‘Water Europe’ has been fondly embraced by the EU water sector not only as a stronger brand name but also for what it brings along: A broader, more inclusive platform that represents the full water value chain and paves the way for the full transition to a Water-Smart Society

We are proud to present you the Water Europe Annual Report 2019, including an outlook towards 2020!

The period 2019-2020 has been an intense and exciting year for Water Europe with activities on all fronts. Three successful annual WE events with over 500 participants were held, more than 600 matchmaking sessions took place, four new strategic publications, a strong presence at the EIP Water 2019 Conference in Zaragoza, and many other actions that may not be measurable in numbers but that they still count a great deal. Chief among them in 2019 was the adoption of our new name ‘Water Europe’ that accurately reflects our evolution and our vision for the future.

‘Water Europe’ has been fondly embraced by the EU water sector not only as a stronger brand name but also for what it brings along: A broader, more inclusive platform that represents the full water value chain and paves the way for the full transition to a Water-Smart Society. In the wake, the name change Water Europe decided to take its advocacy programme on step further and start putting in place the drivers for innovation in European Water policy and legislation based on our Water Vision and societal responsibility taking into account the latest scientific and technological developments and what is financially sustainable. Internally, we also have firmly established a more complete and inclusive governance with the participation of Board members, Vison Leadership Teams, Working Group Leaders, and Policy Advisory Committee which now better collaborate and communicate with each other for an effective WE ambassadorship.

Our publication on the “Analyses & Overview of WE members’ European Projects” revealed that since in the period 2014-2019, the EC has invested € 1,2 billion in water-related Horizon2020 projects and that WE members cover 74% of consortium partners of all funded water-related Horizon2020 projects. Our upcoming publication on the ‘Water Europe contributions to the European Green Deal and Horizon Europe’ will provide a basis for the integration of water issues for the next 7 years in Horizon Europe in line with our Water Vision.

The moment we speak the world is undergoing the impact of the Covid-19 crisis of which the ultimate consequences for our societies are difficult to predict. As in any crisis, there are threats and opportunities. WE have been exploring alternative and innovative ways to find the silver lining in these challenging and exceptional times. WE Working Group meetings have already moved online using the WE SharePoint and Teams facilities and Water Innovation Europe 2020 will turn into an online Innovative Water Week.

To conclude, we have many reasons to be proud of but nothing of all these would have been possible without our members and more, in particular, the people, our members’ representatives that dedicate their time and effort to building a Water-Smart Society. Therefore, the final applause goes to them for one more year. We want to express a special thanks to our Water Europe Ambassadors, including our WE WG leaders, the WE Board members, the WE Vision Leadership Teams, and last but not least the WE secretariat!

tomas michel

Tomas Michel

Water Europe President

Durk Krol - Executive Director1

Durk Krol

Water Europe Executive Director

Building a Water-Smart Society


Vision Leadership Teams

The key WE think tanks to implement the WE Vision and provide strategic orientation on the process for achieving the Water-Smart Society and for the deployment of innovations in the Water oriented Living Labs.

WE Working Groups

The operational instrument for members’ collaboration, producing technical and scientific inputs on a series of themes. WE facilitates their operation through a range of supportive actions.


Three key annual events per year. Each one of them has grown to be an established landmark in its category and the meeting point of the European water sector.

Water Oriented Living Labs

Real-life, water oriented and demo-type and platform-type environments with a cross-sector nexus approach that provide a real life “field lab” to develop, test, and validate a combination of solutions.

International Water Dialogues

Initiative that sets up business and research collaboration between the EU and other strategic global regions to better enable our members to create market opportunities for European solutions and to facilitate scientific collaboration.

European Junior Water Programme

Close cooperation with the EJWP to advance the young professionals’ point of view at EU level and address the Human Capital challenges the European water sector faces.


