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. To reach this overall aim, seven objectives need to be met, which are reflected in OPTAINs project structure:



Work package 1:  Case studies and harmonised multi-actor approach

Lead partner: Norwegian Institute for Water Research

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 WP 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.

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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

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

WP 4 will quantitatively assess the effectiveness of NSWRM under current and future climate assuming a discrete set of actor-based scenarios for each case study. This will be done by integrated process-based environmental modelling combined with conceptual socio-economic assessments at the field and catchment scale.

Work package 5:  Optimisation of NSWRM plans

Lead partner: 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

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

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.

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Work package 8:  Project Management

Lead partner: Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research

WP 8 will coordinate and manage the project. This includes activities related to the management of activities, finances, administration and legal aspects as well as knowledge and data management.

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Work package 9:  Ethics requirements

Lead partner: 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).