About

Background information IP project

River Delta System Analysis and Management in Practice (RAMIP)

Date: 14/9/2013- 28/9/2013

Place: Guadalete River Basin, Andalusia Spain
Accomodation: Campus El Sabio, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, see http://www.campuselsabio.com/web/jerez.php

General information

Number of students: 48

Number of staff: 15

Partners:

  • HZ University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands
  • Cadiz University, Spain
  • Ferrara University , Italy
  • Metropolian University, Finland

Website Project (with background info and documents): http://fs.iamadelta.eu/

Week 1: system analysis (description of the present situation of Guadelete River Basin) resulting in a common report. Carried out in  internationally mixed groups of  students. River Basin is divided in upper course (fresh,  non-tidal) and lower course (Delta, brackish/salt, tidal). Groups are:

  1. Stakeholders/communication/ group management (8 students). Supervised by HZ and Cadiz University staff
  2. Geomorphology, upper and lower course subgroups of 5 students. Supervised by  Cadiz University and Ferrara University staff
  3. Hydrology, upper and lower course subgroups of 5 students. Supervised by HZ and ..
  4. Chemistry, upper and lower course subgroups of 5 students. Supervised by HZ and Metropolian
  5. Biology, upper and lower course subgroups of 5 students. Supervised by HZ and Cadiz University

Week 2:  vision and scenario building about desired future (year 2025) of Guadelete River Basin and management plan to overcome gap present situation and desired future. Resulting in annotated power point presentations (one per group). New mixed groups: 5.

Basic approach of the project is that in this HIGH PRESSURE COOKER, it is the students projects: they are (and feel) responsible for the learning outcome and results of their project. Staff is guiding students.

Summary

More and more pressure is put on water systems, especially in Delta/Estuarine areas. Estuaries are often  heavily used by sometimes competing functions; agriculture, navigation, aquaculture, recreation and nature.  The European Water Framework Directive (2005) has been set up to improve water (ecological) quality in relation to water use for these competing functions. IP River Delta System Analysis and Management in Practise (RAMIP) focusses on multidisciplinary and integrated field survey and workshops and on practical and theoretical application of the principle of river basin management according to the European Water Framework Directive applied in the Spanish Guadelete river delta. The Guadelete river basin is a regulated water system which is heavily used by stakeholders. In the upper (fresh water) course its hydrodynamics is  regulated by reservoirs and regulating structures. Together with the high turbidity of the water this causes low biodiversity. The outflow of the  lower (brackish and salt) course of the Guadelete river lies in a delta, in which several intensive economic activities takes place. The Guadelete river lacks natural dynamics.

IP RAMIP’s objective is to facilitate an international, real life and stimulating learning environment for students. Students and staff of universities on the one hand and stakeholders and river basin authorities and enterprises on the other hand will exchange experience and knowledge and share ideas leading to a better understanding of  the physical and socio-economic relationships relevant for  river basin management. Doing so, the cooperation between both the partner institutes and stakeholders will be enhanced.

The IP RAMIP uses the concept of the ‘high pressure cooker’, which means that in a period of 13 days  the specific river delta system of the Guadelete river will be studied intensively. In phase 1, students will be actively confronted with the study area and the interest of different stakeholders in the river water system. They will carry out specific field surveys on both the physical system (geomorphology, hydrology, chemistry and biology) and the socio-economic system for a better understanding and knowledge.  Phase 1 will result in an extended system and problem analysis, in which the actual state of the river basin from source to mouth is analysed from all relevant perspectives. In phase 2 students will work on an integrated approach to formulate a shared vision on the river system and work out necessary actions (responses) to optimize the river system.  In the project,  staff and stakeholders, with specific backgrounds, will provide students with necessary concepts, information and knowledge and coach the students during the complete process. Apart from that, students will form international and interdisciplinary teams for both desktop and field research to study the problems/current situation and adequate responses.

The learning outcomes for students are:

  • learning to set up a valid plan for field survey
  • performing adequate field surveys
  • integrating data from different disciplines  and perspectives to a water system analysis in which natural functioning in relation to human interaction is studied
  • applying vision and strategic planning concepts for the specific river system
  • applying principles of river basin management according to the European Water Framework Directive for the specific Guadelete river basin  into practise and work out relevant responses to improve the functioning of the water system.

