Gonzalo Delacámara WE Vice-President, appointed as new member of the Platform on Sustainable Finance
The European Commission published the list of members for the new mandate of the Platform on Sustainable Finance, in which Water Europe welcomes the appointment of its Vice-President Gonzalo Delacámara. In response to a call for applications, only 28 members from more than 200 highly-qualified applications have been selected, on the basis of their environmental and sustainable finance expertise.
The Platform will contribute to advising the Commission on its work on sustainable finance. Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, expressed that she also wants this Platform to develop and update the Taxonomy criteria in line with the latest technological developments.Read More
Lessons learnt from the urban water systems in the Netherlands
A latest European study looked at the impacts of changes in human demand for different water-based ecosystem services during the COVID-19 in the Netherlands. The study could provide lessons for management, for example, restricting boat traffic in canals may improve underwater habitat, say researchers.
Researchers noted that while some shifts in human activities caused positive changes for water-based ecosystems, such as reduced fishing pressure, others had negative impacts, such as an increase in disinfectants reaching surface waters. Some other factors showed that ad outdoor physical activities were not restricted in the Netherlands, an increase in recreational fishing, use of bathing waters and national parks, posed risks of heightened ecosystem degradation.
The study is split in four aspects of interaction from the period following 15 March 2020, when strict measures came into force including social distancing and episodic closing of schools and non-essential businesses.
Read the full study to learn more.Read More
Registrations are open for Water Market Europe 2023 on March 14-15 in Brussels
If you are looking for opportunities to promote your business, you can’t miss the 2023 edition of our Water Market Europe flagship event coming up in Brussels on March 14-15.
This year’s theme is ‘Protection of water from pollution and removal of biological and chemical emerging contaminants; Innovative solutions for the water industry‘. Water Market Europe 2023 is the perfect opportunity for problem owners and solution providers to showcase their business by facilitating the matchmaking between demand and the offer of advanced innovative solutions.
WME2023 offers you the possibility to find new collaboration and market opportunities for
✅ Advanced and cost-effective drinking and wastewater water treatment and disinfection processes and technologies;
✅ Technologies and tools to protect water sources from biological and chemical pollution;
✅ Biological and chemical contamination emergency response technologies and tools;
✅ Advanced integrated and cost-effective digital devices and systems;
✅ Innovative and robust monitoring systems and real-time information on drinking water quality, from sources to supply.
On March 14, you have the chance to enjoy an evening of networking, good cheer and gourmet delights at the Water Market Europe’s dinner. Reserve your spot at the WME2023 dinner here.Read More
Hans Goossens, WE President’s Editorial, January 2023
Dear Water Europe friends,
Let me start by sending you my best wishes for 2023. May the new year bring you much health, beautiful moments in nature, and good relationships with your friends and families. If we think about it, aren’t these also the components of the society Water Europe envisions? In a Water-Smart Society, there is water security, our health and wellbeing are safeguarded, we have a resilient water system in harmony with nature and an inclusive water governance where all relevant actors are involved.
As it usually happens, the first month of the new year is filled with good intentions. During this winter, though, we came to realise, once again, that intentions are not enough when alarming signs are all around us. Only the news of extreme cold weather with temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius in the USA clearly shows that our agenda is crucial in shifting from a fossil fuel based linear consumption economy to a sustainable circular model. This is why we eagerly anticipate the UN 2023 Water conference in March, where circular economy will be at the centre of the agenda. This is a good stage to unite with our allies and, shoulder to shoulder, build our Water-Smart Society. Together with at least 28 of our members who have received a special accreditation to attend the conference, and in close collaboration with the European Commission, we are organising a number of activities and side events to set the scene for a more central positioning of water under the next European Commission.
In fact, if we look into the global scene at the moment, Europe is taking the lead into the transition to a circular economy, not in words but in actions. The European Commission published last week the updated Best Available Techniques (BAT) reference document for the textile industry, including several references to water-related challenges and particularly the outcomes of our ZEROBRINE project. This revision of the BREF contributes to paving the way toward an effective Water-Smart industrial emissions directive that fully considers the value of water, including the sustainable management of resources and the water-energy nexus. This is how Europe acts, by putting legislation in place to force the market to take action and make the transition to the circular economy real. This, amongst many other things, makes me a proud European!
