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 extended their 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 was 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 was to improve current management practices of mineral & hot water and other valuable natural resources at SPAs.
HealingPlaces activities were 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 were 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 were regularly trained to improve skills and competences. And last but not least, a widely applicable, easy-to-use computer tool was developed for the impact & environmental capacity assessment of further development of SPAs.
Using the results of the above activities, pilot actions were 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 were realized by partner regions and the various experiences gained affected 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, 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.
The HealingPlaces project Final Video - summarizing the above mentioned - is available on the project's Youtube channel here.
Learn more about the pilot projects implemented at the partners
|Strengthening regional partnership in selected SPA regions in Upper Austria||Shifting towards nature-focused development of spa potential, Hungary||Eco-friendly SPA management in region and guidance for sustainable use of local thermal and mineral groundwater resources in Krizevci,Croatia|
|Testing participative tool for improvement of SPAs water deposits sustainable management in Jeseniky, Czech Republic||Product Environmental Footprint Testing in the Thermal District of Acqui Terme, Italy||Improvement of sustainable management of thermal natural resources in Colli Euganei protected area|
|Balanced and sustained management of mineral waters in Lower Silesia, Poland||Sustainable management plan of thermal water use in Vzhodna, Slovenia||REPORT ON EVALUATION OF PILOT ACTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS|
PILOT ACTIONS REALIZED
HANDBOOK OF BEST PRACTICES