2. Introduction

2.     Introduction

The introduction of the report will explain why a thematic assessment on Vulnerability is needed for Water, what it is about and how this report contributes to the process leading to the Blueprint.

Vulnerability in the context of this assessment is understood in the wider context of ecosystem assessment and ecosystem goods and services.

The more narrow vision where vulnerability is seen in relation to hazard and risk is only one part of this framework, which is a more holistic view on vulnerability.

The concept of vulnerability should depict the possible resilience of ecosystems and their ability to react to the driving forces affecting them. Vulnerability is seen as a function of the susceptibility of the receptors (the ecosystem as a whole of even broader the environment) and its value. Here value must not be seen in a strict monetary or economic sense, but as the value of a landscape or an ecosystem. The receptors are the environment, ecosystems, people affected, economic sectors and activities, etc.

Please see pdf document for Figure copied from FREEMAN project, CRUE ERA-Net


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We’re talking about resistance when a system can withstand a pressure until a threshold is exceeded and a tipping point is reached after which recovery isn’t possible any longer. When a system can recover it can recuperate from the impact in a reasonable time. With creativity the current level of functioning can be disturbed (and temporarily be lower) but in the end being higher than before/without the pressure.

The concept of vulnerability subsumes in the best way how water management, in particular in the areas of floods and droughts, is influenced on the one hand by climate change, on the other hand by human and economic activities like regional and land use planning, demographic developments and economic constraints. Sustainable water management has to relate to both, the economic drives of water use and management in the different sectors (agriculture, industries, energy, utilities) as well as the functioning of aquatic ecosystems that needs to be is preserved to further provide the goods and services needed.

Water resource management and the integration of land use planning into the planning processes related to water management are most vital to achieve the objectives under the WFD and to further implement sustainable water management in a wider perspective. The most important tools here are River Basin- , Flood Risk- and Drought Risk Management Plans.

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The report will deal therefore provide information on the current status in the area of water management related to Floods, Droughts and Water scarcity as well as the water quality aspects related to it. It will provide information on Projections, and Scenarios and compile good cases of management.

Because much of the terminology used in the assessment can have different meaning and is subject to on-going discussions, a glossary will be added as an annex.

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