 

Expected outputs are student reports concerning responses for real life local problems with adequate press release. The results will also be presented to the network of stakeholders involved in Guadelete river basin management. The participants in the international group of students will develop the skills to elaborate this in a complex context. Furthermore a web based WIKI with best practices, knowledge (knowing what and knowing how) will be set-up . A model of the river will be built using Sobek (http://www.deltaressystems.com/hydro/product/108282/sobek-suite. Several video’s will be made to show the process of collaboration during the study week. These video’s will also be published on several websites. Also the lectures will be recorded and published.

Objectives

This IP will bring 50 students and 10 staff members of 4 different HEI’s together to learn from each other about various environmental disciplines aiming to integrate them in  specific field case studies and apply techniques and concepts for river system analysis and management plans.  The quality and volume of the cooperation will grow through this IP. Some of the proposed partners are already working together, this IP will offer the opportunity to link these initiatives, so a larger network of HEI’s will evolve and existing cooperation between partners will be intensified.  This IP also allows students, who have not yet gained any international experience or who feel hesitant towards international cooperation, to take part in an international exchange to acquaint themselves with these developments and thus acquire these competencies.  Exchange of knowledge and course material on specific (key) topics during condensed trainings will offer the opportunity to put in specialists (lecturers from various institutes and guest speakers) from different perspectives in the field of water system analyses, so as to enrich the curricula of all the institutes involved. Water system analyses as a topic has been chosen because it transcends bachelor course programmes and can therefore be approached from a multidisciplinary perspective. Based on the differences in European Water Framework Directive (EWFD) per country and the importance of  EWFD in the countries of the partner institutes, students will be familiarised with methodologies of system analyses and river basin management plans in specific contexts.

During preparation, defining learning goals and assessment of the results, staff members from the different HEI’s get insight in each other’s study programs and competences related to water and river management and learn where the possibilities for synergy can be found.

In IP RAMIP, students and lecturers of the HEI’s will actively work together with the local governments, enterprises and institutions. For example  stakeholders will act as commissioner or will give staff and students relevant input when they are interviewed. In this  way the cooperation between HEI’s and the local and regional enterprises, citizens, farmers, governments and institutions will be enhanced.

Since several years practical competence based learning is introduced in the Netherlands.  At HZ University of Applied Sciences  (Delta Academy) the concept of  integrated  water system analysis by a field week (in a sort of high pressure cook pan) has been used and optimized the last years. This didactical approach will be used in the IP RAMIP, but is extended with a vision building and an strategic action plan phase. Experiences and lessons learned from  a former IP River 21 project (2007) are included in this project. The experience of HZ will be shared with the other partners. Furthermore, the different didactical models of the partner institutes and specific expertise in the field of physical and socio-economic context of river basin management  will enhance students and staff to gain new insights. All partners strongly believe that an experience of trans-boundary education and new learning methodologies in a European setting will stimulate our students to embrace an attitude for life-long learning and understanding of other cultures.

During the preparation, IP-weeks, monitoring and evaluation the Blackboard E-learning system digital drop-boxes will be used to share and communicate all digitals materials. During the IP-week we will use GIS to analyse and present spatial information. A web based WIKI environment will be created to structure and share knowledge, best practices and documents on content and approach.


Background

In a former  IP project River 21, HZ University participated with Dutch,  Belgian and French Universities in vision and scenario building in the Scheldt river. In the past 7 years, as part of the course River Basin Management of the  fourth year of the bachelor program of Water management,  HZ University of Applied Sciences have developed the concept of the so-called field study week for their students. Students, supervised by senior lecturers, carried out research on (international) river basins in Austria, France, Germany, Macedonia and Spain. Field studies were mainly focussed on measurements on hydrology, chemistry and biology as part of a water system analyses.  Field studies in Spain revealed that the Guadelete river in the south of Spain (Andalusia region) is an excellent river system to study, because of its limited dimensions in length and width, but also because of the natural dynamics in tide and salinity and the complex interactions with human use  (it’s estuary in the Cadiz Bay is one of the most densely populated areas in the region). Cadiz University and Ferrara University have a long term expertise on coastal zone management in several European projects. Metropolian University of Applied Sciences is very well experienced in ecological engineering in relation to river basin problems. With this IP project a next step can be made to broaden and deepen field survey and system analysis  to a more integrated river basin management approach as propagated by the European Water Framework Directive.

