Written by Wim Van Vierssen, Professor Emeritus & WssTP Vice-President. Article published in the “Journal of European Auditors”.
Cooperation in the field of public audit is the main theme of this ECA Journal. But how does cooperation look like in other areas? What is the approach to cooperation in another area that is clearly vital for everybody: water? Professor Wim van Vierssen, previously CEO of KWR Watercycle Research Institute and current vice-president of the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform, has worked almost his whole life with issues related to water. In this ECA Journal Long Read, he presents specificities of the water sector at large and how such a cross border issue as water, often organised locally, has led to multiple cooperation efforts, with success. And he also makes the link with the role of the EU and of public sector audits in this area.
To read the full article of WssTP Vice-President, please download the document here.Read More
|The EIC Horizon Prizes offer money to those who can solve some of society’s most difficult challenges, without detailing how this should be achieved or who should achieve it. These prizes are open to anyone willing to think outside the box across sectors and disciplines.
A total value of EUR 5 million will be allocated in five awards of EUR 1 million each for the best, proven, cost-effective tech-based solution for humanitarian aid in five distinct thematic areas:
– Shelter and related assistance
– Water, sanitation and hygiene
– Health and medical care
– Other forms of humanitarian aid (“open category”)
Cooperation between international organisations and NGOs responding to crises, beneficiaries and local actors, research and scientific communities and the private sector is strongly encouraged in the context of this Prize. The deadline to apply is 15 January 2020 and the contest is open to all legal entities from all countries.
For more information, please click here.
|WssTP participated at theResource Nexus Policy & Cluster Workshop that took place at EASMEpremises on the 27th of November.
The workshop started with a short presentation of the three Horizon2020 projects organising the event, SIM4NEXUS, MAGIC and DAFNE and featured four panel sessions that brought forward, amongst others, the following key messages: Nexus thinking requires both mind-set change but also institutional change; it is necessary to break existing technical, social, regulatory and institutional silos. These silos put challenges to the governance of the nexus.
There are different ways of producing knowledge; to address theWEF nexus governance we need not only technical knowledge but also tap into other types of knowledge: multi-actor engagement is necessary. Contextualisation: When it comes to nexus governance, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach but it needs to be tailored to each situation.
There is limited conceptual and practical guidance about the nexus. Two main challenges that are to be addressed:
1) the complexity of the nexus itself and,
2) the issue of policy fragmentation.
The workshop concluded with some follow-up actions, including a possible event in 2019, and the launch of a website of the NexusProject Cluster, which is accessible here. The presentations of theworkshop can be found here.
To read the whole overview from the workshop, please click here.
Curtis & Wyss Group is pleased to invite you to the European Smart Water Summit scheduled for December 6-7th, 2018 in Berlin.
This premier B2B event will bring together experts from all levels of the value chain to
ensure maximum knowledge transfer and professional exchange; elaborate on the best practices within the companion industry, hear and learn about their experiences on latest trends on companion development, to network and enjoy excellent mix of case studies, interactive panel discussions, speed networking and workshops.
Who Should Attend this summit?
• Chief of Operations • VP Industry Strategy • Head of Digitalization • Head of Innovation
• Metering Strategy Manager • Leakage Strategy Manager • Water Efficiency Manager
• Water Quality Manager • Director of Asset Management • Sales Director • Marketing Manager
• Business Development • Network Manager • Asset Manager • Solution Provider
• Innovation Manager
From Industries Such as:
• Utilities • Manufacturing • Agriculture • Renewables & Environment • Construction
• Water Infrastructure • Water resource management • Information Technology and Services
• Local government/Municipality • Utility • Environmental Services • Renewables & Environment
• Ministry/Government • Financier • Regulator • NGO • Civil Engineering, BIM
• Utility Association • Municipal Association
Interested ? To attend the European Smart Water Summit 2018, register through the online form by clicking here
To download the full programme, click Here
Tomas Michel, WssTP President delivered a keynote speech at IV Diálogos del Agua organized by CAF, Development Bank of Latin America on the 23rd of October in Madrid.
‘How Innovation can improve urban water management and promote circular economy’ was the theme of this year’s edition that attracted representatives from the Spanish Government, basin authorities, water organisations, large companies in the water sector and high-level stakeholders from Paraguay, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Brasil, Peru, and Argentina.
