SOWA - Integrated soil and water protection
Soil and water protection has always been an important and widely recognised issue in European environmental research. In the hydrological cycle, water sooner or later interacts with soil and/or sediments, which can function as source or sink of pollutants and this determines the quality of groundwater, surface waters and finally drinking water, thus soil has to be recognised as a complex interactive key zone between land surface and groundwater. SOWA established an interdisciplinary forum, which integrated soil and water protection issues and provided a platform for scientists, regulators, policy makers, and industry. SOWA identified and prioritised demand-driven research-needs and provided the base for integrated soil/water research activities in the future. It aimed to contribute and complement existing EU-networks of its time. Concretely, the study focused on all phases of the policy cycle and carried out the analysis of relevant policy documents as well as interviews with policy makers at the international level and in the participating countries: 1, it organized an expert meeting to discuss the results of the study, identify gaps in knowledge, promote discussing between and among researchers and policymakers; 2, developed a Pan-European Research programme which focused on identified gaps and research needs of policy makers and made recommendations concerning the most suitable methodology for international comparative research; 3, developed a number of publications aimed at priority target groups.