Coimbra, Portugal
Coimbra, Portugal

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Aguiar F.C.,University of Lisbon | Segurado P.,University of Lisbon | Urbanic G.,University of Ljubljana | Urbanic G.,Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia | And 13 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

This paper exposes a new methodological approach to solve the problem of intercalibrating river quality national methods when a common metric is lacking and most of the countries share the same Water Framework Directive (WFD) assessment method. We provide recommendations for similar works in future concerning the assessment of ecological accuracy and highlight the importance of a good common ground to make feasible the scientific work beyond the intercalibration.The approach herein presented was applied to highly seasonal rivers of the Mediterranean Geographical Intercalibration Group for the Biological Quality Element Macrophytes. The Mediterranean Group of river macrophytes involved seven countries and two assessment methods with similar acquisition data and assessment concept: the Macrophyte Biological Index for Rivers (IBMR) for Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, and the River Macrophyte Index (RMI) for Slovenia. Database included 318 sites of which 78 were considered as benchmarks. The boundary harmonization was performed for common WFD-assessment methods (all countries except Slovenia) using the median of the Good/Moderate and High/Good boundaries of all countries. Then, whenever possible, the Slovenian method, RMI was computed for the entire database. The IBMR was also computed for the Slovenian sites and was regressed against RMI in order to check the relatedness of methods (R2=0.45; p<0.00001) and to convert RMI boundaries into the IBMR scale. The boundary bias of RMI was computed using direct comparison of classification and the median boundary values following boundary harmonization. The average absolute class differences after harmonization is 26% and the percentage of classifications differing by half of a quality class is also small (16.4%). This multi-step approach to the intercalibration was endorsed by the WFD Regulatory Committee. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2013.6.2-1 | Award Amount: 11.66M | Year: 2014

MARS will support managers and policy makers in the practical implementation of the WFD, of related legislation and of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europes Water Resources by conducting new research and synthesising existing knowledge concerning effects and management of multiple stressors in surface water and groundwater bodies; by advising the 3rd RMBP cycle and the revision of the WFD; and by developing new integrated tools for diagnosing and predicting multiple stressors in water resource management. The consortium includes 19 research institutes and five water boards and environment agencies. MARS will engage with ongoing and finalised European initiatives addressing related topics, thus acting as an integrating project. Work will be organised at the scales of water bodies, river basins and Europe; at each scale there is a direct link to water managers and decision makers. Nested within the scale structure, we will employ a suite of methods: flume and mesocosm experiments to better understand the effects of selected stressor combinations with a focus on extremes and hydrological stress; linkage of abiotic and biotic models to predict effects of stressor combinations at a river basin scale; large-scale data analysis employing existing databases, but including additional variables, to gain a Europe-wide overview of stress, status and ecosystem services. MARS will be composed of eight workpackages (WPs). While WP1 will be responsible for overall coordination, WP2 will provide tools, concepts and scenarios for the other WPs. WPs 3-5 will analyse and predict multiple stressor-impact relationships on three scales: water bodies (WP3), river basins (WP4) and Europe (WP5); the results will be synthesised across scales by WP6. WP7 will generate a wiki information system and produce or improve tools addressing the three scales. WP8 will communicate with river basin districts and Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) groups and will advise the WFD revision.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: REGIONS-1;REGIONS-2009-1 | Award Amount: 3.02M | Year: 2010

Most countries in European Union are suffering severe water scarcity caused by a negative balance between water resources and water demands. A sustainable management of hydrological resources results totally necessary, as it is established by the European Water Framework Directive (60/2000/EC), which makes compulsory for every water management authority in EU to prepare a river basin management plan by the end of this year 2009. In order to fulfil these obligations and considering the complexity of water bodies control and the undefined future scenario provided by climate change, there is an imperative demand of the use of integrated management tools and methods, such as computerized models. Thus, integrated Water Resources Management must be faced from a multisectorial point of view, involving scientific research, social and economic aspects and administrative proceedings. The NOVIWAM project will tackle these challenges by synthesizing the different perspectives of research institutions, authorities and entrepreneurs, introducing them into promotion of interregional co-operation. Based on several top level research results in water management and leaded by a consolidated cluster managed by a regional authority with exclusive competences on a major European river, the project will establish an European network to strengthen synergies between regional, national and EU initiatives addressing the Integrated Management RTD and innovation challenges. NOVIWAM aims to establish long-lasting links between clusters throughout the regions, and allow the triple-helix components to benefit from the scale economies deriving from this multilevel and interregional co-operation. Mentoring activities are strongly considered, as specific needs of clusters from a candidate country (Albania) and insularity problems (Cyprus), have been included. NOVIWAM will produce a Joint Action Plan (JAP) at European level with specific measures and calendar beyond the end of the project.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: Fission-2012-3.3.1 | Award Amount: 6.50M | Year: 2013

