The 12th annual Land Management Conference took place on 5th November 2018 at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich / ETH Zurich, hosted by the Group for Planning of Landscape and Urban Systems (PLUS) of Prof. Dr. Adrienne Grêt-Regamey and organized by the Swiss Association for Geomatics and Land Management “Geosuisse” (for the program and some impressions please browse though www.geosuisse.ch/bildung/12-landmanagement-tagung.html).
As conference leader, Dr. Martin Fritsch from Sofies-Emac Zurich being part of the Sofies Group, concludes that this year topic of “Integrated Water and Land Management” shows to be highly important than ever, facing challenges coming not only from high land use pressure but also from climate change and climate adaptation. All speakers emphasized the need for integrated approaches with more and better structured participatory planning and decision-making processes. This implies not only the integration of all relevant disciplines but also the population, making parties concerned to parties involved.
What started as punctual measures against floods more than 100 years ago, has evolved to interventions along entire rivers and has reached a level where today we deal with entire landscapes – however with high complexity and a large number of stakeholders. Therefore a major conclusion of the conference was, that integrated water and land management calls for a much stronger role of spatial planning taking over an important role for coordination and integration.
Finally, also an important economic dimension was raised. Polluted surface and groundwater or flood damages represent high economic losses, which can be much more expensive than investing into integrated approaches and solutions, assuring more space for rivers, groundwater protection zones and biodiversity as well as sustainable agro-systems with adapted irrigation schemes for better facing challenges like water scarcity and maintaining high water quality.
The Sofies Group is happy and motivated in contributing to the development and application of integrated actor-based water and land management approaches in numerous of their project.