Background in the Region
Water is an important political topic and priority in Central Denmark Region. Due to climate changes, the areas near the coastal lines are experiencing challenges from the rise of seawaters and more frequent storms.
Furthermore, the Central Denmark region is also working on securing the pure Danish ground water and combatting possible dangerous pollution. Consequently, the region is working on initiatives on how to handle these pollution challenges the best possible way in collaboration with different actors.
The Regional Council in Central Denmark also pursues a political agenda in the field of climate adaptation, which includes water issues. In that manner, it is the vision of the Regional Council that Central Denmark by 2030 has handled the present climate challenges proactively and managed to transform these challenges into societal improvements and new business opportunities.
The vision includes cooperation with relevant actors, e.g. SME’s, on common challenges in the field of water in order to develop common, cost-effective and cutting edge solutions.
Role of water in the Region
Central Denmark Region is currently involved in a broad range of initiatives and areas when it comes to water and climate adaptation.
In 2014, the region launched “Seawater on Land” which set up innovation workshops for stakeholders expecting the intrusion of seawater on land (e.g. municipalities, utility companies, dock authorities, interest organizations, etc.). The aim of this initiative was to develop common holistic, multi-functional and sustainable solutions for the crosscutting problems with seawater across the region. The region has been the initiator and host of this innovative water initiative.
Furthermore, Central Denmark Region is also a partner in the northern European WaterCAP Taskforce involving partners with experience in Interreg projects in the field of water and climate. The vision with this taskforce is to disseminate knowledge and solutions of climate challenges in the North Sea area. The assignment of this taskforce is to help other cities in the north European regions with water and climate adaptation through knowledge sharing and visits from international water experts. In this manner, the taskforce will help developing tools that can build local solutions for local challenges and generate win-win solutions.
Learn more about the taskforce on www.watercap.eu/watercaptaskforce.htm
The industry in the water area in the Central Denmark Region is technologically innovative and advanced when it comes to quality and level of export. The business in the water sector in the region has a considerate revenue that has been increasing and experiencing growth since the financial crisis.
Compared to the other Danish regions, the Central Denmark Region is the frontrunner in terms of levels of export from the businesses in the water area. The water businesses exported 78 percent of their total revenue to foreign countries in 2011.
The water businesses mainly centre on production of Cleantech-related products and services as well as associated advice and support for these products. Both consultants and manufacturers in the region provide the advice and support.
The businesses are both comprised of SMV’s and larger companies who conduct business in the main area of water and wastewater and the subcategories of water supply, water treatment, sanitation, wastewater treatment, desalination technologies, water filters and water saving technologies.
There are many beautiful areas in Central Denmark Region, but unfortunately, some of these are experiencing pollution. Consequently, the region has mapped out these polluted spots as the first region in Denmark in order to find the best solution for each polluted area.
Some of the areas experience pollution because of a history of hosting car garages, garbage dumps or cleaning services on the ground. A possible ground pollution is a large threat to the pure ground water and a health risk for the citizens and a general environment hazard.
Based on the risks of ground pollution the Central Denmark Region put aside a large amount of money in 2014 in order to trace, investigate and tackle the polluted grounds in order to make the ground a safe area for the citizens of Central Denmark Region. In the region development plan the Region and the local municipalities made a promise to keep providing the citizens with pure and untreated ground water today and in the future.
Link with RTD & Innovation: The example of CHALLENGE:WATER
Challenge: Water is a regional initiative aiming at designing ways to link challenges within climate change adaptation – with a special focus on water – to innovative business models. Holistic and integrated solutions encompassing more than water are the core of the initiative.
The initiative consists of a local/regional part and a global part, the former integrating areas such as urban development and establishing development with private companies to support innovation, and the latter motivating the business community in a mutually supportive effort to develop business models to deal with global water challenges – especially in big cities.
The purpose of the project has been to turn global challenges in the water area into concrete business for SMV’s in the water sector.
A national/Regional perspective: A Quest for New and Innovative Solutions
Challenge: Water is cooperating closely with the Danish municipalities and water suppliers in identifying needs for new solutions. The first step consists in the formulation of specific development aims, the second in forming development consortia consisting of municipalities, water suppliers and private companies. These consortia are requested to design the new solutions, integrating known technology in innovative ways.
A global perspective: A New Platform in South-East Asia
Recently, and with the support from the Danish Industry Foundation, a Platform – The Danish Water Technology House – has been set up in Singapore focusing on the whole of South-East Asia. The purpose of the platform is to strengthen developmental cooperation among Danish companies – also companies already established in South-East Asia – promoting water technology, systems, and solutions, support networks, counselling in regards to project development and financing, etc. The Platform works on finding the best way to integrate water topics with other issues such as environment, communication and agriculture, where relevant and necessary.
Increasingly, the Danish Water Technology House shall be an effective clearing-house for Danish companies in their efforts to develop into permanent actors on the markets of South-East Asia. Local experts and sales consultants with relevant networks and local contacts will staff the centre.
Who is behind?
Challenge: Water is designed the Central Denmark Region, co-financed by the EU. The Fresh Water Centre (Ferskvandscentret) is the project-manager, assisted by two external consultant consortia – one advising on national matters (consisting of Danish Technological Institute, COWI, the Danish Export Association, the Minor Change Group) and one on international perspectives (EnviDan, DHI, and the Danish Export Association).
Currently there are several interest projects underway in Challenge: Water. Just to mention a few, Challenge: Water is involved in two projects regarding rainwater and the development of service packages for rainwater and how to mobilise landowners and businesses to handle rainwater on their own property and in an innovative manner. As mentioned above Challenge: Water is also engaged in a project, which aims to improve the Danish export of water technology by setting up a Danish Water Technology House in Singapore.
Example of water actors in the Region
- Cleantech businesses in the area of water in the region, approx. 55 business as of 2013.
- Danish Technological Institute, not-for-profit technology research institute
- Aarhus University, Higher education staff providing academic research
- SEGES, merger of the former Knowledge Centre for Agriculture and the Danish Pig Research Centre
- Growth Forum, Central Denmark Region
- Consulting engineers
- Water supply companies
- Minor Change Group