A network of ~100 streams and small rivers will be constituted in the 5 Research cities.


Coimbra is the largest city of central Portugal (~150,000 inhabitants) and holds one of the oldest universities in the world (733 years) with >25,000 students. The university along with its University Hospital and new technology industries constitute the major employers of the city. The population is young due to the presence of the university, but, the low birth rate in the country is also reflected in an aged population.

The city is close to the mountains as well as to the sea, being approximately 100 kms away from “Serra da Estrela”, the highest Portuguese mountain (with 2000 m a.s.l.) in Continental Portugal, and a ~40 kms distance to the Atlantic Ocean,

Coimbra is crossed by Mondego, the largest river in the Portuguese territory. Due to its hilly character, hundreds of small streams and respective catchments also across the city, draining off into the Mondego. This makes the left as well as the right margins an ideal setting for an OneAquaHealth research site.

In the old city the river and streams have been highly modified and are now covered or channelized; while in the more recent districts the streams are still uncovered, with some riparian vegetation, but also with many non-native and invasive plant species. In the city outskirts small streams run through a mixture of urbanized, industrialized and agricultural fields and there is still evidence of water pollution in some streams. There is no official monitoring of the ecological quality of these streams, and they are not under protection.

Focus group

A focus group discussion on “Protecting urban aquatic ecosystems to promote OneHealth” was held in Coimbra research site on March 16, 2024, National Climate Change Awareness Day. Twelve citizens attended the event, which was held outside next to an urban stream. Following a presentation near the urban stream, the participants’ values, thoughts, beliefs, needs, and expectations regarding these urban stream ecosystems, were gained through questioning and reflection activities at a picnic table adjacent to the stream.

It was a pretty fun thing to do. Everyone was engaged and enthusiastic. We learned a lot together.