The city of Leuven in Belgium is the European Capital of Innovation 2020. The award recognises Leuven’s excellent innovation concepts as well as processes and governance models creating a framework that brings ideas to life. The municipality will receive a €1,000,000 prize funded under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme. The five runner-up cities, Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Espoo (Finland), Helsingborg (Sweden), Valencia (Spain) and Vienna (Austria), will receive €100,000 each.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:
‘Leuven is a mission-driven city that excels in innovative governance models. It offers its people an opportunity to get involved in critical decision-making processes. But it’s an honour to recognise the initiatives of all six winners. Their vibrant innovation ecosystems are an inspiration to all European cities.’
What is the European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) Award?
This is an annual cash prize awarded to the European city that is best able to demonstrate its ability to harness innovation to improve the lives of its citizens. In particular cities that contribute to open and dynamic innovation ecosystems; involve citizens in governance and decision-making and use innovation to improve the resiliency and sustainability of their cities.
Read more about the European Capital of Innovation Award 2020
Water Europe invites you to join the 2020 Water Knowledge Europe from 12 to 16 October 2020 dedicated to the EU Green Deal Call of Horizon 2020.
This is an online event where the European Commission will present insights and expectations whilst you will enjoy a unique international networking experience to forge the winning partnerships of the future.
Water Europe has made an extensive analysis of the funding opportunities for water-related activities under the H2020 EU Green Deal call. Water-related project proposals can be developed in 7 out of the 10 areas and 3 areas have potential to develop proposals for Water-Oriented Living Labs. Read here our full analysis to find out more.
The programme will include presentations from the European Commission and will provide a unique opportunity to pitch ideas and expertise in front of leading research organisations and cutting-edge innovators from across the industry. On the 13th of October, Water Europe will also launch the first edition of Water Projects Europe, the new Water Europe series of events made to foster collaboration between R&I projects working on specific topics. This edition will be dedicated to Industrial Water Reuse.
Why should you join?
– Be the first to receive exclusive information about the Horizon 2020 Green Deal Call
– Pitch your project ideas and expertise
– Meet your future project partner at the B2B matchmaking session
To register your interest in attending this event and learn more, please click here.
join for free.Read More
Pernille Weiss has been appointed as the new chairwoman of the MEP Water Group. MEP Pernille Weiss, is a politician from the Conservative People’s Party of Denmark and a member of the European People’s Party, EPP.
Ms. Weiss holds a seat in the Industry, Research & Energy Committee (ITRE) and is a substitute in The Committee on the Environment (ENVI), Public Health and Food Safety. Ms. Weiss also holds a substitute seat in The Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM).
Prior to being an MEP, Ms. Weiss served eight years as a County Council member. Ms. Weiss holds several degrees; she is a nurse (RN), Master of science (health) and additionally holds a Master degree in Innovation and Leadership (LAICS). She is an acknowledged Nordic expert in architecture and health as well as the impact of the build environment on complex institutions. In addition, Ms. Weiss has been a board member of SME Europe since 2019. Ms. Weiss has been a head manager in the public health care sector and the building consultancy industry before establishing her own consultancy firm in 2008.
Find out more about the MEP Water Group activities.Read More
The survey is an opportunity to have your say on the most pressing challenges for the Industry and Services sectors (e.g. digitalisation, electrification, industrial symbiosis and others) and how to address them specifically within the first multiannual work programme of LIFE (2021-2024). So far, over 130 stakeholders across the EU have expressed their views and recommendations.
The survey will be closing on Friday, 4th September 2020. You can access it here.Read More
Water Europe summarised this year’s entire innovative water week in less than 10 minutes of video. Whether you have joined Water Innovation Europe 2020 or missed the opportunity to attend the digital edition of the event, you can now watch an overview of the conversations, debates and insights given by water experts during the conference.Read More
Joint Interview with Claudio Jesus & Ηans Goossens – Water Europe Board Members for College C ‘ Utilities’
You were recently re-elected as Water Europe board members of college C ‘Utilities’- Could you tell us what drives you personally to have this role at Water Europe? What do you want to achieve?
Hans Goossens: The water utility sector is seeing challenges it has not faced before. Climate change with more and longer heatwaves intermitted by heavy rain bombs puts pressure on water availability, as well as flood management. The water management system needs to be redesigned in a climate- resilient manner. Innovation is the key word and needs joint efforts from public water utilities together with private companies, both large corporations and small start-ups, academics and public authorities. Personally, I am very convinced about the importance of bringing together the diversity of stakeholders with innovative breakthroughs in order to give an answer to the current and future challenges in the water world. Water Europe is in that sense unique, and much more than a confederation of utility companies, different from a lobbying network for international conglomerates and more inclusive than a research network.