WssTP President presented an overview of the EU’s RTD effort per Framework Programme from 2002 to 2026 and the European Commission’s report on Science, Research and Innovation performance of the EU 2018. Tomas also spoke about the WssTP Water Vision 2030, explaining its four innovation tiers: Value of Water; Digital Water; Different Waters for different uses and users; Grey and Green Infrastructure and highlighting the three main WssTP objectives:
- Create a podium for water in EU
- Help develop excellent water research in EU
- Promote Living labs as the ideal tools to boost innovation
At the end of his speech, emphasis was put on the WssTP Living Labs as water mission driven and open -test environments to foster innovation, and on a potential future collaboration between WssTP and LATAM.
To follow the whole speech of WssTP president, please click here.Read More
On the 17th October, WssTP was represented at the 3rd edition of the Financial Time Water Summit by Geoff Townsend, Cluster Leader of the “Water Smart Industry” theme during the roundtable session on “new competitive edge: creating shared value through collective action”.
In association with WWF, the conference focused on businesses, investment opportunities, bankable water projects and other innovative financial solutions from a corporate perspective. It was a great occasion for participants to interact and debate with Executives from Heineken company, CDP, Nestle Water, MARS, WWF, Mondi South Africa and many other representatives from big organisations.
Geoff Townsend took part in the Watershed Moments session, hosting the roundtable session on “new competitive edge: creating shared value through collective action” that addressed how tackling larger-scale shared water challenges can benefit both businesses and the communities they operate in and how companies can work together and with government bodies to improve water availability.
With main traversing message of the session that “Water is a common shared value and needs collective actions”, Geoff raised key questions on how stakeholders can actually get engaged in collective actions that generate value for all and how making a societal improvement can generate profits for organisations.
Regarding companies operating in emerging markets suffering from poverty and endemic societal issues, Geoff particularly stressed out that ’It is vital to help them by demonstrating the value they can generate in a collective open transparent way, not only by making money and being prosperous in their location but by actually doing much greater good for that whole area. The way companies communicate that is a big challenge and the way they connect their brand and reputations is absolutely crucial to operate in these locations.’
David Martin from Nalco and Ecolab company who also attended the FT Water Summit pointed it out the importance of gathering all the stakeholders, such as WssTP, around the table to resolve water issues.“The core of WssTP lies in water and innovation, and sometimes we think of innovation as being technical or technologies issues. The event today was really around financial innovation in addressing the water challenges and I thought that the Geoff’s intervention and the collaboration between companies, research centers and association, such as WssTP and the financial community is the way to find the solution.”
For more information on the FT Live events, please click here.Read More
Dr Christophe Lasseur, coordinator of the European Space Agency’s Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative (MELISSA), studies how to keep astronauts alive in space by recycling their waste products into water, oxygen, food and other materials. Using this expertise is helping the NextGen project design circular economy solutions for water on Earth.
What were the goals of Melissa?
The main space agencies would like to explore further than the Earth’s orbit. To able to do that you need to carry onboard the spacecraft all the metabolic needs for the astronauts, which means air, water, food, etc. That is a lot of mass, it’s even too much for the capabilities of the launchers. The only solution is to recycle everything onboard, and try to reproduce oxygen, water and food from the waste.
What kind of waste are we talking about?
Not only human waste, there’s also CO2 which is breathed out by the astronaut, urine, plastic, packaging and so on.
So the idea is to create a self-sustaining environment?
How does that relate to the circular economy and feed into the Next Gen project?
We started this investigation in Europe almost 29 years ago now. We were trying to create closed loops – this is now called the circular economy, but when we started this was not the name. We accumulated some know-how for space application.
But over the last more or less five years, you can clearly see a very strong movement to try to improve sustainability, to recycle, to try to reduce impact on the ecosystems [on Earth]. Reduce energy, reduce resources. [They’ve started] looking at what we already do for space – they are talking about towns, cities, and countries of course, but the idea is the same, it’s how can we try to close the loop.
What’s the relationship between closing loops in space and the circular economy on Earth?
From Melissa we have 4 spin-off companies which are currently focused for terrestrial application. Some are on biomass valorisation, some are on waste recycling, so there is clearly some synergy in between.
So we can learn ways to support the circular economy here on Earth, based on the research that you and other researchers have done on space?
I hope so, yes. To be able to transfer this information, this knowledge of Melissa, to another activity where there is terrestrial benefit – it makes sense. I would be very pleased if from time to time I was able to say to the Next Gen group – please don’t do it, we have already done it five years ago, here is the result, or that doesn’t work, better try this. That would already be very useful. Now of course [within NextGen] there is a new team and a new approach, and from time to time I will look at their approach to see if Melissa project can benefit as well.