WE Collaborate


WE Innovate


WE Advocate


colaboration programme

Collaboration Programme

Allows our members to network, to exchange knowledge and experiences, and to collaborate along the water value chain by addressing common challenges, developing and implementing new solutions, and shaping successful project consortia.

market programme

Market Programme

Enables our members to bring their research results and innovative solutions to the market in Europe and beyond.

advocacy programme

Advocacy Programme

Raises the awareness of the value of water for our society and economy, making sure that all the right drivers are put in place. We advocate for the proper inclusion of the water-related topics in the European funding programmes.

Supported by


Communication Pillar

Supports the outreach and marketing of all our activities, including Water Europe Communication, Dissemination, and Networking services for project consortia that include at least one Water Europe member.

Membership Pillar

Consists of activities that deliver high quality services and results to our members, with the aim to consolidate and expand the current Water Europe membership base.

One year at a glance

Activities Report 2019-2020

WE become Water Europe

It is almost one year since the adoption of our new name ‘Water Europe’ at the Water Innovation Europe 2019 dinner ceremony in June 2019. Our new name captures the essence of our position, its purpose and allows us to engage with non-traditional actors outside the traditional water sector. Water Europe’ has been fondly embraced by the EU water sector not only as a stronger brand name but also for what it brings along: A broader, more inclusive platform that represents the full water value chain and paves the way for the full transition to a Water-Smart society.

The Water Europe board revealing the new name at the WIE2019 ceremony, June 2019

‘While keeping with all the achievements and good things WssTP stands for, WATER EUROPE better captures the essence of the position we have already achieved, and the ambition we further pursue, in Europe. WssTP becomes Water Europe!’ said Tomas Michel, Water Europe President


Working Groups Highlights

As part of its effort to get closer with the Agrofood sector, the Working Group Water & ΑgriFood joined forces with SuWaNu Europe project and the EIT Food, organising a workshop during the EIP Water event 2019 that took place in Zaragoza (Spain) on the 11th of December 2019.

  Antonia Lorenzo, leader of WG ‘Water & Agrifood’

Gaetane Casale, leader of the WG Water Beyond Europe represented Water Europe at the Amsterdam International Water Week 2019 and delivered a speech on the SDG6 monitoring. ‘Every single water sector organization can contribute to achieving SDG6 even in Europe, thus increasing awareness on the importance of agenda 2030 is still needed in Europe’ said Gaetano.

Gaetano Casale speaking at AIWW2019 Conference.

The Working Group Water Beyond Europe was behind the wheel for the production of the new Water Europe publication ‘Water in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: How can Europe Act’ which was jointly designed and developed with the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP).

Its objective is to advocate for the role that the European Union, the European Commission and the European Water Sector actors had and should continue to have, to contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda, in particular to SDG 6 and other water-related targets.

  Launched in June 2019

The activities of the Working Group Human Capital started this year and included amongst others its first steps on raising awareness on Human Capital in the European Water Sector via identifying its challenges and good practices; the launch of the European Junior Water Programme with a Report for the WG and workshops all around Europe, as well as its new Position Paper addressing the importance of a water-related human capital agenda for the green deal.

  Naomi Timmer, leader of the WG Human Capital on stage with the EJWP at WIE2019.

The position paper ‘Towards a water-related human capital agenda for the Green Deal’ was developed to raise awareness, give direction, show practical opportunities and emphasize the importance of investment in human capital to be resilient and supportive to innovation.

Launched in April 2020.

The WG Water Distribution Infrastructure aims at creating innovations that provide economic, environmental and social benefits for owners and operators of water distribution infrastructure networks, e.g. water utilities and building owners. During this year, it held three workshops to specify and plan its scope and activities.

NEXT STEP: Engagement of water utilities and construction companies to ensure that coming activities are based on solid understanding of their business needs and challenges.

Great participation at the first Water Security workshop with a focus in Quantitative Assessment. The workshop was co-chaired by Jan Hofman, leader of the Working Group (KWR/University of Bath) and Blanca Antizar (Isle Utilities), Co-leader of the WG and was hosted by the KWR Water Research Institute in the Netherlands on 29th January, 2020.