This proposal aims to close gaps that have been identified in nuclear and radiological preparedness following the first evaluation of the Fukushima disaster. It addresses the call Fission-2010-3.3.1: Update of emergency management and rehabilitation strategies and expertise in Europe. The consortium intends to review existing operational procedures in dealing with long lasting releases, address the cross border problematic in monitoring and safety of goods and will further develop still missing functionalities in decision support system ranging from improved source term estimation and dispersion modelling to the inclusion of hydrological pathways for European water bodies. As the management of the Fukushima event in Europe was far from being optimal, we propose to develop means on a scientific and operational basis to improve information collection, information exchange and the evaluation for such types of accidents. This will be achieved through a collaboration of industry, research and governmental organisations in Europe taking into account the networking activities carried out under the NERIS-TP project. Furthermore, the NERIS Platform member organisations (so far 43 partners) will be actively involved in the development.


PubMed | Ministry of Agriculture, University of Barcelona, IRSTEA, Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente and 5 more.
Type: | Journal: The Science of the total environment | Year: 2014

This paper exposes a new methodological approach to solve the problem of intercalibrating river quality national methods when a common metric is lacking and most of the countries share the same Water Framework Directive (WFD) assessment method. We provide recommendations for similar works in future concerning the assessment of ecological accuracy and highlight the importance of a good common ground to make feasible the scientific work beyond the intercalibration. The approach herein presented was applied to highly seasonal rivers of the Mediterranean Geographical Intercalibration Group for the Biological Quality Element Macrophytes. The Mediterranean Group of river macrophytes involved seven countries and two assessment methods with similar acquisition data and assessment concept: the Macrophyte Biological Index for Rivers (IBMR) for Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, and the River Macrophyte Index (RMI) for Slovenia. Database included 318 sites of which 78 were considered as benchmarks. The boundary harmonization was performed for common WFD-assessment methods (all countries except Slovenia) using the median of the Good/Moderate and High/Good boundaries of all countries. Then, whenever possible, the Slovenian method, RMI was computed for the entire database. The IBMR was also computed for the Slovenian sites and was regressed against RMI in order to check the relatedness of methods (R(2)=0.45; p<0.00001) and to convert RMI boundaries into the IBMR scale. The boundary bias of RMI was computed using direct comparison of classification and the median boundary values following boundary harmonization. The average absolute class differences after harmonization is 26% and the percentage of classifications differing by half of a quality class is also small (16.4%). This multi-step approach to the intercalibration was endorsed by the WFD Regulatory Committee.


Mota R.,National Laboratory for Civil Engineering | Coimbra L.,National Laboratory for Civil Engineering | Barroso M.,National Laboratory for Civil Engineering | Matutino M.,Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon | And 3 more authors.
Near Surface Geoscience 2013 | Year: 2013

Landfills contain basal lining systems that include composite liners, among which a geomembrane (GM). The success of these systems depends mainly on the GM performance, which acts as the primary barrier to contaminants migration. GM performance is conditioned by the presence of holes, which represent preferential pathways for leachate migration. An equipment was developed to detect holes in geomembranes. It is based on the geophysical resistivity method and aims to overcome the main disadvantages of the existing methods for GM holes detection, mainly time spent to perform the tests and the associated high costs. Several prototypes were already developed and were tested at small scale in laboratory. The final version, which is the model for the equipment under construction, was already successfully tested at laboratory small scale pilot plant and in a large pilot plant at Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, I.P. (LNEC) campus. This paper presents the prototypes development and results so far obtained.


Carvalho T.M.,Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente | Fidelis T.,University of Aveiro
Land Use Policy | Year: 2013

The latest theories on the governance of water resources point to the need to adopt integrated approaches, allowing the mediation of conflict between public and private interests by building consensus to include the participation of stakeholders and civil society in formulating and implementing policies, thereby ensuring their legitimacy. Models of governance have particular relevance in the context of estuaries, because of the complexity associated with them. Estuaries are areas where valuable, highly sensitive and diverse natural systems coexist, which are frequently threatened by the numerous human activities concentrated there. They are also areas where several organizations overlap, with their own jurisdictions and management instruments and where there is a wide range of users with distinct interests. At a time when the Planos de Ordenamento de Estuários (POE) (Estuary Land Use and Management Plan), a new tool for water resource management and planning, are being drawn up in Portugal, this paper discusses the specificities of the new Portuguese estuary plans, as well as associated potentials and constraints to further understand how water resources and land use policies may effectively be integrated in estuary contexts. It critically analyses the Portuguese legal framework established for these plans, arguing that, in spite of the novelty of the newly defined legal measures to better plan and manage estuaries, implementation of its ambitious objectives requires a robust governance model for plan preparation and implementation. Taking into account the main institutional features of complex estuaries with various agencies, stakeholders and users, as well as relevant governance principles, this paper proposes a governance model capable of enriching the implementation of estuary plans by contributing to a stronger involvement of all stakeholders and users in the construction of the plan, allowing conciliation of interests and participation in decision-making, within a framework of collaborative governance. Whilst the paper focuses on the Portuguese Law, the approach adopted is also of interest to other countries to assessing estuary planning regulations and associated collaborative measures. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Novo A.,Catholic University of Portugal | Andre S.,Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente | Viana P.,Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente | Nunes O.C.,University of Porto | Manaia C.M.,Catholic University of Portugal
Water Research | Year: 2013

