The European research project STOP-IT, which is dealing with the protection of water infrastructures from cyber and physical threats, has now begun with training activities for water utilities.
The project has already delivered several technologies and solutions for assessing and treating cyber and physical risks at a strategic and tactical level. Among them, the toolbox of technologies for securing critical water infrastructure assets from physical threats, a cyber threat sharing system and a toolbox of technologies for securing IT and SCADA systems.
Training for water utilities
STOP-IT is now progressing to the next phase by carrying out training activities for water utilities that seek to improve risk management processes by utilising the STOP-IT solutions. The technologies were tested with hands-on sessions by risk management officers of four different water utilities in Germany (Hessenwasser), Spain (EMASAGRA), Belgium (De Watergroep) and Norway (Bergen).
Through a presentation and a live demonstration in the form of a webinar, participants were introduced to technologies of the risk assessment and treatment framework.
After obtaining insights on how STOP-IT tools function at a strategic and tactical level, the utilities got hands-on experience with the solutions, guided by detailed training material and real-time remote support from the technologies’ developers. Their feedback on the usability and usefulness of the tools has been received and will be implemented to further training activities on other STOP-IT technologies, planned with decision-makers and staff at water utilities that are responsible for real-time operations.Read More
On the 11th March, the European Commission released its Circular Economy Action Plan as part of the Green Deal. This initiative aims to scale up the circular economy from front runners to the mainstream economy, reusing our resources as long as possible. Water Europe welcomes the dedicated place for water in this action plan which is in line with our vision to achieve a Water-Smart Society.
The European Union recognizes the risk of water stress due to resource inefficiency in our economy, especially for food productions. Going beyond the new water reuse regulation to encourage reuse in agriculture, the European Commission opens new rooms to achieve a Water-Smart Society by making a clear reference to industrial water:
“The new Water Reuse Regulation will encourage circular approaches to water reuse in agriculture. The Commission will facilitate water reuse and water efficiency, including in industrial processes.” (page 15)
Water Europe also embraces the support to the implementation of the requirements of the Drinking Water Directive to make drinkable tap water accessible in public places to reduce the dependence on bottled water and prevent packaging waste. This initiative is therefore appreciated as it tackles pollution at the source. In the same way, the EC encourages the elimination of micro-plastic in our drinking water.
Lastly, the proposal for a comprehensive EU strategy for textiles considers the importance of water for this sector and its high pressure and contamination of this resource.
Water Europe will follow-up these initiatives in collaboration with its Working Groups and Vision leadership teams. To read the full Circular Economy Action Plan, click here. Read Water Europe’s vision: The Value of Water – Towards a Future-Proof Model for a European Water-Smart Society.Read More
The 2020 edition of the contest European Capital of Innovation was recently launched by the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel and is open for applications.
The contest is a chance for cities that are dedicated to developing and implementing innovative solutions for their citizens to be awarded a cash prize funded by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.
The first prize is of €1 million, and the first five runners-up will receive €100 000 each. The previous winners include Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Athens, and Nantes.
Who can participate?
Cities with a minimum of 100 000 inhabitants from the EU Member States or associated to Horizon 2020 can participate. Independent experts will evaluate the participant cities following criteria that include engaging citizens to innovation, having tangible and measurable results of innovation, having the capacity for being a desired destination for entrepreneurs and a role model for other cities.
Cities interested in applied have until the 23rd of June 2020. The first winner and the five runners-up will be known on 22-24 of September 2020 during the European Research and Innovation Days in Brussels.
Below, you can watch a video prepared by the European Commission’s ‘Innovation Union’ YouTube channel:Read More
The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have released a Joint Communication proposing a stronger partnership with Africa. The Communication highlights the proposals of an EU-Africa partnership in five key areas: green transition and energy access; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace, security and governance; and migration and mobility.
The goal of the EU is to gather with partners from Africa to create a joint strategy following mutual interests and responsibilities. The strategy is going to be endorsed in October 2020 during the 6th European Union – African Union Summit in Brussels.
The goal is to have a continuing dialogue with African partners and deepen the EU-Africa relations as well we tackle the main challenges of the century.
Download the factsheet “Towards a Comprehensive strategy with Africa”.Read More
On the 5th of March, the European Ministers of Environment met to discuss several pieces of EU water legislation. The first outcome of this council was the approval of the political agreement on the Drinking Water Directive. The next steps will be its adoption by the European Parliament, and then, its official publication.
The discussions on the fitness check of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and other linked Directives stressed the importance of maintaining high standards. The Environment Council mentioned the value of the links between this legislation and the objectives of the Green Deal and the zero-pollution strategy.
As summarized by Tomislav Ćorić, president of this council, the general conclusion highlighted:
- The need to create synergies between the EU water legislation and other European policies, especially the common Agriculture policy;
- Financing measures remains a challenge ;
- The need for effective implementation of the EU water legislation
For more information, watch here the Environment Council meeting.Read More
Due to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) outbreak and the increased bans imposed on company travel, Water Europe has decided to respect the growing concerns of its network and cancel its two upcoming events, Water Market Europe 2020 (18-19 March 2020) and WE International Water Dialogues Days 2020 (20-21 April 2020).
