We are facing many water-related challenges: lack of water resources, water quality issues, and the impacts of a changing climate. Public organizations are engaging in efforts to restore watersheds and building local capacity in water planning and policy making. Research institutions are partnering to explore the impact of water-related issues on public health and the interconnection between water and socioeconomic inequalities. Sant’Anna School researchers of Water-Food-Energy Nexus team organized two workshops on water resources management in the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 “Freewat” project. The “Freewat” project, constituted by 19 partners including UNESCO-IHP, is an EU financed consortium project and is coordinated by the Sant’Anna School for Advanced Studies Institute of Life Sciences.

Freewat aims at promoting water resources management by integrating existing software open source platform and coordinating national funded research activities. Freewat main result is an open source and public domain platform integrated as plugin into the QGIS GIS desktop and be based on groundwater and solute transport numerical models (from the MODFLOW USGS family). The FREEWAT platform is designed for water authorities and public/private companies to build a high informative representation of hydrologic systems, so far the application has reached 700 users including USGS and CSIRO organizations.

The conference on “Innovazione tecnologica e partecipazione per la gestione sostenibile dell’acqua” was held in Massarosa (Lucca) - Lago di Massaciuccoli. The President of Parco Regionale Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli welcomed the delegates. The meeting followed the success of the series of 7 conferences for professionals involved in water resources management, stakeholders from research and academia, industrial sectors and government organizations (including ARPAT). Participants gained an insight into the Freewat platform solution for local agencies. Simulations on ground-water remediation strategy and pump-and-treat methods were presented. The conference also provided a platform to exchange knowledge about the INTERREG “RETRALAGS: verso il contratto di lago" project and techniques and solutions in sustainable water management as they have been developed and applied. Papers presented at the meeting are archived in digital format in the website.

The conference on “Dare valore all'acqua. La piattaforma FREEWAT per la gestione della risorsa idrica was held at Sant’Anna School – aula magna, Pisa. It offered a forum to hold productive discussions and explained the objectives of sustainable water planning and policy making. Professor Luca Sebastiani, director of the Institute of Life Sciences and Guido Spinelli, director of ARPAT, presented the FREEWAT results and a number of case studies from different countries including Italy, Malta and Switzerland. One of the objectives of the conference was to show how the software tools developed by the consortium can be applied to solve problems and the aim is to respond to the most pressing demands for research and industry’s requirements. The conference featured a number of keynote speeches by representatives of the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Maltese Ministry for Energy and Water Management, Distretto Idrografico Appennino Settentrionale, and Regione Toscana (a FREEWAT partner). Papers presented at the meeting are archived in digital format in the website.

The meetings were organized with the support of Partenariato Europeo per l’Innovazione sull’Acqua (EIP WATER) – Gruppi di azione “Managed Aquifer Recharge Strategies and Actions”, “Water Irrigation Resilient Europe” and ICT4WATER cluster.

Cover photo: workshop “Dare valore all'acqua. La piattaforma FREEWAT per la gestione della risorsa idrica” at Sant’Anna School.