Common support structures for the quality monitoring of water resources and the protection of public health

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Water resources are necessary for the sustenance and development of local communities through various uses such as food production and recreation. Within a healthy model for sustainable development, economic growth should never be viewed separately from the environmental impacts that it inflicts, while public health should always be considered as a top priority. A major tool for the achievement of the above and the insurance of the water users’ safety is the systematic monitoring of the quality of the water resources. 
The main objective of the current proposal is to monitor the quality of the water bodies of the Thermaikos Gulf in Greece and of Lake Prespa in FYROM through the use of advanced technology for the protection of the water environment and public health. Both water bodies are integral to the economic and cultural wellbeing of the local communities and demand constant monitoring to ensure public safety, particularly when concerning the quality control of food products such as mussels and fish. 
The project’s main actions include: 1) the establishment of monitoring infrastructure within the Region of Central Macedonia through the purchase of advanced water quality monitoring and analysis equipment, 2) the purchase of a state of the art unmanned aqueous vehicle with autonomous water quality monitoring equipment for use in FYROM, 3) the development of shellfish and fish production environmental assessment standards, 4) monitoring actions (lwater sampling and analysis etc) at the Greek site for the production of methodology, calibration and debugging standards and of data harmonization methodologies, 5) the customization of standards for use in FYROM 6) the training of personnel 7) the pilot operation of both the Greek and FYROM developed infrastructure and 8) their overall environmental evaluation.

The partnership includes: The Region of Central Macedonia, the Hydrobiological Institude (Ohrid) from FYROM and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The partnership involves actors that have a different, but complementary, know-how and ‘point of view’, bringing thus a unique contribution to the implementation of the project. 
The basic outcomes of the project are: 
•the establishment of permanent infrastructure for the support of water quality monitoring and analysis actions
•the development of water quality monitoring and analysis methodology standards, calibration and debugging standards and data harmonization standards for both countries
• the training of personnel of participating bodies on the use of the established structures and the implementation of water quality monitoring and analysis activities in the test sites of the project, in Greece and FYROM
 • the increased public awareness of local population on water quality issues and increased protection of public health from environmental hazards
• the improved relations among participating countries/bodies and the establishment of bonds for future cooperation



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