Claudio de Jesus: I’m very keen to contribute to Water Europe with a slightly different view than the traditional one at the College of Utilities. Acting in the water sector markets in developing countries has deepened my understanding that the traditional approaches have to be adjusted to those realities, where aspects related to innovation are fundamental to fill the lack of resources available to technicians in the water sector. Creativity is the keyword if we want to support the achievement of universalization of water services as advocated by the Sustainable Development Goals.
Representing the utilities at Water Europe, which ones do you consider the key challenges and the most burning needs of this college and how do you contribute to addressing these in the context of Water Europe?
Hans Goossens: The utility sector is a capital-intensive sector with a long-established business model. Implementing innovative solutions puts pressure on the fundamentals of the business models of public utilities. The college shall address the need for new business models for public water utilities and promote all types of collaboration, initiatives and projects that support water utilities to find their new role in a new climate-resilient water supply and sanitation model.
Claudio de Jesus: We must always think of a holistic approach, moving away from traditional models. In fact, as we all know, utilities play a fundamental role in the context of Water Europe as these are the entities that most directly interact with citizens. Therefore the challenges of efficiency (water, energy and resources) are key aspects of a more efficient water public policy. Training and qualification of technicians in the water sector is also decisive for the achievement of the intended objectives.
Utilities are traditionally regarded as the problem owners & the ones in need of innovative solutions. How can utilities become more ambitious in adopting existing innovations & seizing the new opportunities presented?
Claudio de Jesus: It is essential to be more efficient and for that to happen it is essential to innovate permanently. Recently a leader of a multilateral financial organization emphasized that the pandemic has underscored the importance of having adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services worldwide. For this to come real it’s mandatory the commitment of all stakeholders and utilities will naturally play an important role only possible to fulfill with the best technologies and innovation solutions.
Hans Goossens: Utilities need to be challenged by the public on their readiness to guarantee water supply and sanitation under future climate scenario’s. They need to understand the urgency for adaption, and at the same time gain self-confidence on their capability to embrace change and see the opportunities that innovation can generate.
Based on our vision, Water Europe aims to build a Water Smart Society. From your point of view, which actions shall we put forward to make this happen and how could utilities contribute to that?
Claudio de Jesus: Water is without a doubt the most important resource on our planet. As such, water diplomacy is central to conflict prevention. Today, issues of water scarcity as well as its lack of quality are present in virtually every country in the world. The Water-Smart Society is all of this: it is vision, strategy and appropriate diplomacy applied to the correct management of water resources. And the role of Water Europe is, more than ever, fundamental in the pursuit of these goals.
Hans Goossens: Digital offers a whole range of new opportunities for more efficient water management and true customer centricity. The investments needed are substantial and the utility sector has the capability to make such type of investments. The data generated by the broad range of IoT devices offers massive opportunities for unrivalled new services. We need to capture the good examples, share them and stimulate the debate. The utility sector has a meaningful size and a tradition of sharing experience. It can be the lever itself to build the Water-Smart society.Read More
Christopher Gasson, Publisher, Global Water Intelligence
Capital expenditure on water and wastewater utility infrastructure is likely to be relatively resilient in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak according to the latest global water market update by GWI WaterData. Although we have reduced the expected total spend in 2020 by 6.8% to $246 billion compared to our forecast in January 2020, the figure is only marginally lower than the $249 billion figure achieved in 2019. Currently we are expecting 2021 utility capex to be $258 billion.
In part this reflects the fact that capital projects in water have a long lead time and budgets are often fixed well in advance and not discretionary. It also reflects the fact that utilities have by-and-large risen to the challenge of working through the crisis. Some argue that this strength may become a weakness because the water sector will not be able to claim that it needs stimulus spending as urgently as those sectors of the economy which have been most brutally affected by the virus.
From a water perspective, the greatest area of concern is in sub-Saharan Africa. Governments in this region have typically responded to the virus with extreme lock-downs and promises of free or reduced price water. Few have compensated utilities for this loss of income and there is a real danger than as many as a dozen utilities in the region could cease piped water supply during 2020 (and instead revert to tanker-based supply to cash paying customers).
The chart below summarises GWI WaterData’s expectation of year on year capital expenditure growth in water during 2020 and 2021 in a major water markets:
% year on year change in capex by country
This forecast is based in part on surveys GWI has undertaken during the crisis. We also took the opportunity to ask utility leaders where they saw the upside in the crisis. The top response was “Increased investment in automation”, followed by “greater recognition of the value of utility services”.
We are definitely optimistic about the growth of automation and other digital services: we think that the sector will defy any Covid-related downturn, with total spend growing from $32.6bn in 2019 to $33.9bn in 2020 and $36.8bn in 2021. As for recognition – it is difficult to judge, but in the long term much more important for the growth and well-being of our industry.Read More
In the context of the ENOLL Digital Living Labs Days, Water Europe is hosting a dedicated session on the Water-Oriented Living Labs(WoLLs) and the WoLLs Network that aim at supporting and enhancing the development of WOLLs in EU and beyond. The session will address the role of WE WoLLs in enabling the twin effort for a European Green Deal and the Europe Fit for the Digital Age and will also try to identify a model which can be applied to similar initiatives for scale-up ambition and replication.
