REsilienT water gOvernance Under climate CHange within the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus.

With increased water scarcity due to anthropocentric and natural causes, the trade-offs and synergies intrinsic to efficiently allocate this resource to various competing uses have become more polarized. Realizing the importance of an integrated approach in water governance, the RETOUCH Nexus project introduces and promotes the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus as a multi-level and cross-sectoral approach that advocates the EU water economy and, in addition, relies on ecological and social considerations. The overall objective of RETOUCH Nexus is to design and foster integrated, innovative and inclusive Nexus-smart water governance schemes and institutional settings to promote a secure water future in the EU, resilient to climate change. RETOUCH Nexus follows an evidence-based approach to propose, assess and optimize a set of WEFE Nexus smart methods in six different case studies reflecting various cross-sectoral, multi-level and multi-stakeholder water governance contexts.

The project has three main activities:

  • First, the project will monitor water governance by providing a set of Nexus-smart socio-economic and environmental indicators that reflect the cross-sectoral and multi-level nature of water use.
  • Second, RETOUCH Nexus will design integrated and climate-resilient water governance practices that ensure sustainable water systems. It will also develop economic instruments and business models that support robust water management under cross-sectoral competition.
  • Third, RETOUCH Nexus will promote more transparent, inclusive and innovative engagement mechanisms that empower stakeholder and citizen participation in water governance. Finally, RETOUCH Nexus aims to effectively increase the socio-economic and environmental resilience of water governance in Europe by upscaling and endorsing successful and sustainable Nexus-based water governance interventions. 

The Chair of Hydrology and River Basin Management of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has mainly two tasks:

  • The first task is to lead the Upper Main case study. Within the case study several climate and socio-economic scenarios will be applied and evaluated. Furthermore, retention potentials are investigated to mitigate floods as well as droughts. Further questions will be answered: What are the target indices?  What are the drought indices? What is the discharge magnitude? How to allocate water?
  • The second task is to upscale innovative water governance schemes and practices.
  •   As a last step, a case study specific dashboard will be developed.


Funding Programme: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101086522.

Project start: 01.01.2023

Project end: 31.12.2026

Project partners: TUM – Chair of Agricultural Production and Resource Economics (Project Lead, Dr. Maria Vrachioli), Valencia Polytechnic University (UPV), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (UVA), adelphi, Slovak University of Agriculture (SUA), Euroquality (EQY), Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO), De Watergroep (DWG), Energy And Water Agency (EWA), Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier (HHNK), Greening the Islands (GtI), Regierung Oberfranken (RegOfr), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)

Project management: Prof. Markus Disse, Dr. Jingshui Huang

Project assistance: Nicole Tatjana Scherer