Regional Coordination on Improved Water Resources Management and Capacity Building Program (RCIWRM)

Countries: Egypt | Jordan | Tunisia
Level: Regional
Region: MENA Region
Tags: Agriculture | Awareness raising | Capacity building & knowledge transfer | Stakeholder involvement
Target audience: Environmental authorities | Local government/municipalities | National government | NGOs and CSOs | Regional government | Scientists | Students/university | Water authorities | Water companies

The programme aimed to improve water resources, agricultural management and planning within and across beneficiary countries (Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco), based on quantitative and spatial-based decision-making tools using advanced technology (including geographic information systems, data assimilation, and modelling techniques).

The programme was a multi-country adaptable mechanism financed through a Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant. Financing covered the technical assistance, hardware and software infrastructure required to build the capacity of the involved governments to improve local and regional water resources and agricultural management. There were three components involved in programme implementation detailed below.

Component 1: Improved Water Resources and Agricultural Management

  • Purchase, installation and implementation of Water Information System Platform (WISP) tools and related ancillary equipment in the participating countries. (WISP tools included remote sensing equipment, land surface models and land data assimilation systems that could be operated without relying on ground-based data, and hence were not bound by geographical constraints and political boundaries).
  • Applying WISP tools to pertinent research issues in local and regional water resources (such as identifying drought-prone and flood-prone areas, estimating groundwater fluxes and evapotranspiration, monitoring climate change impacts and crop yield estimates).

Component 2: Capacity Building and Project Managment

  • Capacity building for implementing WISP on local levels.
  • Local workshops to share results with stakeholders.
  • Participating in international conferences and study tours on environmental remote sensing.
  • Funding graduate fellowships.
  • Developing a national online portal to share data across stakeholder institutions.
  • Project management.

Component 3: Regional Integration and Cooperation

  • Organising quarterly workshops with regional stakeholders.
  • Developing an online portal to share regional results.
  • Generating yearly regional reports on applications of regional significance (such as estimating the recharge rates of regional oversubscribed shared aquifers, formulating response to droughts and floods at the regional level and encouraging a more coordinated approach to managing transboundary water resources).

Results obtained

  • WISP hardware purchased and installed.
  • Scholarships for advanced study or work experience in environmental remote sensing or other appropriate fields selected in each beneficiary country (e.g. mapping irrigated corps, flood monitoring and forecasting, forest fire monitoring, locust early warning, flood mapping).
  • Local stakeholder training workshop.
  • Regional and international workshops and conferences.
  • Regional project data portal developed and operational (according to GEF International Waters (IW): LEARN guidelines).
  • Agreement on technical models to be developed and transferred to each country.
  • Application of modelling results by technical line agencies and stakeholders.
  • Establishment of an online national portal to share data across stakeholder institutions.
  • Implementation of a regional project portal.
  • Integration of national drought results into one regional drought report.

Success factors

  • The project provided a genuine example of the important role that regional coordination and communication can play in exchanging knowledge, identifying common issues and discussing regional solutions.
  • The fact that the project handled a group of countries (as opposed to a single country) was a strong positive factor in its success.
  • Workshops and training courses were also more efficient for all participating countries than they would have been for one country, and the quality of interaction was likely higher as well. In this case, the countries all spoke the same language, and shared many common geographical problems.

Indicators used

  • Total number of operational models and WISP tools adapted.
  • Number of local stakeholder training workshops.
  • Number of regional and international workshops and conferences.
  • Number of researchers and stakeholders trained under the project (overseas and local).
  • Number of consultant services provided by NASA/ICBA (International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture) team.

The repeatability of such a programme requires the interest and commitment of potential beneficiary groups. It can be carried out in areas where information systems require improvement and where certain institutions lack high-tech, professional tools need for capacity building in the management of shared water resources.

The adoption, customisation and application of the models require the development of highly specialised skills for a small number of international experts to be directly involved in project implementation. Technical support and the transfer of high tech tools are also necessary for success and sustainability.

Total costs

  • USD 5.644 million