Mountains demo site

Valle dei Laghi area, IT

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Rapid climate change impacts will lead to increasing conflicts in water and land usage, for this reason IMPETUS is seeking to promote participatory approaches in decision making to ensure rapid transition to sustainable and integrated water management, biodiversity conservation and disaster risk reduction.


The Valle dei Laghi area is located in the Province of Trento in the Italian Alps. The area has an abundant water supply and a very fragmented population, with small villages and municipalities with less than 5000 inhabitants.

Agriculture and food / wine production, hydropower production, forestry for wood fuel, slow tourism and winter ski tourism are the main economic activities. The Alps, and mountains in general, are recognised hotspots for climate change, with temperatures raising far beyond the average and more frequent extreme weather events.

Climate related issues

Water use

Water scarcity and lack of preventive actions to manage it; water management conflicts.

Land use

Loss of local traditions in agriculture and cultural heritage

Economic impacts

Increased frequency of extreme events and related economic and social damages

Key actions

Thanks to data and knowledge sharing and co-creation with local actors, we are supporting decision-making processes to strengthen the resilience of the territory and the community in the following fields:

  • sustainable and integrated management of regional water resource through a Decision Support System;
  • analysis of innovative insurance products for agriculture;
  • evaluation of the effects of the altitudinal shift of crops on vineyards;
  • activating the cultural heritage to enhance climate resilience;
  • applying Impact Chains approach to better understand and manage vulnerabilities and risks related to climate change.

Relevant sectors:






Our ambitions

In the Valle dei Laghi region, rapid climate change impacts will lead to increasing conflicts in water and land usage. For this reason within the IMPETUS project, we are seeking to promote participatory approaches in decision making to ensure rapid transition to sustainable and integrated water management, biodiversity conservation and disaster risk reduction.

In the mountain demonstration site, we have set ambitious goals:

  • Harmonise and build on existing solutions and initiatives to develop a multi-sectorial / multi-systems innovation package for the region.
  • Use operational climate services and products such as satellite data, seasonal forecasts, climate projections to develop co-created medium to long-term plans for water usage and risk management.
  • Ensure local community ‘ownership’ of risk management solutions integrating risk analyses and management approaches with participation, communication and co-creation.
  • Promote adaptation solutions uptake and transfer to other mountain communities engaging with national and international stakeholders.
  • Setting the stage for a network of citizens and stakeholders for their long-term participation in the decision-making process.
  • Demonstrate and test the developed solutions for wider uptake at provincial and higher levels as part of a Provincial Strategy for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.


Region-specific solutions

Enhanced knowledge and data-driven support for insurances related to the agricultural sector

Parametric or index-based insurance products – offering pre-specified pay-outs on the basis of climate change triggered events – would provide passive protection measures or sustainable financing instruments to invest in active protections such as hail nets, drip or top crown irrigation.

Our approach:

  • Design and test such an insurance system to protect agricultural crops, forest stands and hydropower energy plants against climate-related economic losses;
  • Involve stakeholders and experts from agricultural insurance consortia and ethical banking;
  • Support the design of insurance and financing models with tailor-made climate risk assessment tools that exploit existing data platforms providing seasonal forecasts and climate projections (e.g., Copernicus, Geo Mountains), enriched by local-scale data, and impact models;
  • Allow the economic evaluations to be based on assessment of future return periods for adverse climate events, such as hail, storms, floods, droughts, forest fires, etc.
This task will help to increase the know-how and knowledge sharing to identify the best indices (climatic and non-climatic) and forecast models that can support drought risk analysis and management for selected crops.

Activate cultural heritage to enhance climate resilience

In the context of global climate change, mountains are predominantly facing an increase of already existing, locally occurring natural hazards of reversible risks. Although their potential to cause damage is high, they are well known to the resident communities, who have been dealing with such threats for decades or centuries. Therefore, at local and regional level, a thorough understanding of how to cope with these risks has evolved.

Our approach:

  • Tap into the regional endogenous knowledge, revealing how culture, values and beliefs influence risk perceptions and enable or impede climate adaptation measures;
  • Identify relevant cultural practices in agriculture, water management and buildings regarding their potential for further development, upscaling and transferability, showcasing local best practices in terms of cultural practices to leverage for climate mitigation and adaptation;
  • Identify and exploit the interconnected intangible and tangible components of cultural heritage that are an essential part of local identities and shared values;
  • Develop tools to foster societal awareness and facilitate win-win solutions for adaptation and implementation of low-carbon measures for historic buildings analysing the existing building stock to investigate its past, present and future performance.
This task will help to detect triggers of behavioural change that can be applied in innovative climate change adaptation pathways.

Impact Chains

Impact Chains (IC) provide a structured graphical and conceptual narrative of causal relationships between adverse impacts and the components that drive and constitute them. The IC approach has been widely applied to better understand vulnerability and risk related to climate change, notably by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and has been used for risk assessment in climate change adaptation planning at local / national level in more than 10 countries. Step-by-step guidelines on how to adopt the IC methodology are available and internationally acknowledged and are regularly being updated.

Our approach:

  • Involve local experts in the Mountains demo site in a participatory process;
  • Development of Impact Chains for the Valle dei Laghi DS, focusing on the agricultural and built environment sectors;
  • Analyse risk management practices in order to identify gaps, points for improvement as well as best practices;
  • Pinpoint in which field adaptation measures need to be taken;
  • Use the results to foster behavioural change and increase communities’ awareness and adaptive capacity;
  • Replicate this activity in other mountainous areas to foster mutual learning and exchange of best practices;
  • Exploitation of the Impetus IC application to develop practical guidelines for practitioners and researcher to apply the IC approach.
The Impact Chains can help sectoral experts to obtain a conceptual representation of risk and to identify gaps in risk management and entry points for climate change adaptation.

