The European Commission presented the Environmental Implementation Review. This reporting is a tool that helps all Member States in implementing essential environmental rules that protect human health, preserve nature, and keep the air, water and soil clean.
With droughts, floods and forest fires intensifying in Europe, applying all necessary laws is the only way forward, particularly:
– there must be faster progress to achieve good status of water bodies;
– we need more actions to improve recyclability;
– better monitoring and application of rules for clean air;
– intensifying our climate adaptation efforts.
The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission published last week the updated Best Available Techniques (BAT) reference document for the textiles industry. The new version includes several reference to water-related challenges. Particularly, the outcomes of the ZEROBRINE Project are considered in this new version.
The Horizon 2020 project ZERO BRINE demonstrate the applicability of this technology for wastewater treatment in a wide range of industrial processes with significant potential for replication. Four industries in diverse geographies implement the ZERO BRINE technology: demineralised water production, coal mining, silica production and textile manufacturing. With its impact assessment, ZERO BRINE partners embrace a holistic approach by considering the dilemma between energy consumption and resource recovery. The objective is to maximise the benefits of the technology, balancing the economic cost of resource recovery with the energy consumed to achieve sustainable production.
The BREF for the Textiles Industry covers the pre-treatment operations such as washing, bleaching, mercerisation or dyeing of textile fibres. This BREF also concerns independently operated treatment of wastewater, provided that the main pollutant load originates from the activities covered in this BREF. This revision contributes to pave the way towards an effective Water-Smart industrial emissions directive which fully considers the value of water, including the sustainable management of resources and the water-energy nexus.
Water Europe collected reactions from Dominique Gatel, member of the expert group on the IED on behalf of Water Europe and Vice-president Implementation programme, and Dimitris Xevgenos, WE representative in the technical expert group for the textile industry and former coordinator of the ZEROBRINE EU funded project.
What are the advances promised by this document towards a Water-Smart Society?
Dominique Gatel stated ‘This BREF on the textile industry made great steps towards a better consideration of water-related issues in this industry. these BATs will encourage the use of water management plans and water audits, to optimize the production, or for instance the segregation of polluted and unpolluted water streams. All of these techniques will contribute to improve water consumption and wastewater generation in the textile industry. As for reducing industrial emissions to water, the BATs are now to use process-integrated techniques, processes liquors’ recovery and reuse ones, as well as to pre-treat wastewater streams and pastes. These several improvements, allowed by technological and non-technological innovative solutions, shall lead towards water efficiency in industry.’
This document is in line with the objective of Water Europe to have the right drivers in the EU legislation to achieve a Water-Smart Society. It particularly echoes with our position on the revision of this directive to leverage water-related standards in each BREF.
Why is it an improvement for the implementation of EU-funded projects in the solutions market?
‘Within the Water Europe’s Implementation programme, our objective is to address challenges and needs for innovation by matchmaking the demand and the offer for efficient solutions. The transition to a climate neutral and circular society calls not only for technological innovation, but also a holistic, systemic, socio-economic approach and concrete market outreach of innovations. In this context, we supported the inclusion of the ZERO BRINE outcomes in the relevant technical expert group by appointing Dimitris Xevgenos as the coordinator of the project as WE representative. We also incorporated the outcomes of the project in WE position on the textile strategy. We tried to connect the outcomes of the projects with the different legislative dossiers, typically the industrial emissions directive by working collectively with the consortium on policy briefs such as the circular economy action plan ‘See ZEROBRINE policy brief’ . It is about reconnecting challenges owners and solutions providers, in order to improve water efficiency in the whole society, including industries.’ said Dominique Gatel.
What is the importance of the EU-funded projects such as Zero Brine project in the elaboration of the BREFS in particularly for the Textile industry one?
Dimitris Xevgenos said ‘One of the aims of the BREF is to protect the environment through an integrated pollution prevention approach in industries. The management or recovery of brine generated during water recovery by membrane processes in the textile industry is a hot topic for the sector. In the Zero Brine project, processes water and salt solution recovery case was carried out from the brine stream in a textile plant. The recovered salt solution is reused in the dyeing process while the recovered water can be used directly in the processes. This practice has been included as BAT in the revised BREF document. This case study is a good example of the valorization of brine in enterprises planning to recover wastewater by membrane processes.
