Retouch Nexus

Project Description

RETOUCH NEXUS: Resilient Water Governance Under Climate Change Within the WEFE NEXUS

RETOUCH NEXUS is a project funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme with a budget of almost 3 million, which have as overall objective the designing and fostering of integrated, innovative, and inclusive Nexus-smart water governance schemes and institutional settings to promote a secure water future in the EU, resilient to climate change.

With a duration of 48 months, the project will rely on a consortium of 13 partners from 8 European countries, including the Energy & Water Agency (EWA) which will manage the Maltese River Basin District case study.


Increased water scarcity due to anthropocentric and natural causes, the trade-offs, and synergies intrinsic to efficiently allocate this resource to various competing uses have become more polarized. Realizing the importance of an integrated approach in water governance, the RETOUCH NEXUS project introduces and promotes the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus as a multi-level and cross-sectoral approach that advocates the EU water economy and, in addition, relies on ecological and social considerations.


RETOUCH NEXUS follows an evidence-based approach to propose, assess, and optimize a set of WEFE Nexus smart methods in six different case studies reflecting various cross-sectoral, multi-level and multi-stakeholder water governance contexts.

Building upon the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus, RETOUCH NEXUS aims to promote robust, integrated, sustainable, inclusive, and upscalable water governance practices by:

  • providing a set of Nexus-smart socio-economic and environmental indicators that reflect the cross-sectoral and multi-level nature of water use;
  • designing integrated and climate-resilient water governance practices that ensure sustainable water systems; and developing economic instruments and business models to support robust water management under cross-sectoral competition;
  • promoting more transparent, inclusive, and innovative engagement mechanisms that empower stakeholder and citizen participation in water governance;
  • effectively increasing the socio-economic and environmental resilience of water governance in Europe by upscaling and endorsing successful and sustainable Nexus-based water governance interventions. 

Project Outcome by 2030

  • 12 EU territories and river basins will uptake the Nexus-smart cross-sectoral and multi-actor water governance practices and institutional settings
  • 300 water-related practitioners will design improved pricing policies based on the RETOUCH NEXUS
  • 1500 citizens, 300 policy makers and regulatory actors are collaborating on the water governance, planning and management thanks via the RETOUCH NEXUS empowering ecosystem of participation.
  • 9 EU countries will analyse their water policy settings based on the Nexus-smart approaches that will be designed by RETOUCH NEXUS
  • 8 international and national water institutes will apply the RETOUCH NEXUS water governance monitoring framework


    • Technical University of Munich
    • Valencia Polytechnic University
    • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    • Adelphi
    • Slovak University of Agriculture
    • Euroquality
    • Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek
    • De Watergroep (affiliated)
    • Energy And Water Agency
    • Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier
    • Greening the Islands
    • Regierung Oberfranken (associated)
    • Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (associated)

    The Kick-off meeting, hosted by the lead partner of the project (TUM) took place on the last 6th –7th February 2023 in Freising, Germany.

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