Rationale

The main focus of the Delta Academy of HZ University of Applied Sciences is on Delta areas. It offers three water related bachelor programs (Civil Engineering, Water Management, Delta Management) and carries out applied research in four research groups: Water technology, Aquaculture, Building with Nature and Water safety and Spatial Development. HZ as a regional knowledge institute plays an important role in confronting students with real life water problems;  students are trained to work on practical solutions in relation to water systems in close cooperation with lecturers and business people. Because of her expertise on interdisciplinary field studies and her pioneering role, HZ is the leading institute for this IP.

All partners believe that this project fits in the institution’s international strategy as it offers yet another opportunity for their students to acquire educational, practical and cultural experiences within a new European setting. This will further enhance their professional attitude towards integrated water system knowledge and will let them gain new insights in the methodology of water system analyses and vision building, based on the different cultural backgrounds of students, staff, guests lecturers and the professional practice.

The University of Ferrara, University of Cadiz, Helsinki Metropolian University of Applied Sciences  and HZ University of Applied Sciences in Vlissingen are long-term Erasmus partners. The relationship has evolved through the years, which resulted in student exchange and a joined so- called RAAK international  project (funded by the Dutch ministry of Education, Culture and Science to stimulate applied research) . These joint activities has revealed the opportunity for a continue and more profound cooperation. Students will work increasingly less in jobs characterised by geographical isolation. As a result, international cooperation is becoming more important. Because different partners  want to give their students the opportunity to become acquainted with international cooperation, this IP has been developed. The subject of European Water Framework Directive (EWFD) is chosen because of its river basin approach.  This IP will bring the students and staff  from different member states together to learn from different situations and people of different nationalities.

More traditional study programs (Cadiz, Ferrara, Helsinki) sometimes lack a multi-disciplinary approach or international focus either in content or in set-up. However, these aspects are important for at least two reasons:

1.           As the river basin management approach increases in importance, analysis of actual situations  helps students to see how different disciplines interact, understand human impacts  and foresee and work out scenarios for River Basin Management.

2.           Give students the tools to manage in a complex multi-objective situation given the variety of backgrounds of participants.

IP RAMIP will be an excellent opportunity to enrich the study programs of all HEI’s involved with up-to-date study materials, exchange of students and new European insights about using an integrated multidisciplinary practical approach for water system analysis and management within the EFWD.

Aims 

The  objectives of this IP are:

  1. To enhance the cooperation between the partner institutes in the field of water system management.
  2. To exchange experience and knowledge and share ideas between water authorities and students and lecturers (staff)  of universities (e.g. HZ, UC, UF, HMU) in a context of River Basin Management according to  the European Water Framework Directive.
  3. To facilitate an international, real life and very stimulating learning environment for the students.
  4. The students will benefit from this exchange by learning by doing and obtain the required competencies in an inspiring way and in an international, multi-disciplinary context.
  5. Students acquire international experience; after 3 years, 60% of the participating students must minimally have spent one semester abroad. This may increase over the years and will have a catalyst effect on other students and faculty and staff.
  6. Raising awareness of the European Water Framework Directive and concepts such as system analysis, vision building and management  in an European context for the next generation of water managers.
  7. Create understanding that River Basin Management  concepts and approaches can be applied in a variety of contexts, characterised by cultural differences and economic standards. Because they all have different backgrounds, both students  and lecturers  can learn from each other.
  8. Develop intercultural understanding and personal and interpersonal skills in a European context. Improve the competency to work in international teams.
  9. Appreciate the value of different learning methodologies; both staff and students.

 

Cognitive objectives

  1. Understanding of cultures and customs of other countries and developing skills and attitudes for  working in international groups (proven in teamwork).
  2. Integrate measurements and data on physical and socio-economic aspects  in a coherent system analysis of a River Basin.
  3. Knowledge of the different concepts for system analyses, vision building and action plans of River Basin Management.
  4. Experience different interests of stakeholders in River Basins  and  the consequences for River Basin Management.
  5. Develop knowledge and application  of new ICT tools, like a web based WIKI environment to disseminate/share  knowledge and best practises.
  6. Linguistic skills such as oral and written communication and/or knowledge of a second language (proven in presentation).

