The Commission adopted yesterday pioneering proposals to restore damaged ecosystems and bring nature back across Europe, from agricultural land and seas, to forests and urban environments. The Commission also proposes to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030. These are the flagship legislative proposals to follow the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies, and will help ensure the resilience and security of food supply in the EU and across the world.
The proposal for a Nature Restoration Law is a key step in avoiding ecosystem collapse and preventing the worst impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. In the same vein, the new rules on chemical pesticides will reduce the environmental footprint of the EU’s food system, protect the health and well-being of citizens and agricultural workers, and help mitigate the economic losses that we are already incurring due to declining soil health and pesticide-induced pollinator loss.Read More
The European Commission has recently launched the LIFE Programme 2022 Calls for project proposals. This year, there is €598 million available for nature conservation, environmental protection, climate action, and clean energy transition projects. The areas where LIFE funds projects are under its four sub-programmes:
– nature and biodiversity – €242 million
– circular economy and quality of life – €158 million
– climate change mitigation and adaptation – €99 million
– clean energy transition – €98 million
See how to apply here.Read More
The Water Europe – Working Group on “Water and sustainable agri-food systems” is organising the workshop on “Towards the adoption of Regulation 2020/741: Guidance document and approach to risk management”, to be held online, on June 20 from 15:00 to 17:00 pm.
The water resources of the Union are increasingly coming under pressure, leading to water scarcity and a deterioration in water quality. In particular, climate change, unpredictable weather patterns and drought are contributing significantly to the strain on the availability of freshwater, arising from urban development and agriculture.
The Union’s ability to respond to the increasing pressures on water resources could be improved by wider reuse of treated waste water, limiting extraction from surface water bodies and groundwater bodies, reducing the impact of discharge of treated waste water into water bodies, and promoting water savings through multiple uses for urban waste water, while ensuring a high level of environmental protection.
The workshop will inform participants about the Regulation 2020/741 and the white paper on “Possible effects of EU Regulation 2020/741 on minimum requirements for water reuse on the agri-food value chain and strategies for its adoption implementation”. You can find more info and attend the workshop for free here.Read More
The new White Paper on hybrid (grey-green) water infrastructure, is now published under the title ‘Opportunities for Hybrid Grey-Green Infrastructure in Water Management: Challenges & Ways Forward’. The new paper aims at bridging the knowledge gap on green water infrastructure.
The document is the product of a joint effort by the Water Europe’s Vision Leadership Team Grey-Green Infrastructure and the Working Groups on NBS, Ecosystem Services and Water Distribution Infrastructure. The WE White Papers are produced as part of the WE Collaboration Programme by the WE Vision Leadership Teams and the WE Working Groups.
They target a wide variety of potential audiences, including the EU institutions, international organisations, the water industry, water users and water-related strategic stakeholders, the economic sectors, as well as media, analysts, regulatory and governing bodies, citizens and society at large.
For more information, please contact Andrea Rubini.Read More
In the context of the proposal for a Regulation for Microplastics pollution – measures to reduce its impact on the environment, Water Europe responded to the public consultation and has published a policy-oriented paper that you can find here. Water Europe welcomes the initiative as it will contribute to achieving a Water Smart Society in Europe. The water sector plays an important role to treat this pollution but it remains key to tackling microplastic pollution at the source. The main recommendations brought forward in order to achieve a Water-Smart Society are:
- A clear European-wide definition of microplastics to provide a precise framework for fighting microplastics pollution
- Consolidate transparent and science-based data of the whole life cycle of microplastics as we can only tackle pollution with the right technologies and by sharing knowledge and know-how
- A new life cycle approach for plastics that leaves no one behind; that means avoiding microplastics pollution at the source, changing consumption patterns and rethinking the (re-)use of microplastics and their releases, in a context affordable for everyone
A journey through Water Europe’s past, present and future
After 10 years of service as WE president, Tomas Michel will pass the torch to Hans Goossens, the incoming WE president during our Water Innovation Europe 2022 Dinner Ceremony. In this newsletter’s edition, we feature a special dialogue between them.
🔹Can you describe us Water Europe when you first became a president and what drew you to this position, then?
Tomas Michel: Ten years ago, Water Europe, WssTP then, was with only 50-60 members, much smaller, known, and representative than today. Membership consisted largely of college A and B members, and our finances were heavily dependent on large fee contributions by Suez and Veolia. These two companies have been always fierce competitors. I have thus always proudly acknowledged being considered by both a consensus candidate. Possibly my R&D Management abilities at Suez, industrial and market vision, level of engagement and commitment, had also something to do with their decision.
🔹Can you tell which elements of WE you find most interesting now and what drew you to submit your candidacy for becoming a WE president?
