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The University of Southampton

Research project: TWINBAS - Twinning European and third countries river basins for development of integrated water resources management methods

Currently Active: 

A project funded by the EU FP6 Environment Programme

Project area
Project area

The following river basins were studied within the project:

Okavango (Botswana)
Nura (Kazakhstan)
Bío Bío (Chile)
Thames (UK)
Norrström (Sweden)

To reach the strategic objectives of TWINBAS, a number of research tasks on hydrology, modelling of pollution flow, impact assessment, socio-economics, scenario analyses and action efficiency had to be carried out. For all these activity areas, the goal was to bring the knowledge to a level where IWRM can be implemented for the five twinned river basins. The research and IWRM components of the project were organised according to the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). A strong emphasis on public participation and stakeholder involvement ensures that each component has local ownership and addresses priorities identified within the region. The selected river basins represent a wide variety of water use problems, and a variety of political and societal systems. Thus, the applicability of the WFD approach will vary for the third country basins, and the methodology applied will be a modification of the WFD process.

Research at Southampton University focused mainly on the River Nura in Kazakhstan. The Nura is the main river in the central Kazakhstan plain, an area of dry steppe with few perennial rivers and little precipitation. Because of the climate of the region the majority of surface flow occurs as snowmelt in spring. The Nura is being considered as an option to satisfy the rapidly growing water demand of the new capital city of Kazakhstan, Astana, but has been suffering from mercury pollution in the past, a problem which is currently being addressed by remedial action. The river discharges into the Kurgaldzhino wetlands and Lake Tengiz, one of the most important wetland sites in Central Asia which is under consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), Stockholm, Sweden

DHI Water and Environment, Denmark

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH-W), Wallingford, UK

National Commission for the Environment (CONAMA), Chile

BG Chair of Environmental Technology, AIPET, Kazakhstan

Rhodes University, South Africa


Tanton, T.W. (2010) "Interstate Water Resource Risk Management: Resource Risk Management" Ch 2. In: Interstate Water Resource Risk Management: Towards a Sustainable Future for the Aral Basin (JAYHUN) Ed. Olsson, O., Bauer, M. IWA Publishing ISBN-10: 1843393085

Related research groups

Water and Environmental Engineering Group
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