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Natural deposits of mineral waters and hot springs are well known in central Europe. Their healing power is widely used and they are important drivers of local and regional economies in health care, wellness and tourism sectors. However, a common challenge is the sustainable management of mineral and thermal waters which on one hand are a basis for the existence of spas and on the other hand are a subject of various threats and pressures related to economic and urban development, mass tourism and careless sector policies.
The Healing Places project aims at a more sustainable development of spas by protecting the unique resources that constitute their basis. The partners will extend knowledge and awareness regarding the influence of various factors on underground water deposits by building multi-level and multi-territorial governance models of managing natural spa resources. A crucial element of the project will be the construction of common, innovative and web-based tool for the assessment of threats and pressures on mineral and hot water deposits.
HealingPlaces main objective is to improve current management practices of mineral & hot water and other valuable natural resources at SPAs.
HealingPlaces activities are grouped around 3 main themes: one is dedicated to environmental mapping and assessment, the second main theme covers the so-called pilot actions testing the newly developed solutions while the third one deals with the development of a common strategy for sustainable SPAs.
Joint methodologies are prepared to answer the following questions: What is the significance of SPAs in the regions concerned? What kind of environmental and socio-economic situation defines their role? And at the same time, what type of pressures threatens the valuable natural resources providing the SPA assets? This well-structured assessment process is strengthened by GIS sources helping the visibility of what we have and what we need to protect our values. In order to walk along the same path, partners are regularly trained to improve skills and competences. And last but not least, a widely applicable, easy-to-use computer tool is developed for the impact & environmental capacity assessment of further development of SPAs.
Using the results of the above activities, pilot actions are implemented; this helps the practical implementation of sustainable thermal water use in SPAs, ensuring the effective and rational use of identified resources, the protection of ecosystems while realizing social and economic functions.
For this purpose, different pilot actions are to be realized by partner regions and the various experiences gained will affect the upcoming step of the project process -, the creation of the joint strategy for sustainable SPA management. This document, the Integrated Strategy for sustainable management of SPAs’ most valuable natural resources, will serve as the core basis for partner regions to formulate their own regional sustainability plans to pave the way towards Central-European SPAs being in balance with nature, economy and our common future.
On Wednesday, 10th of June 2020 the City of Križevci organised a one day Study-visit to Terme Sveti Martin. Participants were students and professors from two higher education institutions: Križevci College of Agriculture and The Faculty of Geotechnical Engineering (University of Zagreb). The focus was on sustainable development of SPAs and first networking of that kind for this projects partners’ activities. First goal was to connect the Terme Sveti Martin (especially its Maintenance sector) with students that study course Hydrothermal resources on Geotechnical engineering Faculty.
On 22nd of January, all HealingPlaces partners met on-line to discuss the Progress within work-package no 1, focusing on development of common tools for an integrated assessment of present-day and expected threats and pressures on mineral and thermal water resources in SPAs.
Project partners discussed the data and information already collected and the state of progress of the reports on environmental pressures, comparing the availability and detail of data in different regions.
Thanks to this and many other partner’s workshops and discussions – the diversity of approaches can be an added value when merged into common work.
On the 22nd of January 2020 a coordination meeting for HEALING PLACES activities to be carried out in Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia Italian regions took place in Abano Terme, a thermal destination in the province of Padua (Veneto, Italy), surrounded by the landscape of the Regional Natural Park of Euganean Hills.
total ERDF 1.779.930,43 euro