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Work plan

OPTAIN aims to advance the state-of-the-art knowledge on Natural/Small Water Retention Measures (NSWRMs), in particular on their optimal spatial allocation and combination in small agricultural catchments. This aim and its inherent objectives are reflected in the project work plan.

Video: Meet the OPTAIN project

OPTAIN’s project structure is organized into 9 different work packages (WPs). NIVA leads work package 1 and co-leads work package 6:

Work package 1: Case studies and harmonised multi-actor approach (lead partner Norwegian Institute for Water Research - NIVA)

OPTAIN will focus on a representative set of 14 small agricultural catchments across Continental, Pannonian and Boreal biogeographical regions in Europe.

WP 1 will supervise all case studies and facilitate the establishment of a ‘multi-actor reference group’ (MARG) in each case study. As a core element of OPTAIN, MARG are linked to every work package to ensure that research conducted in each case study addresses local problems and that stakeholders establish a sense of “co-ownership” for the solutions developed and tested within the project.

The different case studies are organised by project partners in the different countries. The Norwegian case is organised by NIBIO in Kråkstadelva, which is a sub-catchment of the Hobølelva catchment in south-east Norway. 

Work package 2:  Measures and indicators (lead partner University of Bern)

WP 2 will, together with the MARG, identify and document promising NSWRM, qualitatively assess their environmental, socio-economic and sociocultural impacts based on questionnaires and develop suitable performance indicators as well as guidelines for measure-specific parameters and scenarios to be further investigated at case study level.

Work package 3:  Retrieval of modelling data and solutions to overcome data scarcity (lead partner Centre for Agricultural Research - Agrártudományi Kutatóközpont in Hungary)

WP 3 will catalogue available input information and harmonise data processing for the OPTAIN modelling approaches across the 14 case studies. Furthermore WP 3 will identify and fill gaps in such inputs, and provide future climate data.

Work package 4:  Integrated assessment of NSWRM (lead partner Warsaw University of Life Sciences)

Arbeidspakke 4 vil bruke datamodeller til å vurdere hvordan de ulike vannmiljøtiltakene fungerer under nåværende og fremtidige klimaforhold, basert på ulike scenarier i hver case-studie.

Work package 5:  Optimisation of NSWRM plans (lead partner UFZ - Helmholtz- Centre for Environmental Research)

WP 5 will couple the models of WP 4 with a multi-objective evolutionary algorithm to identify optimal implementation schemes for NSWRM, including their combination and allocation within the catchment. The results will be post-processed using adequate machine learning and visualisation techniques to derive generic patterns and relationships and to enable actors to elaborate preferred solutions according to their own preferences.

Work package 6: Synthesis and policy recommendation (lead partner University of Ljubljana, NIVA is co-lead)

OPTAIN follows a harmonised approach across all case studies which will  enable  a  strong  synthesis  of  the  results  over  multiple  biogeographic  regions. WP 6 will assemble the project results in a common working environment with standardised metadata and synthesise the project results across WPs and case studies.  Harmonised recommendations for NSWRM implementation will be developed, considering agricultural and water policies as well as incentives for their promotion.

Work package 7:  Dissemination, communication and Learning Environment (lead partner International Office for Water - OiEau)

WP7 will ensure an efficient and effective communication, dissemination and exploitation of knowledge generated in the project using a variety of media and methods as appropriate for different actors and target audiences, including practitioners, regional planners, policy makers, researchers and the wider public. One core element of OPTAINs dissemination activities will be a Learning Environment website integrating and highlighting all major improvements in the knowledge on NSWRM from a scientific but also actors’ perspective.

Work package 8:  Project Management and work package 9: Ethics requirements (lead partner UFZ- Helmholtz- Centre for Environmental Research)

WP 9 will ensure high ethical standards in research, concerning OPTAINs internal procedures, the informed consent procedures to be implemented for the participation of humans in research and the safeguard of data according to the general data protection regulation (EU 2016/679).