European Commission under the INCO-MPC programme.

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