 

Skills and Attitude objectives

  1. Application of River Basin Management knowledge in real life case study.
  2. Exchange and disseminate knowledge by use of ICT (proven in training team members in new software).
  3. Become a respected team member of an international team (proven in teambuilding activities and assignments).
  4. Capacity to adapt to new situations and generating new ideas to work autonomously (proven in case study).

 

How the IP ties in with the existing teaching programmes of the participating institutions

HZ: The IP will be a part of an existing fourth year course  “River Basin Management” in the bachelor program Water Management (7,5 EC).

UC: The IP will be a part of the bachelor program a part of an existing third year course  “Coastal Dynamics” in the bachelor program Marine Science (6 EC).

UF: The IP will be a part of the course of Coastal Dynamics (6 EC) for the Master programme in Civil Engineering and of the course of course of River Dynamics (6 EC) for the Master programme in Earth Sciences. Additionally it will provide credits for the PhD programme in Earth Sciences.

HMU: The IP will be a part of the “Waste, Water and Environmental Engineering” (30 EC) specialisation studies module in the bachelor program in Environmental Engineering.

 

Innovativeness

IP RAMIP is innovative for several reasons:

  • RAMIP enables students of different  background to cooperate in solving problems related to river basin management in an interdisciplinary and integrated project.
  • Secondly, this happens in intensive two week field survey and workshop under high pressure.
  • Thirdly, RAMIP enables students to work in practice on solutions in realistic pilot areas together with local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Fourth, RAMIP enables students to work and gain experience in an international project, preparing them for international cooperation in their future work.


Main pedagogical and didactical approaches and concepts which will be used

The programme is organised in such a way that it integrates three ways of approaching River Basin Management.

1.The input from lecturers and external experts by means of workshops. Different workshops will provide the students with concept and theory on River Basin Management, also integrating cultural differences to raise awareness on the complexity of the subject.
2. Project-based teaching & learning applied to a case study. During and parallel to the 13 days of the fieldwork, workshops and didactical activities, the students will work on a specific river basin. For this, they have to use a project-based methodology. A student works as member  of a group on an assignment from the professional practice. The groups will be coached by a team of lecturers throughout this process. Students cooperate actively in self-steering teams on realistic professional assignments. The main outcome of this activity will be an elaborated report and presentation  of an analysis, vision and strategy for the future of the river basin studied.

3. Field survey and stakeholder consultation will make the River Basin Management more tangible for students.

The project is organised as a ‘High pressure Cooker’ in which an analyses of the physical system and socio-economic system and the vision building process is approached in integrated and multidisciplinary way, practically applied on a specific river basin.

 

Level of students

  • BA students HZ University of Applied Sciences:  4th year Bachelor program Water management
  • BA students Cadiz  University: 4th year Bachelor program of Marine Science and Environmental Science
  • MSc students Ferrara University:  Civil Engineering and in Earth Sciences
  • BA students Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences: 3 rd and 4th year students from the Bachelor program in Environmental Engineering.

 

 

Ratio staff: students

The staff:student ratio will be 12:50.

 

ICT Tools

Webbased Tool

SOBEK (hydrological and water quality) Model

GIS for mapping and analyses on spatial data.

 

Assessment of intended learning outcomes

  1. System Analysis Report (week 1): Assessment by staff members
  2. Oral power point presentation (week 2): Assessment by staff members
  3. Oral Assessment and evaluation: Assessment of contribution of each student to process and end result

 

Credits awarded to student participation

HZ students will be awarded by 2,5 EC (part of course River Basin Management).

Students can acquire 2,5 ECTS for participation in this project. The IP is not a mandatory part of the curriculum for Cadiz University, Ferrara University and Helsinki  Metropolia UAS so the 2,5 ECTS can only be used as part of an elective course.

The 2,5 ETCS have been confirmed by all participating partners during meetings and through e-mail. A MoU between the institutions, confirming that participating students will be awarded 2,5 ECTS will be drawn up.

 

 

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