Author(s): Giovanna Grossi; Francesca Barisani; Arianna Dada; Francesca Berteni; Stefano Barontini; Roberto Ranzi
Keywords: Water resources management; Sustainability; Climate change; Public engagement
Abstract: Aiming at closing the gap between the academy and the civil society, participatory research initiatives set the favourable framework for public engagement and awareness raising on environmental issues. Local communities and stakeholders can play an active role in the research process, also by sharing their experience and field knowledge. The academy can benefit from this approach collecting data and information for the validation of theories, models and methodologies. A Science Shop (www.watshop.it) focusing on 'Sustainable water resources managament, control and consumption in a changing climate' is running at University of Brescia since 2019. A few projects have already started, showing the potentials of this approach to promote active engagement and knowledge sharing. Addressed topics span from water consumption and water availability for water supply systems to sustainable urban drainage to mitigate the hydraulic risk. New methodologies aiming at evaluating the socio-economic impact of non-structural measures are also investigated. From one hand recent European directives require participatory processes in the management of water systems, on the other hand environmental sustainability is being addressed by an increasing number of citizens' associations willing to act in line with the SDGs. Moreover national and international networks of participatory research initiatives can provide a continuous and very precious support through their case study and best practices collection. The WatShop experience is presented here, outlining its potentials and limits and promoting further international cooperation.