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Institute of Advanced Study

Professor Ezio Todini's Public Lecture

Date: 27 October 2009

Time: 5.15pm

Venue: The Birley Room, Hatfield College

Title: Facing Climate Changes: towards sustainable planning and management of water resources

In the last decades climatic changes have substantially modified the hydrological regime of the planet and severe to dramatic effects are to be expected during the present century in several parts of the world. At the same time, availability of good quality water resources has been reduced by excessive exploitation, aimed at coping with economical development and population growth, and by pollution of aquifers and surface water bodies, which is an inevitable consequence of the previous two pressures. All this has given rise to a wide rethinking of how we must envisage "development" not only in economical terms but mainly in terms of "quality of life and environment".

With the introduction of the "sustainability" concept, described in a World Bank document, which title is significantly "Our Common Future", the vision of water resources development strategies has been totally changed. Essentially, the sustainability concept implies that water must not be regarded anymore as an unlimited resource to be exploited, but as a limiting factor for development. Recently, the European Water Framework Directive also introduced the concepts of demand management and environmental costs to be taken into account in the planning phase as a means to reach sustainability.

Scope of this presentation is to introduce the concept of sustainable development of water resources as well as possible objectives and tools to be used in its future management.