Good governance, social capital and payments for ecosystem services for the improvement of the River Brenta’s water resource management

  • Responsible management
  • Veneto Region
  • Italy
  • 2017-2018

  • Etra SpA,
    Coldiretti Veneto,
    Soc. Agr. Agrifloor di Cerantola Paolo &C.,
    Soc. Agr. Moresco Adelia.

GO Brenta 2020 is an Innovation Brokering project, financed by Misura 16.1 of the Rural Development Program (RDP) 2014-2020. The “Gruppo Operativo / Operational Group” is a network of public and private authorities that collaborate for water conservation of River Brenta.

The problem
In the mature course of the Brenta a large regional project (Schema Acquedottistico del Veneto Centrale) is underway, that involves the construction of 8 wells for drinking water. The machinery, owned by Veneto Acque, will be managed in collaboration with ETRA, an Italian water utilities company. Starting from 2018, the River Brenta will provide approximately 30% of Veneto’s drinking water and it will become a strategic and essential resource for the region. Unfortunately, the water resource presents some risks that need to be tackled, such as the groundwater depletion, the river’s vital outflow is decreasing and the pollutants that come from agriculture and the drainage from urban areas are increasing.

The solution
In this context, we are working in collaboration with ETRA and Coldiretti Veneto, to find environmentally friendly and economically viable solutions.
Thanks to the Misura 16.1 fund (Rural Development Program 2014-2020), we have created the Gruppo Operativo Brenta 2020 that is working to:
– improve good governance of water resources and ecosystems
– increase social capital between local and regional institutional actors;
– improve the economic sustainability of the farming practices through public-private fundraising and payments for ecosystem services management;
– increase the areas and the farms that adopt good practices to safeguard the Brenta’s water resources.

Our contribution
Etifor’s team will focus on: the governance among the local authorities, the development of payments for ecosystem services and the screening of European and regional funding. The project is innovative  as it applies the “polluter pays” principle provided by EU Water Framework Directive, art.9. The European directive was incorporated into the Italian administrative order – Decreto 39/2015. The order requires that water utility companies calculate environmental and resource costs and invest in their protection.

Etifor will support ETRA in the economic, legal and fundraising activities for the creation of a dedicated fund. By applying a “green fee” on the water’s bill, the fund will be able to collect the capital for environmental projects in the catchment and recharge areas. Our aim is to preserve resources and ecosystems, which purify and retain the watertable, for future generations.