This study was based on the hypothesis that the occurrence of antimicrobial residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria in the sewage could be correlated with the structure and composition of the bacterial community and the antibiotic resistance loads of the final effluent. Raw and treated wastewater composite samples were collected from an urban treatment plant over 14 sampling dates. Samples were characterized for the i) occurrence of tetracyclines, penicillins, sulfonamides, quinolones, triclosan, arsenic, cadmium, lead, chromium and mercury; ii) antibiotic resistance percentages for tetracycline, sulfamethoxazole, ciprofloxacin and amoxicillin and iii) 16S rRNA gene-DGGE patterns. The data of corresponding samples, taking into account the hydraulic residence time, was analyzed using multivariate analysis. Variations on the bacterial community structure of the final effluent were significantly correlated with the occurrence of tetracyclines, penicillins, sulfonamides, quinolones and triclosan in the raw inflow. Members of the class Epsilonproteobacteria presented positive correlations with those antimicrobials, whereas negative correlations were observed with Beta and Gammaproteobacteria and Firmicutes. Antibiotic resistance percentages presented different trends of variation in heterotrophs/enterobacteria and in enterococci, varied over time and after wastewater treatment. Antibiotic resistance was positively correlated with the occurrence of tetracyclines residues and high temperature. A relationship between antibiotic residues, bacterial community structure and composition and antibiotic resistance is demonstrated. Further studies, involving more wastewater treatment plants may help to elucidate this complex relationship. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Varela A.R.,Catholic University of Portugal | Varela A.R.,University of Porto | Andre S.,Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente | Nunes O.C.,University of Porto | Manaia C.M.,Catholic University of Portugal
Water Research | Year: 2014

The relationship between antimicrobial residues, antibiotic resistance prevalence and bacterial community composition in hospital effluent and in the receiving wastewater treatment plant was studied. Samples from hospital effluent, raw inflow and final effluent of the receiving wastewater treatment plant were characterized for amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin resistance prevalence, content of heavy metals and antimicrobial residues and bacterial community structure, based on 16S rRNA gene PCR-DGGE analysis. The concentration of fluoroquinolones, arsenic and mercury was in general higher in hospital effluent than in raw inflow, while the opposite was observed for tetracyclines, sulfonamides and penicillin G. The prevalence of ciprofloxacin resistance was significantly higher in hospital effluent than in raw inflow. The concentration of antimicrobial residues was observed to be significantly correlated with the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and with variations in the bacterial community. Hospital effluent was confirmed as a relevant, although not unique, source of antimicrobial residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria to the wastewater treatment plant. Moreover, given the high loads of antibiotic residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria that may occur in hospital effluents, these wastewater habitats may represent useful models to study and predict the impact of antibiotic residues on bacterial communities. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | University of Porto, Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente and Catholic University of Portugal
Type: | Journal: Water research | Year: 2014

The relationship between antimicrobial residues, antibiotic resistance prevalence and bacterial community composition in hospital effluent and in the receiving wastewater treatment plant was studied. Samples from hospital effluent, raw inflow and final effluent of the receiving wastewater treatment plant were characterized for amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin resistance prevalence, content of heavy metals and antimicrobial residues and bacterial community structure, based on 16S rRNA gene PCR-DGGE analysis. The concentration of fluoroquinolones, arsenic and mercury was in general higher in hospital effluent than in raw inflow, while the opposite was observed for tetracyclines, sulfonamides and penicillin G. The prevalence of ciprofloxacin resistance was significantly higher in hospital effluent than in raw inflow. The concentration of antimicrobial residues was observed to be significantly correlated with the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and with variations in the bacterial community. Hospital effluent was confirmed as a relevant, although not unique, source of antimicrobial residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria to the wastewater treatment plant. Moreover, given the high loads of antibiotic residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria that may occur in hospital effluents, these wastewater habitats may represent useful models to study and predict the impact of antibiotic residues on bacterial communities.

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