Decision Support System integrating multiple information layers for the sustainable and integrated management of regional water resource

Seasonal hydrological forecasts are a rather new climate service, essential for anticipating the occurrence of droughts and floods and for managing water use conflicts. The DSS will be based on a digital twin that uses a hybrid approach combining physically based hydrological models and machine learning to create these forecasts.

Our approach:

  • Use seasonal hydrological forecasts to feed a participatory Decision Support System (DSS) for the integrated and sustainable management of concurrent water uses;
  • Ensure this happens in the framework of the WEFE (Water Energy Food Ecosystems) nexus approach and takes into account environmental, economic and political constraints;
  • Develop the DSS to allow the design of (i) seasonal management strategies to better cope with drought periods and operation of water levels in hydropower reservoirs for energy production in small and large plants; (ii) longer-term management strategies concerning smart irrigation, ecosystem protection and hydropower plants revamping.
This IMPETUS decision support system will help decision makers to take well-informed decisions on water management in water scarcity situations.

High temperatures

Record-breaking summertime temperatures have been recorded in the Netherlands in recent years. With global temperatures rising, such extreme weather events will occur more often, and for longer periods. Prolonged high temperatures, with warm nights as well as hot days, can cause heat stress* and related health issues, particularly among city populations.

*Heat stress occurs when the human body cannot get rid of excess heat and can impact wellbeing through conditions such as heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps and rashes.

"We want to enable municipality decision makers who are working on spatial developments to identify heat stress 'hot spots' and cool areas, analyse the future effects of climate change, and model the effect of different heat stress-reducing measures. The tool must provide them with an easy starting point to integrate heat stress risks in their projects."


Despite the cooling effect of the sea in the region of Zeeland, the growing risk of heat stress has become a concern.

Elderly and other vulnerable people are more impacted by the effects of prolonged heat, which can cause headaches, dizziness, insomnia and other health issues – even death. Excess temperatures also affect general comfort and liveability of cities. Water quality can be reduced, both for drinking and swimming, and infrastructure can be affected. Buildings and concrete surfaces trap heat, potentially leading to damage, and release it during the night, keeping temperatures warm.

During heat waves, it is important that everyone has access to a cool and comfortable place. Appropriate spatial planning can help to decrease and deal with heat stress. Environmental factors like water bodies, trees, and shade have a major impact on stress caused by high temperatures. Therefore, planting trees, removing concrete surfaces, creating green roofs and cool spaces can improve our comfort and health. The IMPETUS Atlantic team is developing a digital tool to support regional decision making for city planning to address these needs.


Flood risk

By 2050, sea-level within this region is predicted to rise by 15-40 cm, with more frequent extreme weather and more (severe) storms triggered by climate change. These changes will exacerbate the natural risk of flooding in the IMPETUS ‘Atlantic’ region, because it is surrounded by rivers and the sea, and is below sea level.

*Risk takes into account two aspects; the chance that an event will occur and the negative impact of such an event once it occurs. When there is a low chance that an event will occur, but its impacts are huge, the risk is still significant.

“In the Netherlands, an extensive system of dikes protects us against sea and river flooding. We have always put our faith in this defence and focused almost solely on flood prevention. However, pressure on our system will increase with climate change and rising sea levels. To adapt and maintain a safe living environment, we should develop other safety measures, like more robust spatial planning and contingency plans."


Rotterdam city, is located in Rijnmond – ‘mouth of the Rhine’. The Rhine river flows through this densely populated area and characterises the region. Protections such as sea dikes and storm surge barriers have been constructed to protect the region, but flooding still occurs.

People living in the city are accustomed to seeing smaller floods. The changing climate affects the interplay between rainfall, river levels and sea storms, increasing the flooding risk. Water levels could rise by a few metres, even in populated areas, with potentially massive impacts. 

Mitigation measures such as storm surge barriers reduce the chance that high water reaches the city, but to minimise the impact of floods when they do occur, adaptation strategies are also needed. A city that can adapt to be safe from floods must be carefully designed. How best to design such an adaptive city?

Critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and evacuation routes, must be accessible at all times. Planning how to best protect them, homes and lives is complex. Flood water behaves in a complex way and flood risks show strong spatial variations. The IMPETUS Atlantic team is developing a digital tool to support regional decision making for adaptive city planning. 


Energy and waste water

To become climate-neutral by 2050, climate mitigation* efforts are crucial in our strategy for how to deal with climate change. Reducing our energy consumption is a significant mitigation step. In the Netherlands, 15% of energy is consumed in the Rijnmond area around the port of Rotterdam, in large part by a major petrochemical industry cluster.

*Climate mitigation encompasses measures such as technologies, processes, or practices that reduce carbon emissions or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.


The Rotterdam port petrochemical industry cluster is Europe’s largest. It consumes 70% of the Rijnmond region’s energy. A large part of this energy is wasted (64%, 203 petajoules). More than half of that energy is lost with wastewater. In addition, most energy processes within these industries rely on fossil fuels, which has a significant impact on the climate.

Energy use must be minimised and fossil fuels should be replaced by renewable sources if climate change is to be mitigated. Electrification of processes opens up the possibility to use more renewable energy and can greatly impact decarbonisation. Recovering wasted heat would significantly reduce energy consumption and is a first step towards a more circular industry. 

Supporting industries in a transition towards climate-neutrality depends on identifying how best to reduce their carbon footprint without sacrificing production or performance. The IMPETUS Atlantic team is creating a digital tool that supports decision making about pathways towards an effective energy transition for EU industry.