Water Knowledge Europe 2019 opens the way for new partnerships

On 30 & 31 Οctober 2019, Water Knowledge Europe 2019 took place, dedicated to the last Horizon2020 open calls. During the event, the new publication of Water Europe ‘Analysis & Overview of Water Europe members’ European Projects’ was launched revealing that, thus far, 179 water-related projects have been funded under H2020 and that WE membership covers 74% of all participants to these projects.

For the third time in a row, Water Europe managed to arrange 245 B2B meetings in only three hours through the B2Match platform.



Including the drivers for achieving a Water-Smart Society in EU legislation based on the WE Vision, our societal responsibility, and an evidence-based approach that is financial and economically sustainable.


Working hard to get water included in the calls of H2020 and on Horizon Europe.

  • New document ‘Water Europe contributions to the European Green Deal & Ηorizon Europe’.
  • Position paper and amendments on DWD
  • Position paper on “The role of water in the EU Post Covid19 Recovery Plan”
  • European Water Alliance manifesto “Opportunities and necessity for Europe to Build a Water-Smart Society and Circular economy”, together with our coalition’s partners.

Water is Everyone’s Business statement

New Water Europe Policy Advisory Committee (PAC)

The WFD Common Implementation Structure (WFD CIS)

  • The public consultation on Farm to Fork Strategy Roadmap
  • The public consultation on the EU 2030 biodiversity strategy
  • The public consultation on Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive

‘Water Europe contributions to the European Green Deal & Ηorizon Europe’

The new publication stresses out how the WE Vision and SIRA relate to and feed the renewed European strategies and policies, with a strong focus on the European Green Deal and the Horizon Europe. The document will support those (EC and other EU Institution officers, researchers and innovators from private and public organisations, NGOs and CSOs, MS committees and advisory boards) who are engaged and responsible to develop contents and mechanisms of the European Green Deal and Horizon Europe, to identify the key water-related research and development needs.

Position paper on Water in the EU post COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Water Europe contributed to the preparation of the European post COVID-19 Recovery plan. The position paper developed in collaboration with CDP Europe, Netwerch2O, The European Youth Parliament for Water and with the contribution of our ambassadors and the European Water Alliance (EUWA) demonstrates the capacity of the water sector to voice their will to contribute to the reboot our the European society.

  NEW HIGHLIGHT – Watch our video ONLINE

EU Water Alliance Manifesto

The EUWA released a new manifesto to stress the importance of Water at The European level and Beyond. The manifesto supports the necessity to achieve a Water-Smart Society and to switch to new paradigm based on risk management and prevention.

Water Europe is a member of this coalition that continues its cooperation in order to make sure that DGs of the European will be aware of the role of water for their specific portfolio.

Water is everyone’s business endorsed by WE

Water Europe has endorsed the ‘Water is Everyone’s Business statement. Together with 24 organisations & businesses, Water Europe stands with the 375,000 European citizens who have urged the EU governments & the European Commission to preserve the European Union’s ground-breaking Water Framework Directive in its current form. The Water Framework Directive is the key law to ensuring that freshwater ecosystems in Europe are protected and restored and water is sustainably managed, fully supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Water Europe is the management body for the MEP Water Group in the European Parliament. Its objective is to raise the awareness of the value of water for Europe’s society and economy as a cross-cutting topic in the policy debate in the European Parliament. The MEP Water Group wants to play a key role in contributing to the future of the EU water policy by:

  Raising the importance of water for the European Union and beyond

 Making sure that Europe’s water resources are managed in a sustainable and equitable way to the benefit of the European economy and society.

 Encouraging technological and non-technological innovations and research to tackle water-related challenges

 Promoting access to water for all.

  New Policy Advisory Committee

Water Europe set up its new Policy Advisory Committee to support the board in its advocacy work. The objective is to stress the need to realise the value of water and achieve a Water-Smart Society based on our vision and societal responsibility, looking what is technological and evidence-based achievable and economically feasible.

This group is composed of one representative per board member to fully represent the diversity of the Water Europe membership. The first meeting of the PAC took place in May 2020.


