New Global Risk Report 2023
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
Webinar: Biologically-inspired design for a Water-Smart Society, February 17
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
Untapping potential in a green transition at the Grundfos event
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.
WMO Report on ‘State of Global Water Resources 2021’
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
New EEA Report on Zero Pollution has been published
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
Hans Goossens, President’s Editorial, Winter 2022
Dear Water Europe friends,
2022 is coming to a close, and here at Water Europe, we keep busy on several different fronts.
Last month, the European Commission published the proposal for the new Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD). An in-depth REFIT evaluation of the UWWTD from 1991 showed that it has significantly reduced the adverse effects of wastewater discharges from urban sources into the environment. This proposal now focuses on the quality of rivers, lakes, groundwaters, and seas through cost-effective wastewater treatment. This is actually the next step for building a Water-Smart society through a resource-oriented and energy-driven approach to wastewater treatment, stimulating a circular economy model.
In November, I had the opportunity to represent Water Europe at the Water and Climate event: What COP27 means to you. It was an opportunity to talk about the role of water in relation to climate change, both from the viewpoint of climate change mitigation, as well as climate change adaptation. To this end, the Water-Oriented Living Labs will play an important role, in line with the EU’s ambitions for climate neutrality 2030.
During the previous period, we also hosted two Water Project Europe editions. The first one was held in the context of the 17th International Conference on Wetland Systems for Water Pollution Control 2022, as a clustering workshop that brought together experts presenting real-life experiences from different Nature-based solution (NBS) projects and initiatives. The second WPE edition took place during ECOMONDO, titled ”Challenges and eco-innovation actions addressing water scarcity and drought in Mediterranean countries’ . This event was also co-organised and co-chaired by the European Commission (REA), and the Scientific-Technical Committee of ECOMONDO. Both occasions were very important for bringing forward the significant results of promising projects working towards circular economy.
With the UN Water Conference 2023 approaching in the new year, Water Europe is making all the necessary preparations to voice its vision for a Water-Smart society and amplify its messages. This is crucial for us. We stand for building a Water-Smart society and thanks to the hard work and contributions of our ambassadors, our members, and the whole network, we set in 2022 another step closer to making it happen. With this, I would like to thank you all for your commitment and wish you all a happy festive period. 2022 was a great year for Water Europe and its community, and we expect an even better 2023 to come.
Guest editorial by Astrid Schomaker – Director for Global Sustainable Development, DG ENV, EU Commission
2022 has been a difficult year. The water sector has certainly seen more than its fair share of challenges, from severe droughts in Europe and Africa, devastating floods in Pakistan, to Russia’s targeting of civilian water infrastructure as part of its war on Ukraine. Nevertheless, it is possible to be optimistic about the year ahead and the opportunities it offers.
The Russian war of aggression has accelerated our energy transition. The REPowerEU Plan foresees the largest roll-out of renewable energy ever. And just like in the EU, other countries are deploying renewables around the globe. This constitutes an unprecedented opportunity. What we need to make sure now is that we have a water-positive pathway for the energy transition, one that enables us to make the right investments in renewable energy technologies that are compatible with sustainable water uses.
Last November, the world convened at climate COP27 in Egypt, a country not a stranger to water management challenges. Never before has water been so prominent at a climate conference. The worsening impacts of climate change and interlinked crises call for us to better anticipate, prepare, respond and recover by making water resilience and water solidarity two new policy paradigms for our action in the EU and beyond our borders. Supplying our planet’s 8 billion citizens with sustainable energy, ensuring their food security, and enabling healthy and peaceful lives – none of these basic aspirations can be achieved if water availability and water quality are left out of the equation. Our policies can only be effective if they look at the issues together and if policymakers work in close cooperation with stakeholders and experts from all over the world.
Lastly, the year ahead will present a unique opportunity to step up such cooperation, learn from each other’s approaches internationally and kick start a global movement for water resilience. For the first time in 45 years, the international community is gathering at the UN 2023 Water Conference on 22-24 March, in New York. This will be an opportunity for Member States, private sector and civil society to commit to actions, and showcase innovations in water technology and governance to achieve sustainable water management. Those of us who are fastest in making the transition to a circular and resource-efficient economy will benefit from a first-mover advantage internationally. But this is not just an opportunity, there is a moral obligation to scale up ambition: globally, we need to quadruple investments to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6 on access to water and sanitation, and to strengthen the water-dimension of all goals. I therefore encourage you to rally to the cause and make the UN 2023 Water Conference the watershed moment the world urgently needs.Read More
Joint Statement on the Industrial Emission Directive
Water Europe, together with CDP released a joint declaration calling on the European Parliament and the Member States to help provide consistent water information that we urgently need to identify, prevent, and tackle increasing water-related challenges driven by climate change.
The legislative proposal of the European Commission included some new provisions for better consideration about water efficiency assessment. These elements are key according to CDP Europe and Water Europe in order to produce data as regards water consumption by industrial activities because it will:
💧 bring a better picture of water productivity at the plant level by providing more certainty for industries and investments;
💧 ensure better recognition of the value of water and contribute to achieving a Water-Smart Society;
💧 provide a stimulus for R&D to tackle water pollution and scarcity;
💧 improve competitiveness and performance by reducing water risks for companies.
You can read the full declaration here.Read More
Water Europe at COP27
Held from the 6th to the 18th of November, the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 took place in the Egyptian beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. Here, government negotiators, local authorities, businesses and civil society came together to discuss global climate actions.
Over this period, Water Europe Ambassadors took part in several COP27 events related to the impact of the UN Conference on water and energy transition.
On Wednesday 16th, Hans Goossens, Water Europe President, offered his contribution during the European panel discussion on “European Priorities for Future-Proof Water Services” held as part of the “Water and Climate” pavilion highlighting the importance of COP27 to the water sector. Hans stressed out the important role of water with respect to climate change mitigation but also climate change adaptation. Alexis De Kerchove, Water Europe board member of college A moderated the session that enabled speakers to share experiences to accelerate the implementation of knowledge into real solutions to address Net Zero Greenhouse gas emissions, reduce water losses, eliminate sewer overflows and benefit from the circular economy in water and wastewater management.
On the same day, Francesco Fatone, from the Water Europe Vision leadership Team ‘Circular Water’ contributed to the COP27 session, co-organised by ECOMONDO and Key Energy titled “Management and valorisation of Waste and Waters and Environmental Regeneration: the role played by Italy in the Mediterranean area” to highlight the Italian role in the green and energy transition. To view the full session, please click here