The BIGDATA 4RIVERS project culminates with the presentation of a joint plan, after several years of dedication and effort in improving the quality of European rivers through smart water management policies. Developed with co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in the framework of the Interreg Europe interregional cooperation programme, the project started in July 2019 and marked an important 4-year period of information and knowledge exchange.

Throughout this period, the project empowered entities directly involved in water planning, management, and monitoring, as well as those involved in the implementation of policy instruments, including planning and decision-making processes related to water management at local, subregional, and regional levels. 

The main impact of the project lies in the development of an action plan for the strategic management of surface waters in the context of climate change. This plan, now presented, aims to promote intelligent water management in the catchment areas of the major rivers Minho and Lima, building upon the current climate change scenario and valuing water as an indispensable resource for the economic, social, and environmental development of the territories. The action plan also seeks to influence regional public policy instruments in the current programming period 2021-2027 (Portugal 2030).

Within this framework, last 26th of July, CIM Alto Minho promoted the final project meeting, marking the closure of this important initiative. The meeting was attended by the stakeholder group, composed of entities directly involved in policy enforcement at national, regional, and local level. These partners have been following the project since its inception, and on this occasion, the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), the Northern Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-N), the Alto Minho Waters (AdAM), and several municipalities from the Alto Minho region were present.

During the meeting, the results achieved throughout the implementation of the project were presented, as well as the main lessons learned and impacts generated in the strategic management of surface waters. The discussion was comprehensive and enriching, providing a space for sharing experiences and best practices, which will undoubtedly contribute to future interventions related to the preservation and sustainable management of water resources.

According to the technical team, the project represents an important milestone in the search for smart solutions for joint water resources management and has promoted a collaborative and proactive project implementation by all partners. Recognition is due for the willingness and commitment of all entities involved in this initiative.

The results achieved and the knowledge gained during these four years of the project should be regarded as a solid foundation to drive new collaborative projects in this extremely important field.

In addition to the CIM Alto Minho, this project involved the Östergötland County Administrative Board (Sweden), the DREAM - Water and Environment Competitiveness Cluster (France), the Iberian Association of Municipalities along the Douro River (Spain), Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania), the National Union of Romanian Employers (Romania), and the Regional Development Fund of the Athens Region (Greece).