Water Innovation Europe 2019

The Water Innovation Europe 2019 edition “Water meets Energy, Energy meets Water” concluded on the 13th of June in Brussels with about 230 participants joining from the water & energy sector.

5 key messages to remember

  1. There are common issues standing out to the delivery of water and energy services from a nexus standpoint: the need to decouple energy/water consumption from economic growth and development, etc.
  2. The actual challenge is not to optimise interlinkages between energy and water services delivery but rather to progress in terms of resilience, sustainability, and adaptability.
  3. By 2050, the demand for energy will nearly double globally, with water demand estimated to increase by over 50%. The challenge of meeting growing demand is further compounded by climate change impacts.
  4. Switching to a lower carbon pathway could, if not properly managed, exacerbate water stress or be limited by it.
  5. Synergies and collaboration for water and energy utilities is a necessary step for the smart city of the future.

Strong presence of Water Europe at the EIP Water Innovation Conference 2019

11-12 December 2019

Water Europe (WE) co‐hosted the session of the main programme on “The private sector taking action for sustainable water management” with WE Board member, David Martin, Ecolab, delivering a keynote speech.

David Martin, WE Board member speaking at EUWIC 2019.

WE organised a side event on Water‐ Oriented Living Labs (WOLLs) a side-event dedicated to the Living Labs for a Water-Smart Society, after the success of its autumn workshop held during the ENoLL Open Living Labs Day. The workshop addressed the challenges that we need to overcome to enable Living Labs to play the role of catalyst in the adoption of innovation.

Jochen Froebrich, VLT ‘Water-Smart Rural Areas’ presenting at the WOLLs workshop

The WE exhibition stand allowed us to exchange with professionals from all over Europe but also to catch up with our long-lasting collaborators.

Water Europe colleagues at the WE stand during the EUWIC exhibition.


“Atlas of the European Water-Oriented Living Labs” 

The first edition of the “Atlas of the European Water-Oriented Living Labs” was launched in June 2019, containing a first-ever mapping and categorisation of European WoLLs (Water-oriented Living Labs). WoLLs are a key tool for the implementation of Water Europe’s Vision “The Value of Water”, to promote the systematic innovations in the water systems that are needed to achieve a Water-Smart Society and economy. Over 200 RDI settings were identified in 24 European countries. In total, 105 water oriented living lab research settings met the Water Europe Living Labs assessment criteria. The majority of Water oriented Living Labs are located in Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and UK.

Water Europe participated to the ENoLL Open Living Lab Day 2019 (OLLD), the annual gathering of the global Living Lab community, held in Thessaloniki from the 3rd to the 5th of September 2019. In this context Water Europe organised the workshop on Water Oriented Living Labs with the participation of the WE Cluster Leadership Teams. The workshop explored synergies, collaborative and financial tools to support LLs to address water-related challenges through the development of innovative solutions both from the policy & governance and technology perspective with a systemic approach.

The International Water Dialogue days aim to raise challenges and analyse what is being done already between European Union and the world, particularly with China, India, Africa, Central Asia and Middle East. These days are an opportunity to create opportunities for funding programme and consortia for securing water for all, network with a broad scope of international water-related stakeholders to raise your challenges and success stories, contribute in an action plan for Europe and beyond.

In spring 2020, the Working Group ‘Water Beyond Europe’ put a lot of effort into the design and preparation of the International Water Dialogue event, in close cooperation with UNESCO. However, activities were severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, notable example being the need to cancel the IWD event originally planned for the end of April 2020. The event will be organized later this year.

Closer cooperation with the World Water Council

On the 6th of February 2020, Water Europe organised a full-day programme for the Board of Governors of the World Water Council (WWC). The programme consisted in a visit to the European Parliament and a workshop on European water policy with Veronica Manfredi, Director for Quality of Life (Air, Water & Industrial Emissions) – European Commission and Tomas Michel, Water Europe President in the Water Europe offices.

