Welcome letter

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to the 4th International Conference WATERS IN SENSITIVE AND PROTECTED AREAS (4th WSPA Conference), which will be held in the city of Pula in Croatia from 10-13 April 2024. The 4th WSPA Conference is organised by the European Water Association (EWA) and the Croatian Water Pollution Control Society (CWPCS).

The 4th WSPA Conference is a continuation of the EWA project on waters in sensitive and protected areas, which aims to bring together the best scientists, experts, entrepreneurs and public administration representatives to present the latest research results and exchange ideas on scientific, technical, socio-economic, legal and educational aspects of protection and rational use of valuable sensitive water resources and ecosystem services.

Sensitive and protected areas are important not only for the protection of nature and its biodiversity, but also for the preservation of their values for various human needs. We see every day that human activities and dramatic population growth are greatly exacerbating the impacts of climate and land use change on the physical environment. This leads to degradation of human health and ecosystem services, pollution of water, soil, and air, imbalance of biogeochemical cycles, and tremendous waste production. Many groundwater and surface water systems are under significant pressure due to overuse or pollution, and demand for water resources is increasing dramatically. Better knowledge of how to identify and mitigate human-induced environmental problems, and how to help land-use planners and policy makers balance water resource needs with their availability, is central to sustainable development. New knowledge and approaches that enable decision makers and development policy makers to balance water resource needs and availability are key to achieving global and national sustainable development goals.

Although significant scientific progress has been made in recent decades in the management of water resources and biodiversity under climate change, there are still research gaps in this area that need to be addressed. The aim of this conference is to contribute to the expansion of scientific knowledge aimed at new innovative and cost-effective solutions for the protection of water and biodiversity, as well as changes in the regulatory framework for sensitive and protected areas.

The city of Pula, with its impressive ancient Roman buildings and magnificent amphitheatre, is known for its mild climate and unspoiled nature. Situated on the southern tip of the Istrian peninsula, below seven hills and overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, the city offers conference participants a beautiful and inspiring environment.

It is a great honour for us to continue the tradition that started in 1996 with the 1st WSPA Conference in Primošten and continued with the 2nd WSPA Conference in 2007 in Dubrovnik and the 3rd WSPA Conference in 2013 in Zagreb. Let us continue this tradition together!

We look forward to seeing you in Pula!

PhD Zoran Nakić
Chairman of the Organizing Committee

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