MEMOLA – European Policy Brief ” The impact of European Water Policy on the Water Cultural Heritage”


This document summarises MEMOLA project findings with regard to the impact of the European Water Policy on the cultural heritage associated with historical irrigation systems and presents suggestions for policy interventions.

MEMOLA is associated partner of RICHES project for a nice collaboration and cross dissemination of the respective areas of research, which insist on different, yet connected aspects of Cultural Heritage.

The document is available on the new RICHES RESOURCES website.


Since antiquity, irrigated agriculture has had a significant impact on ecosystems in the
Mediterranean basin, where water resources are limited and irregular in time. Furthermore, the ‘historical irrigation systems’ (HIS) have played a particular role in the ecological history of landscape, not only in southern Europe, but also in very different environmental regions across Europe.

memola water CHThe HIS should be understood as complex land and water management systems, which use the water gravitational potential through distribution networks with simple structures, operated on a small scale and managed by local farmer communities. They work as a socio-ecological constructs which have been able to survive during centuries, thanks to a relevant resilience capacity and a sustainable use of the natural resources. The water cultural heritage associated with these systems relates not only to the technology, items and architecture developed, but also to practices, based on traditional environmental knowledge, which have generated intangible heritage values.

In this policy brief, the impact of the EU water policy on the HIS, as well as on the values
associated with them, are analysed and some policy implications and recommendations are derived. All the findings presented here were drawn from meetings with stakeholders and from the detailed assessment of water policy documentation corresponding to the study area of MEMOLA, ‘Sierra Nevada’.


Visit the RICHES Blog

Visit the RICHES Website

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

RICHES: policy brief on co-creation released!
A crucial topic that is addressed and researched within the RICHES consortium is co-creation, being the practice where different stakeholders with different expertise come together collaboratively to create future-oriented perspectives, enrich cultural heritage (CH) experiences and build relations with networks that are closely invested in an institution’s collection. This paper is based on preliminary research findings, where RICHES consortium gives a short overview of the potential benefits of...
Released the RICHES Taxonomy policy brief
This policy brief presents evidence and recommendations emerging from the research undertaken to develop the RICHES "Taxonomy of terms, concepts and definitions", aimed at ensuring appropriate standard for research in the CH sector and at developing a common CH language to serve the interests of the wider CH community.
RICHES for achieving impact through SSH
Unit B6 “Reflective Societies” of DG Research & Innovation of the European Commission (EC) is currently working with the project IMPACT-EV on a report aimed at evaluating the social, political and scientific impacts of SSH research from a SSH perspective, in order to illustrate the relevance and importance of SSH research in our societies. RICHES recently gave its contribution to the survey by delivering to the EC and the IMPACT-EV consortium a review of its scientific and research activitie...
Food as European cultural heritage
On 18 June 2015, the countryside of Valdera (Pisa, Italy) was seat of an interesting international meeting, focussed on the role of food as element of the European cultural heritage (CH) and aimed at discussing how the changes within our society may have an impact on the wine & food traditions of a territory. Results of this workshop, held in the framework of the RICHES project, will merge into a public document, constituting the base of a policy brief addressed towards the European Commiss...