What do you hope that the NextGen project will achieve?
It’s really important to be able to have a community that understands the challenges of a closed loop system. Today you have a lot of people who are talking about a closed loop, but they don’t realise what it really means. That will already be an achievement, that the people understand the challenges of closing the loop and [are then] able to progress altogether.
What’s the biggest risk in terms of a closed loop system in space?
The biggest risk is that it doesn’t work! In principle there is that risk, that the astronaut will suddenly have no oxygen, no water and no food, but this is a limited risk because in space we never have just one technology, we always have another in case of redundancy and so on.
There are other problems however, for example when you are living in a habitat that is extremely closed, anything can become harmful, such as chemicals that are [present during] the first hours at a very low level but accumulate progressively and can then become toxic for the astronaut. We also have a lot of microorganisms, because the astronaut produces a lot of these as well. There could be pathogens and this could be a risk. Generally the astronaut is living in microgravity, meaning everything is floating, and there are also some particles that can be floating in the air. If they are swallowed by the astronaut by mistake that becomes a risk as well. The challenges of managed space missions are very high.
Is there any way to control for micro-oganisms?
We are developing an instrument in order to be able to follow almost continuously the microbial pathogens in water, in the air, in order to be really able to identify the pathogen and see if it is worse for the astronaut or not. In principle the technology is generic enough [to be applied to water treatment plants], however we would need to know more about required performances.
Has there been anything that you discovered during Melissa that surprised you?
Two surprises! We were testing bacteria to check if it was edible or not and during these tests we realised that this bacteria has an effect on bad cholesterol. We patented it and now we have a company for this, it was a very pleasant surprise.
The other good news is that we’ve demonstrated that we can have very good control of algae in space. We cultivate spirulina which is an edible cyanobacteria. We have done this on board the International Space Station (ISS) – we predicted what the behaviour of this cyanobacteria in space should be and it behaved exactly as we expected, which was really a very pleasant surprise.Read More
Young Water Solutions gladly invites you to the 2018 Young Water Fellowship Exclusive Pitching Night.
When ? Thursday 13th September 2018 – 6:30 pm. Where ? Thon Hotel EU [Roi de la Loi 75, 1040 Etterbeek]
The Young Water Fellowship is an initiative by Young Water Solutions that empowers young community leaders from low and middle income countries with financial and technical support to launch their own social business initiatives to solve local water issues in their communities.
The 2018 Young Water Fellows will join a one month training programme in social entrepreneurship and exchange ideas with international experts and leaders. The programme will culminate with the 2018 Young Water Fellowship Pitching Night on September 13th.
You are invited to attend the Pitching Night, where you will be inspired by the stories and innovative ideas of these outstanding young leaders and their water projects. Each of them will give an exclusive presentation of his / her water project, followed by a networking reception [walking dinner] during which you can get to know the Fellows.
You can find out more about them here.
6.30pm: Welcome by Young Water Solutions & key-note
7.00pm: Pitch by the 2018 Young Water Fellows
8.15pm: Cocktail & mingle – opportunity to meet and discuss with the 2018 Young Water Fellows during a walking dinner
Participation in this event is free and includes a walking dinner and drinks, but registration is mandatory (by clicking in the button below). Due to limited capacity, only the first 100 people who register will secure a place at the event.
If you would like to donate the equivalent cost of the dinner to support the 2018 Young Water Fellows, you can transfer it to our bank account:
IBAN : BE07 3631 5983 9266 – BIC: BBRU BE BB
If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, you can also transfer it to our partner organization GoodPlanet Belgium, on the following bank account: IBAN BE41 5230 8017 3710 – BIC: TRIOBEBB. Please mention ‘Young Water Fellowship’ in the transaction reference.
If you want to support one of the 2018 Young Water Fellows projects directly, please indicate also their name in the reference and then you will receive an implementation report including financial information on their project.
The Pitching night will take place in Thon Hotel EU (Roi de la Loi 75, 1040 Etterbeek).
The importance of having a Cluster dedicated to the “Water Smart Industry” theme by Geoff Townsend (Leader of the WssTP Cluster Theme ‘Water Smart Industry’)
Why is it important to have a Cluster dedicated to the theme ‘Water Smart Industry’?