Which type of challenges and benefits did you face during the revision of this industrial BREF on the textile industry?
Dimitris Xevgenos replied ‘In the BREF (Final Draft version), low, medium, and high-quality water quality criteria are defined for water reuse. However, information on water quality criteria required for processes such as dyeing, bleaching, and rinsing is limited. For example, in the Zero Brine project, the criteria for reuse in the dyeing of the salt solution recovered from the brine are not defined. In addition, it was useful to give specific water and energy consumption on the basis of processes. However, information on specific chemical consumption is limited.’Read More
The European Commission presented the first New European Bauhaus (NEB) Progress Report taking stock of the achievements in the initiative’s first two years as well as the first assessment tool for NEB project: the NEB Compass. The New European Bauhaus has created a broad community of organisations and citizens all around Europe working around a common vision combining sustainability, inclusion, and aesthetics.
The NEB Compass is a guiding framework composed by three core values, for decision and project makers wishing to apply the NEB principles and criteria to their activities. Within the Sustainable value, ambitions are focused on the project’s capacity to decrease the use of water, as well as to close the loop in order to reduce water waste, in a Zero Pollution ambition.Read More
Some 3000 chemical and 300 textile industry plants in the EU will have to comply with new legal norms adopted under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive to reduce their environmental impact.
The new European Commission Decisions refer to the management and treatment of waste gas in the chemical sector and a series of activities in the textile industry. They stem from a coordinated effort by stakeholders, including industry, to agree on Best Available Techniques (BATs). This is another step towards the Zero Pollution ambition.
In particular, the new norm for the textile sector has an emphasis on emissions to air and water targeting over 20 pollutants. The new norm focuses also on environmental issues relevant to circular economy – including water efficiency. To learn more, click here.Read More
On January 11, the World Economic Forum has released the Global Risk Report 2023 to explore some of the most severe risks we may face over the next decade.
The report describes four potential futures centred around food, water and metals and mineral shortages, all of which could spark a humanitarian as well as an ecological crisis, from water wars and famines to continued overexploitation of ecological resources and a slowdown in climate mitigation and adaption.
There is also a closer look at water scarcity and the lack of overall cooperation on these international issues. The report is underpinned by our annual Global Risks Perception Survey, which brings together leading insights from over 1,200 experts across the World Economic Forum’s diverse network.
Check out the full report here.Read More
Join us on 17 February 2023 at 16.00 CET for the Water Europe webinar on Biologically-inspired design for a Water-Smart society. It will introduce bio-inspired innovation as an opportunity to increase efficiency and effectiveness of water systems in line with Water Europe’s vision Vision of for a water-smart society Water-Smart Society and the White Paper “Opportunities for Hybrid Grey and Green Infrastructure in water management: Challenges and ways forward“.
The White paper is the product of a joint quest by the Water Europe’s Vision Leadership Team Grey-Green Infrastructure, and the Working Groups on Nature-based Solutions, Ecosystem Services and Water Distribution Infrastructure. Lead speaker will be dr Alessandro Bianciardi, biomimicry practitioner and co-founder of Planet-Nature Inspired Technology.
Nature has always provided a constant source of inspiration. The more we deepen our knowledge of nature, its components and their relationships, the more we discover that the problems nature solved in 4 billion years of evolution are similar to the ones confronting our society. Nature had to learn how to gather and efficiently store energy and water; how to manufacture at ambient conditions, how to build structures using locally abundant materials; and how to build cooperative societies and make them adaptable and resilient to crisis. Ultimately, nature designed and built thriving and sustainable circular economies, known as ecosystems.
Nature Inspired innovation encompasses two categories: Nature-Based Solution, which is the use of nature to provide ecosystem services for global societal challenges, and Biologically-Inspired Design that is the abstraction and translation of biological principles into human-made technology. A sort of reverse engineering of living systems that lies at the heart of hybrid green-grey infrastructure, integrating blue-green, grey, and smart water technologies for a reliable, efficient, and effective performance.