On 29 January, a delegation of the WE VLT on Water-Smart Cities visited CALL Copenhagen. Topics discussed included CALL Copenhagen strategy, business model and organisation, and a discussion on how WE and CALL Copenhagen can collaborate to the future to roll out the WE WOLLs concept.

Water Europe Impact

The Communications and Membership pillars of Water Europe are the threads that unite all our activities and ensure that our impact is seen and felt across our members and water community.

7 to our water community
8 to our Water Europe members

We reach out to 18.200 individuals across Europe, on a monthly basis! To inform them. To engage them.

WE interviewed


Dragan Savic, CEO, KWR Water Research Institute.


Veronica Manfredi, Director for Quality of Life (Air, Water & Industrial Emissions) – European Commission


Mirjam Wolfrum, Director, Policy Engagement, CDP Europe


Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Finland


Tomislav Ćorić, Ph.D, Minister of Environment & Energy, Croatia


  Our social media

Counter icon


Counter icon




Social media growth


WE are on YouTube!

 Check our channel 

Involved in 19 EU funded projects

Served more than 50 members

In five years

Water Europe facilitates its members’ involvement into EU research projects, and supports their outreach activities, providing communication, dissemination and networking services to projects that are in line with Water Europe Vision and SIRA and have at least one Water Europe member in their consortium. Since 2014, Water Europe has participated in 19 projects, serving more than 50 members.

Water Europe services for project involvement

19 Projects since 2014

 We are growing

The more we are growing, the more we are becoming a broader, stronger, more inclusive platform that represents the full water value chain and paves the way for the full transition to a Water-Smart Society.

213 members

213 members

27 countries

27 countries all over Europe

represents turnover

Our members represent a turnover of 230 billion


Workforce of almost 1 million people

75% of the horizon 2020

74% of the H2020 water-related projects’ participants

WE Membership

5 Corporate Colleges:

  • College A: Multinational Corporations with water at the heart of their business model
  • College B: Research & Technology Developers
  • College C: Utilities
  • College D: Suppliers & SMEs
  • College E: Large Water Users

2 Associate Colleges: 

  • College F: Public Authorities
  • College G: Civil Society Organisations

Our members per college

  • College A
  • College B
  • College C
  • College D
  • College E
  • College F
  • College G

  Highlights from our reach out activities

Water Europe met 15 representatives from Portuguese water utilities on 30-31 January 2020. During the APDA 32 years commemoration event, an MoU was signed between Water Europe and APDA. WE Visit was part of the efforts of WE to reach out to water utilities to increase membership in membership college C.

On 2 December, Water Europe met up with representatives in Malta from the Environmental Health Directorate, the Energy and Water Agency, the Water Services Corporation, the Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology to discuss Collaboration opportunities between Malta and Water Europe, Unlocking EU funding opportunities in the water sector, and a potential role of WE in the Mediterranean Water Forum.

  Who we are

Our Vision

Water Europe envisions a Water-Smart Society, in which the true value of water is recognised and realised, and all available water sources are managed in such a way that water scarcity and pollution of groundwater are avoided. Water and resource loops are largely closed to foster a circular economy and optimal resource efficiency, while the water system is resilient against the impact of climate change events.

Our Mission

  • Improve coordination and collaboration in the water sector and water using sectors.
  • Enhance the performance and competitiveness of the European water and water using sectors in the EU and beyond.
  • Contribute to solving global challenges through research and innovation.

Our Values define us

Water Europe strives to generate impactful results for its members, and it does so with commitment towards building a Water-Smart Society. Our values and our vision for the future are clear. All our actions are guided by this one main compass, our Water Vision 2030. Our vision means societal responsibility. It means forward-looking innovation. It means evidence based and financially sustainable solutions. This is the way we deliver results, together with our members, covering the whole water value chain. This is how we have made it possible to deliver the right results, the right way.

WE Values - diagram - water-smart society - 1200 - 675

Typography is the art and technique

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point size, line length, line-spacing (leading), letter-spacing (tracking), and adjusting the space within letters pairs (kerning).