Hans Goossens: First of all, the vision of Water Europe is very appealing to me: a Water-Smart Society, where the value of water is truly appreciated. With up to 90% of the global economy and 75% of the jobs depending on water, this vision acts for me as guide to societal, economical and environmental development, to build a better future. Besides a clear vision, Water Europe fosters strong values, as connection, leadership and result-orientation. This nourishes for our members a culture of collaborative, innovative and influential spirit. Based on these values, Water Europe has developed 3 clear programmes in order to facilitate our members in realising our vision by advocacy, collaboration and research results and innovative solutions. The relevance of our vision has grown throughout the years, and so has our organisation and its capacity. I am convinced about the unique strength of our organisation, as we work with all four major actors in the innovation system: science, policy, industry, and society. The DNA of Water Europe has over the years become a true quadruple helix. Having elements of these 4 actors in my own personal background and adhering very strong to the values of Water Europe, I am very attracted by servicing our members to facilitate them in realising our common vision of a Water-Smart Society.
🔸What do you consider as the most important successes of WE over these years?
Tomas Michel: From day one I made it a priority to make WE more representative, for WE to provide true and valuable “service to members”, and to achieve, eventually, financial sustainability. These operational goals have been fully accomplished. But more important, in this process, WE has matured, grown significantly, and positioned itself today as the most significant representative of the full value chain of the water sector in Europe. The two most important successes for me have been: A strong, diverse, and fully representative organization standing on its own feet with a clear roadmap for the future, on the one hand, and the outstanding success WE members, and WE itself have earned promoting, proposing, and executing European water research of excellence, on the other.
🔸How are you planning to build on these elements throughout your presidency?
Hans Goossens: To understand our members’ needs better, we’ve gone in autumn 2021 through a very insightful membership journey exercise in co-operation with Capgemini. The study gave us a much clearer view on all our members’ needs and identified for Water Europe clear levers of performance. To improve WE’s membership experience, we have identified 4 key pillars. The first is a user centric website, where we have been working on and that is going to be continuously improved based on member’s feedback. The second is a membership management platform, that we launched just recently. The 3rd is the further development of professional digital platforms, in order to improve the efficiency and experience of our virtual or hybrid events. And last but not least, a number of quick wins and small optimizers have been identified. Throughout my presidency, I want continuously work on the membership experience. In order to bring this every time at a new level, we need to deliver on our 3 key service areas: our advocacy programme, our collaboration programme and our market programme.
🔹Can you tell us to what extent your vision for WE has been accomplished?
Tomas Michel: My vision for WE has been largely, but not totally, accomplished. Having innovation at its core, a strong organization capable to influence agendas, and the successful funding and execution of research are paramount. Yet, both accomplished, none can really shine if we are not able to translate this huge effort into market uptake and implementation. Reasonably, the platform and R&D have to come first, before all those efforts can provide a return on investment in the form of marketable products and solutions, as well as, best practices. I would have liked to see WE advance and show such results much quicker, in these ten years. This only comes to show how enormously difficult innovation really is. I am confident that we have a clear roadmap and that WE will succeed sooner than later.
🔹Can you tell us what is your vision for WE throughout your presidency?
Hans Goossens: In my view, we can still strengthen the impact of our programmes by further developing the functioning of our Vision Leadership teams. They shall be our main instruments to test successful results of research and shall accelerate the process of bringing successful innovations to the market in Europe and beyond. I want Water Europe to further develop Water Oriented Living Labs and be the reference in Europe and beyond on how to set-up and run demo-type and platform-type environments with a cross-sector nexus approach, with the involvement and commitment of multi-stakeholders. I would like Water Europe to be specifically successful in integrating in these Water Oriented Living Labs new business and governance models, and innovative policies. It implies that we need to always find the good balance between science, industry, society and policy.
🔸How do you envision your new role as Past-President in the WE board?
Tomas Michel: Ten years is a long time, which allows to gain ample experience and also a certain perspective. I hope I can offer some of that, whenever requested, to the WE Board. I have been nevertheless always very proactive, and I do not feel yet like “full retirement”. Thus, beyond offering counsel when needed, I have proposed the new Presidency and the ExCom to engage in parts of the new outreach program WE is defining after the Cap Gemini survey. More outreach and visibility are key to more innovation. I believe this way I will still be able to contribute to some of those mentioned outstanding goals ahead of us.
🔸Which are your priorities for the first period of your presidency?
Hans Goossens: The first priority is setting up the new ExCom team. I will propose to the new board to decide for 5 vice-president roles, in accordance with our articles of association and our programme structure, i.e. First VP, VP Treasury, VP Advocacy, VP Collaboration and VP Implementation. For the composition of the team, I will pay particular attention to the complementarity and the diversity of the members. These are very important to have a strong and inspirational team; creativity is often generated by confrontation of different ideas. And I am not only talking about gender diversity, but as well about college representation, cultural background, geographical region etc.