This webinar aims at introducing Biologically-Inspired Design, to explore how it could support innovation in water resources management, for instance in the WE Water-Oriented Living Labs, and how the water sector could benefit from it.
You you can attend the webinar by registering at this link.Read More
On the 12th of January 2023, Water Europe was present at the event ‘Water efficiency in industry: the untapped potential in a green transition, held at the European Parliament and hosted by Pernille Weiss, GRUNDFOS, State of Green Denmark and the Danish water Industries Conferederation.
With a line up of high-level EU speakers, the event debated how industries can overcome the challenges of water in a sustainable and efficient way. Both public and private decision-makers are working to accelerate water-efficient solutions in the industry as a vital answer to water scarcity.
The key messages to take home are:
✅Europe must lead us to invest in ambitious action plans to achieve a Water-Smart Society, through resource efficiency, nexus approaches and partnerships;
✅European stakeholders need to partner and commit together, including Members States, to ensure sustainable water management and availability;
✅Industries should no longer look at the short-term water investment but at the total costs, including the one of doing nothing;
✅We need to ensure that Europe stays a front-runner for water-smart and efficient industry, and lead by example.
The World Meteorological Organization has published its first State of Global Water Resources report in order to assess the effects of climate, environmental and societal change on the Earth’s water resources.
The aim of this annual stocktake is to support the monitoring and management of global freshwater resources in an era of growing demand and limited supplies.
You can read the full report here.Read More
On the 8th December 2022, the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA) have published the first Zero Pollution Monitoring and Outlook Report.
The monitoring, prepared by the EEA, presents the progress and situation of achieving the zero pollution targets, the latest evidence on the effects of pollution on health, biodiversity and its links to circular economy. The outlook, prepared by the Joint Research Centre, assesses, where possible, the likely evolution of pollution by 2030 in relation to the ZP targets taking into account agreed or proposed actions. It gives as strong evidence base for action on zero pollution.
You will find all the information on the evidence published today on the official website.Read More
Interview with Jorge Malfeito, Director of Innovation Water Business Acciona & WE Board Member of college A ‘Multinational Corporations’
You are a Water Europe board member of college A ‘Multinational Corporations’- Could you tell us what drives you personally to have this role at Water Europe? What do you want to achieve?
As a Director of Innovation of the water business of Acciona, Water Europe is the perfect framework aiming to promote the research, development and innovation of the European water sector. The platform also advocates for policies that support the sustainable management of water resources and the protection of water quality. By fostering collaboration and supporting research and innovation, Water Europe aims to contribute to the advancement of the water sector and the development of solutions to challenges facing the sector.
Why do you consider it important for ACCIONA to be part of Water Europe?
ACCIONA’s expertise and experience in the water sector could potentially contribute to the exchange of information and knowledge within Water Europe and help advance the development of the European water sector. In addition, being a member of Water Europe gives us opportunities for collaboration and networking within the water sector and participation in policy development in the water and the environment in Europe.
Which ones do you consider the biggest challenges of the European water sector, at the moment, and how do you see us overcoming them?
There are a number of challenges facing the European water sector at the moment. Some of the key challenges include climate change, water scarcity, water pollution and aging infrastructure. To overcome these hurdles, it will be necessary for the European water sector to adopt a holistic approach that addresses multiple issues simultaneously. This may involve implementing innovative technologies and practices to improve water efficiency and management, promoting the use of alternative water sources, such as reuse and desalination, and strengthening regulatory frameworks to protect water quality and manage water resources. It will also be important to engage stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and communities, in finding solutions to these challenges.
Building a water-smart society is our vision. Which actions shall we prioritise to make this happen?
To build a water-smart society, there are several actions that can be prioritized. First improving water efficiency, implementing technologies and practices and the adoption of water-saving measures. Second, promoting water conservation and encouraging individuals and organizations to use water resources wisely and efficiently can help to reduce demand and preserve water resources. It is also crucial to protect water quality, ensuring that water resources are free from pollution and contaminants, and also to managing water resources sustainably. Finally, any of the others wouldn’t be possible without the engagement of stakeholders. Building a water-smart society requires the participation and engagement of governments, businesses, communities and individuals. By engaging these stakeholders, it will be possible to build a more sustainable and resilient water-smart society.Read More