This week, the revised Surface Water Watch List was adopted by the European Commission. The latest version of the watch list contains three substances already present since 2018 (the insecticide metaflumizone and the antibiotics amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin) and has several substances added in 2020, including:
- The sulfonamide antibiotic sulfamethoxazole and the diaminopyrimidine antibiotic trimethoprim;
- The antidepressant venlafaxine and its metabolite O-desmethylvenlafaxine;
- A group of three azole pharmaceuticals (clotrimazole, fluconazole and miconazole); and
- Seven azole pesticides (imazalil, ipconazole, metconazole, penconazole, prochloraz, tebuconazole, tetraconazole), and the fungicides famoxadone and dimoxystrobin.
Based on the mechanism introduced by the Directive 2013/39/EU, the watch list aims to better assess risks from chemicals found in surface water. Member states have to monitor these substances at least once per year for up to four years.
The Commission’s proposal for the 2020 update was based on work undertaken by the Joint Research Centre.Read More
Agricultural activity not only affects the quantity and availability of freshwater resources, but it also affects water quality, for instance through fertiliser and pesticide pollution. The audit will be useful as the EU moves forward with its reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP).
The CAP plays an important role in water sustainability. It offers some tools that can help reduce the pressures on water resources, but it may also, for example, finance irrigation infrastructure. This audit of the impact of the EU’s agricultural policy on the sustainable use of water is being launched with a view to contributing to the future CAP.
The auditors will assess whether EU policies promote sustainable water use in agriculture. In particular, they will examine whether:
- the European Commission has included the principles of sustainable water use in the CAP rules;
- the EU Member States apply those principles and provide incentives for sustainable water use in agriculture.
Water Europe has recently held a session during the Water Innovation Europe 2020 conference that addressed ‘A Water-Smart Society to Provide Healthy Food for EU Citizens’. Click here to discover the key points from the session.
Watch below our dedicated video that introduced the session.Read More
According to the UN Environment, the tool Freshwater Ecosystems Explorer developed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with Google and the European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC), facilitate national reporting on freshwater ecosystems and allow governments to continue to meet their national environmental reporting obligations and stay on track to preserve and restore a healthy environment.
Freshwater Ecosystems Explorer is a free and easy-to-use data platform providing up-to-date, high-resolution geospatial data showing the extent to which freshwater ecosystems change over time. The site contains unique, first-of-a-kind water datasets through which users can visualize dynamic changes to permanent and seasonal surface water; reservoirs; lake water quality; wetlands and mangroves.
Because decisions on freshwater are made by varying levels of government (national and sub-national government authorities), data on the freshwater ecosystems explorer can also be visualized at different scales, from the national scale right down to small individual watersheds and lakes.
UNEP is the UN entity mandated to support countries with monitoring and reporting SDG indicator 6.6.1, which tracks changes to water-related ecosystems over time. In 2017, following UNEP’s request to all member states to provide national SDG indicator 6.6.1 data for the first time, this global data drive process revealed that less than 20% of member states were able to report on the changing extent of their freshwater ecosystems. The freshwater ecosystem explorer was conceived in response to this gap.
The EC-JRC’s earth observation and environmental monitoring scientists had an integral role in designing and developing the indicators and interface of UNEP’s new freshwater ecosystem explorer. They provided a synopsis of water-related ecosystems using the Global Surface Water Explorer, a JRC-Google Earth Engine tool that maps and analyses the dynamics of global surface waters over time, and the Global Reservoir dataset, which provides maximum reservoir area for major reservoirs at a global scale. The new tool also uses the Copernicus Global Land Service’s Lake Water Quality product, which was fine-tuned to meet the SDG requirements.
Click here for more information.Read More
SUEZ has signed an agreement to purchase the Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane portfolio from specialty chemical company LANXESS. The membrane will become part of the company’s Water Technologies & Solutions portfolio and further enhances the business’ ability to help customers address water treatment challenges.
The acquisition falls in line with SUEZ’s strategy to grow and invest in the industrial water market. The deal will allow the company to deploy complementary RO technology in adjacent and growing sectors, and to increase global production of membranes.
The agreement to purchase the Lanxess’s RO product line includes the membranes, raw materials, and production facility located in Bitterfeld, Germany, along with the expected transition of its channel distributors and production employees directly connected to the membrane line. With this acquisition, SUEZ will:
- Scale up its RO product solutions to meet broader and emerging water treatment needs,
- Expand its international RO membrane production capabilities and expertise to help meet growing global demand, and
- Grow its customer base with new channel partner distributor relationships.
The deal is expected to be completed in the coming months, following consultation with the relevant workers’ council.
Click here for more information.Read More
During the EU-India Summit held digitally this month, Europe and India established a Joint Declaration to intensify EU-India cooperation in the areas of resource efficiency and circular economy.
The declaration sets an India-EU Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Partnership bringing together representatives of relevant stakeholders from both sides, including governments, businesses (including start-ups), academia and research institutes.
The Partnership should support and strengthen dialogue and cooperation on resource efficiency and circular economy, facilitate the design, planning, implementation, promotion and dissemination of policies, strategies, technologies, business solutions and financing mechanisms on these issues, as well as enhance cooperation on research and innovation.Read More
The European Parliament announced the set up of three special committees, a committee of inquiry for 12 months and a permanent subcommittee. They include:
A special committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age
A subcommittee on Tax matters
A special committee on beating cancer
A special committee on Foreign interference in all Democratic processes in the EU, including disinformation
A committee of inquiry on the protection of animals during transport.
