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Water Management in Coastal Areas


Coastal areas are acknowledged to be among the most dynamic and complex multi-function ecosystems, providing a range of services useful to human and economic well-being. These areas are widely exploited by a number of socio-economic activities such as industrial production, energy production and delivering, port activities, shipping, agriculture, tourism and recreational activities coupled with massive human settlement on the coasts.

Such activities often hamper the maintenance of ecological processes and the high biological diversity value that characterize coastal systems.

In the context of global climate change, natural adaptive processes such as inland migration or vertical shift of wetland systems can be greatly limited by highly urbanised and infrastructured coastal areas.

Climate change therefore results in additional pressure to coastal zones in Europe that are already considered among the most vulnerable areas, especially on the Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Seas.

According to EEA reports and other scientific regional studies, increasing vulnerability of coastal areas across Europe is correlated with the development of new impacts, the intensification of already occurring impacts, as well as the presence of synergic and cascading effects.

The main consequences of climate change in coastal areas are expected to be related to sea-level rise, such as increased flooding and permanent inundation of low-lying territories, erosion and degradation of coastal ecosystems. Furthermore, changes in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme whether events such as storms and associated surges may increase the risk of flooding, although uncertainty on storm surge projections is rather high.

With about half of the European population living within 50 Km of the coast, the exposure of human assets to the increased risk of flooding due to sea level rise and long-term changes in extreme meteorological conditions becomes a critical issue.



Lines of Evidence

Expert Views

Experts opinion about the Area of Interest giving an overview of the priority of this area.

  • Prof. Yves HENOCQUE  (IFREMER, France / Founding Member of LittOcean, President of Scientific Board of Liteau Research Programme (MEDDE), PAP/RAC Expert (UNEP/MAP)) [READ MORE]

CIRCLE-2 Ongoing activities

The CIRCLE-2 past activities that were related with the area. [READ MORE]

Links to other initiatives

Open calls:

Belmont Forum call on coastal vulnerabilty


Other initiatives:


Delta Alliance


EU FP6 and FP7 projects:

CIRCE project  - Climate change and impact research: the Mediterranean environment

Adricosm-Star project  - ADRIatic Sea Integrated Coastal areas and River Basin Management System

MELIA project - Mediterranean Dialogue on Integrated Water Management

VECTOR project - Vulnerability of the Italian coastal area and marine ecosystems to climatic changes and their role in the Mediterranean carbon cycles

BaltCICA project - Climate Change: Impacts, Costs and Adaptation in the Baltic Sea Region

CPA project - Climate Proof Areas, North Sea Region

CHAOS project - Climate Change Species Invasions in Aquatic Systems: a Comparative Perspective

MERSEA project - Marine Environment and Security for the European Area

CC-WaterS project - Climate Change and Impacts on Water Supply

ESCALATE project - Evaluating local Social CApital effects on poLicy Adaptation to climaTe change in coastal zonEs

CLIMATEWATER project - Bridging the gap between adaptation strategies of climate change impacts and European water policies