In co-creation with the audience, we will develop the main challenges and drivers of the sustainability of (Wo)LLs, on how (Wo)LLs can contribute to the achievements of the EU Green Deal for a resilient society, and the planned actions to foster the development of (Wo)LLs and meet the EU Green Deal prospects.
The session will be moderated by Andrea Rubini, Water Europe Director of Operations with the participation of Jens Prisum from Call Copenhagen and Prof Chrysi Laspidou from the University of Thessaly, respectively Leader and Co-Leader of Water Europe Smart Cities Vision Leadership Team.
The event will be online and access to the session is possible via this link with the payment of a nominal fee through this code SUCTDLLD2020.
For more information please contact Andrea Rubini.Read More
Water has been a key topic with several discussions during 2019-2020. The revision of the Water Reuse Regulation is not completed, opening up new opportunities through the definition of the minimum requirement for reclaimed water to be used in agriculture and hence reduce the pressure on water bodies and groundwaters.
In June, the Commission also announced that the WFD will not be revised, focusing on the necessity to meet the targets. W.E. is glad that the voice of the innovative water sector was the heart and our fruitful campaign was impactful, particularly through the coalition “Water Is everyone’s business” in which several WE members participated actively to preserve high standards.
In July, the European Council reached an agreement on the 2021-2027 budget and the Next Generation EU tool. The German presidency welcomed this consensus between the 27. Von der Leyen also welcomes the agreement despite her regrets that the European Council had made far-reaching adjustments that decrease the innovative part of the budget.
The European Parliament is more critical on some of the main aspects of the agreement, especially on the long-term perspective, where key programmes have been considerably cut, affecting seriously investment, and reducing resilience. This agreement contains a drastic reduction on pillars 2 and 3 from NEXT EU generation, with the suppression of the additional financial support for the EFSI, New EU4health and the external action and reductions affecting RescEU and HorizonEurope.
In the following months, water management will be a core topic with two dossiers: Industrial Emission Directive (IED) and Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD). On this context, WE is ready to voice the importance of fostering innovative solutions to achieve a Water-Smart Society in Europe.Read More
Dear Water Europe Family,
After some days of rest, we are ready for a new season. Unfortunately, so will be COVID-19, keeping up the challenge of delivering maximal value to our members, despite the difficulties.
Despite COVID-19, WIE2020 took place in June with the largest participation ever. This (first) digital edition well exceeded our own and participant´s expectations. Over 500 participants joined us for 5 days online during an innovative water week with 5 plenary sessions, 6 Water Europe Innovation Awards sessions, 2 side events and 16 Working Group meetings. More than 200 B2B meetings took place and participants visited 15 virtual booths at the digital exhibition area. Digital has come to stay, and we are very proud to have been able to offer our community this digital experience, overcoming the COVID-19 challenge, turning adversity into opportunity. If you missed WIE2020 or you wish to remind yourselves of the key highlights and messages of the conference, check out our new YouTube video.
Following the 2020 Annual General Meeting, WE has a new Board composition for the period 2020-2021. In line with the new governance adopted five Vice-Presidents will be elected by the Board in September to lead different portfolios according to the main priorities of Water Europe. At WIE the Water Europe Annual Report, presenting our association´s progress, was released. This year, we have gone one step further and have launched our report in an innovative and interactive web format. Check it out and browse online all our activities and developments!
The past season ended with the launch of the Water Vision Implementation Strategy 2020-2027 entitled ‘Water Europe contributions to the European Green Deal and Horizon Europe’. This new publication stresses 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.
To support this strategy, our Working Groups and Vision Leadership Teams are working and collaborating to produce white papers that will be used to support WE’s advocacy activities towards a Water-Smart Society with science-based arguments. With new incorporations and a reorganization of our staff, this essential activity will be further strengthened and better supported by WE.
Water Oriented Living Labs are an essential priority of the WE strategy to drive water innovation and market uptake. Thus, from the 2nd to the 4th of September, Water Europe will participate to the ENOLL Digital Living Labs Days.
To increase the visibility of running or recently closed projects, and to strengthen their collaboration with the EC and other stakeholders we have created a new event ‘Water Projects Europe’ and scheduled its 1st edition from the 5th to the 9th of October. This edition will be dedicated to the topic ‘Industrial Water Reuse’.
Water Knowledge Europe on Horizon Europe 2021 will take place from the 14th to the 18th of December 2020. The ultimate format for this event, largely based on our big family coming together and exchanging ideas and opportunities, still depends on the COVID-19 status we shall encounter at the time. Yet, I am sure it will be, as usual, a success.
Don’t miss out on our guest editorial article below by Christopher Gasson, keynote speaker of WIE2020.
Stay safe!Read More