Given that the health threat will presumably continue to be an issue for an extended time and that WE annual events are strategically spread over the year, we have taken the decision to cancel and not postpone the events at a later time, as any such decision could compromise the Water Europe’s calendar for the remainder of the year.
Our Water Europe events form an important building block in our strategy and therefore, we are diligently working towards finding alternative ways to keep our services at their highest level and implement effectively our strategy the next period of time. All the already registered attendees of our events will be contacted individually.
An overview of our WE events’ status is presented below.
Re-evaluation of the situation by 04/04
Re-evaluation of the situation by 04/04
The Report focuses on the challenges, opportunities and potential responses to climate change, considering adaptation, mitigation and improved resilience that can be addressed through improving water management.
Combining climate change adaptation and mitigation through water is a win-win proposal, improving the provision of water supply and sanitation services and combating both the causes and impacts of climate change, including disaster risk reduction.
The World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) released a video about the upcoming report. Click here to watch.
International Water Dialogues Days
During the first International Water Dialogues Days (IWD) on the 20th and 21st of April 2020 organised by Water Europe, the Report will be presented during a keynote session by WWAP.
The session will occur on Monday, 20th of April, at noon at the BluePoint Conference Centre, in Brussels. To learn more about IWD and how to participate in the event, click here.Read More
Technical experts from EU-funded projects, water authorities and policymakers have agreed that reference to the circular economy, emerging pollutants, storm water overflows and monitoring would need strengthening in any revision of the Urban Waste Water Treatment (UWWT) Directive.
Difficulties in adapting
Many Member States are still struggling to reach compliance with the 30-year-old Directive, which has been undergoing a refit evaluation to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to adapt to societal needs.
The meeting provided policymakers with vital feedback for updating the legislation in a number of areas. Through dedicated workshops, experts addressed in particular, four specific topics, circular economy, emerging pollutants, storm water overflows and monitoring.
To reach a circular economy in the water cycle, Cetaqua’s CEO Carlos Montero, supported the concept of bio-factories as a new sustainable model. These factories would promote the reuse and recovery of waste, he said. It was universally agreed that the circular economy should be embedded in the revised Directive.
Experts also discussed pollutants of emerging concern, including drug residues and micro plastics. Legislation for shared responsibility under a revised Directive could meet these challenges but it must cover the entire value chain – from producers to consumers.
On urban run-off and storm water overflows, experts agreed on the need for a more integrated approach amongst relevant stakeholders to lessen the impact of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in a cost-effective manner.
Water quality monitoring was identified as critical to providing the data required for safeguarding the environment against adverse effects from contamination.
All meeting participants were subsequently polled on the above issues and their feedback was very much in line with the workshop experts.
The two-day meeting also showcased 19 LIFE projects as well as 7 mature Horizon 2020 projects on a variety of waste water topics.
In fact, participants had an insight into some of these projects during the site visits where LIFE projects were showcased. 50 people visited the Barcelona Waste Water Treatment Plant which incorporated two LIFE projects, LIFE ENRICH and LIFE aWARE, demonstrating resource recovery and removal of emerging pollutants.
In addition, 30 people visited the LIFE iBATHWATER project which, simultaneously demonstrated new techniques for dealing with storm water overflows and advanced monitoring.
All the LIFE and Horizon 2020 projects present at the meeting can also influence future policies by showing decision makers what is already feasible in waste water treatment and crucially, what bottlenecks still need to be addressed.
“These EU-funded projects allow us to move towards a circular economy in the water cycle. They are helping ensure the sustainability of the water cycle, which will benefit society and the environment,” explained Cetaqua’s Technical Director, Xavier Bernat.Read More
The European Commission recently launched the 2020 edition of Horizon Impact Award – a prize dedicated to EU-funded projects whose results have created societal impact across Europe and beyond.
The prize acknowledges and rewards the most influential and impactful project results under Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme, and its predecessor, the 7th Framework programme (FP7, 2007-2013).
The prize will highlight concrete achievements that have demonstrable value for society, and will celebrate the people who made it happen. The contest is open only to FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects that are closed and that can provide proof of their impact. Each of the five winners will receive €10 000.
The contest is open for applications until 2 April 2020, and the winners will be announced at the European Research and Innovation Days in Brussels in September.
Click here to learn more and apply.Read More
A substantial increase to the European Innovation Council Pilot budget is estimated to be taken on by the European Commission in March 2020, to support disruptive and market-creating innovation and high-tech SMEs to scale-up, preparing the foundation of a well focused programme in Horizon Europe.
An one-off EIC Accelerator call for Green Deal start-ups and SMEs is also foreseeable, for which SMEs applicants submitting for the 19th May 2020 cut-off will need to demonstrate how their innovation contributes to the goals of the European Green Deal and its elements, while the 7th October 2020 cut-off for the EIC Accelerator Pilot will remain open to all kind of innovations.
Further opportunities for companies with women CEOs are also expected, to ensure that 25% of all selected applicants in the EIC Accelerator Pilot are women-led companies. In addition, should the first round evaluation show that a minimum of 25% of companies selected for the final-stage interviews are not led by women, additional interviews will be planned.
The EC is expected to publish the amended version of the EIC Work Programme by the end of February, while the final version should come to light by the end of March, replacing the organisation for 2020 of the existing EIC Pilot Work Programme 2018 – 2020.Read More