Water Europe welcomes particularly the special committee on Artificial intelligence. Water infrastructures are vital for European society and economy despite the absence of this recognition by the EU in the directive 2008/114/EC.
As stressed in the Water Europe Vision, Digital Water, including artificial intelligence, can contribute to survey the infrastructure and achieve full transparency on water quality and quantity. Paired with adequate adaptation and training to new skills, it can also support stringent compliance monitoring, faster penalisation and optimise infrastructure use to maximize resilience, easing off the necessity for renovation investments and reducing the pressure on water resources, as addressed in the EU Water Alliance manifesto.Read More
The HYDROUSA Project Webinar that took place on the 9 July received more than 100 attendees from all over Europe. The virtual seminar was organized by the CWP, ICRA, the National Technical University Athens and Impact Hub Athens, to disseminate the advances on the development of the HYDROUSA project.
Sara Gabarron, Project Manager of the CWP opened the session and presented the agenda of the webinar as well as the first speaker, the Project Coordinator Simos Malamis who kicked off the webinar by presenting the Hydrousa Project concept and its objectives.
Giulia Cipolletta and Francesco Fatone from the UNIVPM followed explaining the legislation, barriers and opportunities for decentralized communities, leaving the floor to Patrik Karlsson from Alchemia-nova Greece to present the valorisation of alternative water resources from rainwater/Seawater.
Next, insights on the implementation of nature-based solutions to reclaim water were given by Fabio Masi from IRIDRA. After him, Óscar Prado from AERIS presented the opportunities to recover energy from wastewater. Tarek El Arabi from the Helipolis University explained the nutrient recycling: Fertigation of an agroforestry field, followed by Zisis Tsiropoulos who presented the digitalization of HYDROUSA services.
The last presentation was given by Dimitris Kokkinakis from Impact Hub Athens on how to Spread the Word: A Community of water allies, before ending the webinar with an interesting Q&A section moderated by Gianluigi Buttiglieri, researcher at ICRA, where all speakers contributed to solving the assistant’s queries.
Visit HYDROUSA’s website to learn more about the project.Read More
WUR study examines trade-offs and synergies between the SDGs for climate change mitigation scenarios
The Wageningen Economic Research, part of the Wageningen University and Research (WUR), jointly conducted a study with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Research institutes of ARAID-CITA. The study examines the trade-offs and synergies between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for three different climate change mitigation scenarios up to 2050.
The analysis recognises that the sustainable pathways would bring undisputable benefits in terms of lower global temperature rises, lower pressure on land and water use, and improvements in ecosystem services and biodiversity.
- Developing countries cannot afford to tackle climate change without partnership assistance and knowledge transfer from richer regions
- The study calls for integrated decision-making where interlinkages between economic, societal and environmental factors are taken into consideration.
The AfriAlliance project is an example of integrated cooperation and decision-making. The project takes EU-Africa cooperation to a practical level by having African and European stakeholders work together in the areas of water innovation, research, policy, and capacity development. Demand-driven, problem-focused action groups are sharing knowledge between the identified stakeholders and networks at all levels to identify and address vulnerabilities effectively.
Water and climate change research and social innovation (R&I) cooperation between Africa and Europe are being reinforced through a combination of forward-looking and bottom-up innovation and road mapping techniques.
Click here to find more information about the study.Read More
This month, the European Commission has launched the first call for proposals under the Innovation Fund, one of the world’s largest programmes for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies, financed by revenues from the auction of emission allowances from the EU’s Emissions Trading System.
The Innovation Fund will finance breakthrough technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage. It will provide a boost to the green recovery by creating local future-proof jobs, paving the way to climate neutrality and reinforcing European technological leadership on a global scale.
For the period 2020-2030, the Innovation Fund will allocate around €10 billion from the auctioning of allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System, in addition to undisbursed revenues from the Innovation Fund’s predecessor, the NER 300 programme.
The first call will provide grant funding of €1 billion to large-scale projects for clean technologies to help them overcome the risks linked to commercialisation and large-scale demonstration. This support will help new technologies to reach the market. For promising projects which are not yet ready for the market, a separate budget of €8 million is set aside for project development assistance.
The call is open for projects in eligible sectors from all EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. The funds can be used in cooperation with other public funding initiatives, such as State aid or other EU funding programmes. Projects will be evaluated according to their potential to avoid greenhouse gas emission, innovation potential, financial and technical maturity, and potential for scaling up and cost-efficiency.
Click here for more information.Read More
To respond to the urgency and ambition of the European Green Deal (EDG) objectives, Horizon 2020 will soon launch the last call for proposal worth about €1 billion: the Green Deal Call (GDC). The Call will be opening in mid-September and will close at the end of January 2021.
The structure of the Green Deal Call reflects the eight key EGD policy areas and is complemented by three horizontal areas (strengthening knowledge; empowering citizens and international cooperation), which cut across the eight areas and offer a longer-term perspective in support of the transformations required by the EDG, for which water will play an essential role. In the past months, WE supported the development of GDC to ensure that suitable resources are allocated to the water sector and GDC will be a key player for the next Water Knowledge Europe 2020.
The Green Deal Call aims to produce tangible results and impact – visible to the citizens – in a relatively short time frame. Proposed actions (only single-stage calls) will support primarily pilot applications, demonstration projects and innovative products, innovation for better governance of the green and digital transition, social and value chain innovation.
- Mid-September – Adoption of the WP by the Commission and call opening
- End of January 2021 – Expected closing of the call
- Q4 2021 – Signature of grant agreements
From the 22 to 24 September 2020, the EC will organize the Research & Innovation Days 2020 edition which will include the GDC. Stay tuned for more information via this link.Read More