Water is a business imperative – a strategic resource that enables growth, profitability and competitiveness of European industry. Consequently, challenges in supply, delivery and quality pose a relentless risk to corporations making the identification and management of these crucial to building operational resilience. In many regions, the rate of growth of water-related risks is far outpacing the efforts being made to mitigate those risks. This ever-widening disparity is attracting the attention of investors, shareholders and regulators. Superimposed on the macro trends that drive water scarcity is the growing inability to withstand local events, whether droughts or more frequent catastrophic storms that disrupt water supplies.
The industrial water-energy nexus is also an important factor. It’s no coincidence that the industrial sectors with the highest water use (power production and manufacturing) also contribute 53% of the total carbon dioxide emissions in Europe. Addressing sub-optimal performance in these water systems can make a significant contribution to emission reduction.
How is the Cluster ‘Water Smart Industry’ going to drive the way to the implementation of the WssTP Water Vision 2030?
The Cluster will help drive connectivity between the working groups and industry providing greater clarity on innovation needs and deployment opportunities aligned to the Value of Water framework. To this end, it is important that we enhance the engagement with operational teams within industry and their decision makers. The Cluster will also facilitate the setting up of living labs focussed on assessing technologies that support best available techniques as well as those that foster collaboration between the Clusters.
A key ambition of the Cluster is to go beyond addressing water risks to develop a strategy that truly embraces business opportunities so as to create greater value and impact for a business and stakeholders. In essence, industrial engagement needs to be energised by promoting water strategies that support business stratagems. This will ensure water quality and scarcity are factored into decisions that protect current operations and support business growth.
What are the key actions the Cluster has identified to bring research and innovations from the SIRA to the market?
The WssTP SIRA strategy is aimed at creating and supporting robust new technologies, funding/financing, business models and partnerships. Ultimately, confidence to invest in these is predicated on having robust, evidence-based water quantity and quality targets founded on a thorough understanding of the local context. Understanding the fundamental obstacles to truly sustainable water use at this level is essential and is likely to be the rate-limiting step on technology adoption. Consequently, specific actions associated with bringing the SIRA to the market must reflect this and the interconnectivity between innovation, collaboration and advocacy.
To see the full integrity of Geoff Townsend’s latest interview and WssTP Newsletter Summer 2018, click on the joint link.
Head of Water Initiative, World Economic Forum
Water is the number 5 global risk of highest impact in the next decade, as ranked in the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Risks Report. In examining the top global risks of highest likelihood and impact over a 10-year horizon, all but one can be linked to water.
Featuring prominently in that group is a cluster of environmental risks, including extreme weather events, natural disasters, climate change & adaptation, man-made environmental disasters, and biodiversity loss & ecosystem collapse. Water’s link to each of these is evident through droughts, floods, and mis-management of water. Equally, geopolitical and societal risks in the form of food security, involuntary migration, and inter-state conflict being triggered by water insecurity are well documented.
While the international water community has for years pointed to these links, the Global Risks Report represents the perspectives of nearly 1,000 decision-makers from across public and private sector. These are not dedicated water or environment professionals, but rather risk officers from companies and experts from institutions around the world, who have identified this interconnected set of risks and signaling their concern for the global economy and value chains.
Even more sobering is while we have seen the emergence and disappearance of other global risks – including the financial crisis, and chronic disease – over the past decade, water has stubbornly remained in the top 5 for seven consecutive years.
What will it take for water to finally disappear from the list?
While the foundations of water resource management – such as strengthening governance and policy, enhancing capacity, and building public-private cooperation – must continue to progress, the emergence of transformative technology has significant potential in supporting, accelerating and scaling this work.
Could blockchain technology be applied to create transparent and verifiable water allocation and market schemes that reflect true values of water? Or could a combination of advanced satellite imagery, big data, and artificial intelligence help improve real-time, actionable information for city officials to predict and manage any future Cape Town “Day Zero” scenarios?
These technologies – what we call the Fourth Industrial Revolution – are being applied in other sectors. Why not water?
This is the next chapter of the World Economic Forum’s Water Initiative, called Water Security Rewired.
As the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, we are using our platform and networks to support a community of water leaders and technology innovators to explore and understand the realm of possibility, including its limitations. Water Security Rewired will help spark new ideas, collaborations and lay the groundwork for next generation technologies to emerge. This new innovation agenda marks an exciting new chapter for the future of water.Read More