🔹In 2 lines, what do Water Europe and the ‘Water-Smart Society’ vision mean for you?
Tomas Michel: The Water-Smart Society, invites us and our diverse industrial, technological, business, leisure, cultural, and social activities to fully recognize and live up to, the meaning of the “True Value of Water”.
Hans Goossens: It means joining forces with all stakeholders to ensure a better future for the generations to come. Water is life, sanitation is dignity – don’t we like to grant this to all people?Read More
You recently joined WE board as a board member in 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?
The water sector has to reinvent itself for European society to face climate change, population migrations etc. Policy makers still have a habit to look at water as an adjustment factor once all other policies are decided upon, but Europe sees the pressure building up on national and local governments to ensure the society and environment will have sufficient water of sufficient quality, and this is far from being granted. I want to work with the board to find ways to fast-track water innovation in the EU agenda.
Representing the corporations’ side, which ones do you consider the key challenges and the most burning needs of your college and how will you contribute to addressing these in the context of Water Europe?
Changes within corporations, including building new plants etc. can be a matter of a few years. When it comes to public decisions and their deployment, the usual span is ten years, or more. The key challenge is to develop hybrid processes that fully respect the public debate and decision making and taps into the corporate agility to make it happen.
How important is it for multinational corporations to be involved in European affairs and have a platform for networking with other progressive and innovative water actors?
Veolia was created in France more than a century ago but most of its activity is now outside, including in countries where global change hits hard, with water scarcity or massive pollution. And the colleagues in the Board equally witness what happens elsewhere on the globe, so we have a collective knowledge which gives us the suitable credibility to be involved in European affairs with a view to copy and adapt the most promising solutions.
A water-smart society is a society where the true value of water is recognised and realised. Based on your experience, which are the obstacles we need to overcome and which actions shall we prioritise to make this happen?
The linear economy where we produce, consume and dump, has more than reached the limits of what ecosystems and resources can endure. The obstacle to overcome is for water professionals to become change-managers, and to request from national authorities to evolve frameworks to change swiftly, admitting that the balance struck years ago, for example to share water, may prove insufficient to manage scarcity. The bright side is that the technologies, with a great deal of digitalization, IA etc, enables efficiency gains, with a transparency level which yields confidence.
Searching for novel innovations and solutions for a Water Circular Economy? You can now find them at Water Europe’s new online platform – the WE Marketplace. Launched during the Water Market Europe 2022 event held in March, the new platform connects both solution providers and problem owners. The platform allows them to get in touch with one another and interact. Leading to find a common ground for understanding if the offered solution can match with the problem that is highlighted. It’s a place where business is promoted.
The platform developed by the NextGen project, provides additional technologies and contributions from the projects Ultimate, B-Water Smart, and WATER-MINING. The marketplace is a podium for the whole circular economy.
Explore the WE Marketplace here.Read More
Water Europe Working Groups are preparing their main annual meetings back to back to Water Innovation Europe 2022 where they will discuss on the achievements and future programme.
New thematic cooperation and alliances are emerging in the WE WGs clusters, such as the collaboration between the WG Zero pollution, the WG Water and Health and WG Water and Biodiversity that have already met and plan to meet in future to create a critical mass of expertise on crucial challenges requiring different contribution and crosscutting knowledge.Read More
Water Innovation Europe turns 10 years old! This is a long time in the world of water conferences! We are proud of bringing innovation in the water sector for nine consecutive years and we are ready to prove it once again for this 10th edition, coming up on 14-15 June. Here is a short trailer to give you a glimpse of WIE’s 10 extraordinary years.
This is a milestone for us. From 2012 to 2022:
🔹We welcomed more than 2.500 water professionals in our conferences, starting with 200 participants at WIE2012 and reaching to more than 500 online participants at WIE2021.
🔹We had Commissioners, EU officials and leading experts as keynote speakers of our conference.
🔹We gave 30 Water Europe Innovation Awards.
🔹We opened the floor for several innovative technologies to be exhibited and partnered with various media organisations.
For all these, we couldn’t be anything but grateful to you for honouring us with your presence for all these years, relentlessly and tirelessly- Water Innovation Europe has always been the meeting point of our Water Community and will always remain as such! We cannot wait to see you in person and celebrate together the 10th edition of WIE.
This year’s theme will ”What is the role of water in the net-zero carbon society?”. Who would want to miss the 10th edition? Reserve your spot today and join us on June 14-15 in Brussels.
Find out more info in the official announcement.Read More