2023 is a crucial year for us that will be marked by the launch of our new vision, after five years since the first publication of our Water Europe vision document. With an updated, sharper and progressive vision in hand, we are going in full force to the UN Water Conference and getting the ground ready for our own annual Water Innovation Europe conference in June. In the meantime, key priorities remain the recast of our Industrial Emissions Directive and the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive and the strengthening of our membership inclusiveness. It will be a defining year for water, and we are ready to deliver!Read More
Interview with Pär Larshans, Ragn-Sells’ Sustainability Director & Water Europe’s Board Member
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?
On a personal level, it is the untapped resources that exist in society that are important to highlight. I grew up in the archipelago in the northern part of Sweden, and we were then so dependent on water for transport and food. On my professional side, I have been a board member of Water Aid Sweden, and in that capacity, I visited several projects in Rwanda. I have also seen the importance of water in other parts of Africa, where I visited and supported reforestation projects for carbon offsetting in Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Malawi – and there, you see for real the importance of water. I am also a resigning board member of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and still a board member of the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), which has water in focus. To enable a view of water as an important resource, and with a special focus on how essential the role of water is in a future circular economy is what I hope to achieve.
Why is it important for ΕasyMining/Ragn-Sells Group to be part of Water Europe?
We would like to make sure that wastewater treatment plants can be transformed into resource treatment plants in a future circular economy. To this end, Water Europe will have an important task, enabling policymakers in Europe to first understand the potential of this transformation and then support the policymakers in transforming the EU policies. One resource that is scarce and impossible to substitute is phosphorus. Without phosphorus, there is no life. The amount of phosphorus that is wasted and not brought back to the farmlands could make Europe independent from imports from Russia, the moment that this resource is currently often wasted in existing wastewater treatment plants.
Which ones do you consider the biggest challenges of the European water sector at the moment, and how do you see us overcoming them?
We have always had a lot of water in Europe. Until now, it has been a challenge that has affected only a few. Now, we start to understand more and more that it is more or less either too much, too little or too dirty, the water. The investments done in the water sector in Europe are far from enough to prevent the degradation of our water. At the same time, water is something that all people take for granted to always have access to at often a very low cost. Who is paying the bill? For now, we are pushing the bill to the next generation.
Building a water-smart society is our vision. Which actions shall we prioritise to make this happen?
Circular transformation is the keyword. This is how we can enable the reuse of water over and over again and that the different resources in water like energy (heating, cooling and biogas) and nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) can be used.Read More
Call for abstracts: Water Innovation and Circularity Conference, Athens
Innovation needs to be coupled with circularity in the water sector to accomplish the transition from a linear to a circular economy. The National Technical University of Athens is organizing the conference “Water Innovation and Circularity Conference” (WICC) in Athens on 7-9 June 2023, within the framework of the Horizon2020 project of HYDROUSA project.
The Conference will cover a wide range of themes from innovative and nature-based solutions for water and wastewater management to circularity assessment tools and environmental policy and legislation. If interested to submit your abstract for the conference, the new deadline is the 5th of March. The selected papers of the Conference will be published after evaluation in the following Journals:
– Science of the Total Environment
– Waste and Biomass Valorization
– Urban Water Journal
– Desalination and Water Treatment
To submit your abstract, click here. To learn more about the conference and register, here.Read More
EU Commission presents Environmental Implementation Review
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.
To learn more, check more info at the official webpage. You can check out how your country performs here.Read More
ZEROBRINE Technology included in the new BREF for the Textile Industry
The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission published 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
Publication of the first New European Bauhaus (NEB) Progress Report
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.
You can find more details here. To learn more about the Compass, click here.Read More
New EU environmental norms to make chemical and textile industry plants greener
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