Dear Water Europe friends,
We are all back from a summer that had a bit of everything. Pleasant moments enjoying the sun, cooling down in the lake or the sea, and long hours of sitting outside. Yet, this is only one side of the coin. During the summer, we all experienced an exceptional heatwave across Europe, raging fires, severe drought with dry rivers and water scarcity in many European regions. We are all confronted with the mere fact that the climate is changing, if not, collapsing in front of our eyes. Water is not only life but also living. Over these months, we saw the impact of low rivers on the transportation of goods across Europe, the whole logistics line was under pressure, slowing down the production. Water is key for all the activities of our society. If we want to go for a sustainable society, we have to go for a Water-Smart Society. The frequency and the intensity of all these events around us made us take a step further and sharpen our Water Vision, an updated version of which is expected this autumn.
In the meantime, we have already published our new position paper for a Water-Smart Nutrient Management Action Plan. This paper stresses the link between a Water-Smart Society and the circular economy. A nutrient management action plan is very important for reducing, reusing, and recycling in a better way, and has a direct impact on the water utilities. The reduction of nutrients that could enter the freshwater cycle and the recycling of nutrients from wastewater treatment increases the cost-efficiency of the whole water management cycle. The paper also includes several of best practice cases from the European collaborative research projects Nextgen, Ultimate, Water-Mining, and B-Water-Smart. To read our full position paper, click here.
Our new Water-Oriented Living Lab Notebook series publications were also made available earlier this month. They serve as a manual for those interested in driving their research and development process toward a Water-Smart Society and embedding their water-smart innovations in society, using the Living Labs concept. The WOLLs are a very important instrument for the implementation of our Water Vision and this is exactly what our September’s workshops demonstrated during the IWA conference in Copenhagen and the Open Living Lab Days in Turin. Download our WOLLs publications here. Speaking of innovation, we are also excited to share with you the recently published CNN article that features the innovative solution of the Water Europe SME winner 2022 Manhat, while making reference to our Innovation awards. Read the whole piece here.
While we are bombarded daily with news about the energy crisis in Europe, we shouldn’t allow this to change our priority; instead it should urge us to turn the treat of a looming water crisis into an opportunity for creating a Water-Smart Society. Our next Water Knowledge Europe event on the 18th and 19th of October will be an opportunity for us to meet again, exchange, get inspired and come up with solutions for our water challenges. I look forward to meeting you all there!Read More
By Dr Patricia Calderon, Associate Director for Water Security at CDP
CDP recognises that disclosure is fundamental for the transformation we need to tackle the water crisis. It provides a roadmap and accountability mechanism. Properly harnessed, markets can deliver our global water goals at scale. They are the self-generating sources of innovation and financing that transform economies. For 10 years, companies have been disclosing voluntarily to CDP on water. We now endeavour Financial Institutions (FIs) to engage in disclosure to harness the power of sustainable finance.
CDP and Planet Tracker’s report High and Dry: How Water Issues Are Standing Assets – CDP has been timely released, as the global water crisis becomes ever more tangible. The report highlights that water risks are material to FIs. First, CDP 2021 water data showed that 134 company across various industrial sectors have the potential for closure of their operations due to water risks. We then dived into the causes and financial implications of water risks for real cases of stranded assets in four resource majors, coal, electric utilities, metals & mining and oil & gas. These were the Carmichael Coal Mine, Oyster Creek Nuclear power station, Pascua-Lama gold mine and Keystone XL oil pipeline extension, which represented a combined US$15.5 billion already stranded or at risk. Substantially, they resulted from a convergence of physical, reputational and regulatory water risks.
Current global water stress mapping shows that selected energy infrastructure is located in water stressed areas, a situation projected to increase. Importantly, CDP 2021 data also showed that there is a perceived lack of awareness from companies in these sectors on the convergence and impact of water risks. This shows that future stranding events are likely for the resource majors we looked into; and hence the importance for companies to consider water risks, and how to grow differently minimising their reliance on water.
With US$327 billion of financing arrangements due over the next 5 years for the top 42 largest global companies in these resource majors, financial institutions must now consider: assessing water risks, disclosing and managing water risks across their portfolios, engaging companies, investing in water crisis solutions, and advocating for stronger regulation. To aid the market, CDP issued this year its first-of-its-kind water related disclosure request to 1,200 publicly listed FIs, with insights to be released in time for the UN2023 March Water conference. By mobilising financial institutions at scale on water security, we aim to guide and better inform their decisions.Read More
September was our Water-Oriented Living Labs month. Water Europe participated in the IWA Water Conference 2022 in Copenhagen and the ENoLL Open Living Lab Days 2022 in Turin, organising two workshops to discuss the pivotal role of Water Oriented Living Labs (WOLLs) in supporting the Green and Digital Transition of Europe.
During the IWA Water Conference, Durk Krol also gave a speech during the EasyMining/ RagnSells business session on closing the nutrient cycle, including references to our Water Europe NextGen, Ultimate, WATER-MINING and B-WaterSmart projects.
During the two WOLLs workshops, Water Europe highlighted the WOLLs as a game changer for realising new water governance models, operating and scaling-up innovations, and exploiting the potential of digital tools, such as the Digital Twins. The Horizon 2020 projects REWAISE, ULTIMATE, WATER-MINING, B-Watersmart, and Wider Uptake which aim at creating alliances between the actors of the WOLLs – academia, citizens, business and public institutions – to build a Water-Smart Society, were also presented. The Horizon Europe Partnership Water4all was also given the floor and contributed to both workshops. Water Europe leads the Pillar D of Water4All that intends to demonstrate and scale-up innovations through the engagement with and the creation of Water-Oriented Living Labs in the EU and beyond.
Curious to find out more about the WE WOLLs? Read our new WOLLs publications here.Read More
During the informal meeting of the EU’s Agriculture Ministers in Prague, ministers discussed about food security, the role of European agriculture and a sustainable global food production.
They agreed on the importance of a EU-wide coordinated action to maximise sustainable increases in agricultural production and accelerate the use of modern techniques in agriculture. The use of innovation, research and modern technologies, including precision farming should be a part of the solutions to further reduce pesticide and fertiliser consumption while maintaining the necessary productivity.
Besides, new trends in water management or in breeding new varieties can help the EU become more resistant to extreme weather fluctuations and new plant pests and diseases.
You can find more info here.Read More
On September 26, Water Europe’s Executive Director Durk Krol, met with the Director General of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), Kaspars Rozkalns, to agree on cooperation in the development of joint projects and discuss the inclusion of Latvian innovation players in this partnership platform.
This was a great occasion for Water Europe to mark a new step forward stronger relations with LIAA and enhance collaboration on water-related challenges through research and innovations as well as to support a better integration of the Latvia ecosystem in Horizon Europe projects.
Since LIAA has defined #MissionSea30 as one of Latvia’s national image strategy elements, the cooperation with Water Europe would offer LIAA a vast network to build new partnerships and help Latvian innovation players engage in research and innovations necessary for implementing the vision.
The Sea of Missions 2030 is a set of measures to promote progress toward a cleaner Baltic Sea with the help of innovations and at the same time present the country as a place where world-requested innovations are created.
Latvia is the lead country of the 3seas initiative and thanks to its innovative ecosystem, we believe it can be a frontrunner to achieve a water-smart society. To discover more, read this article and watch the joint interview here.Read More
The European Parliament adopted a set of recommendations following a summer of devastating droughts, forest fires and other extreme weather phenomena across Europe. MEPs called for an EU framework on climate adaptation and a climate resilience “stress test” for key infrastructure in order to improve our emergency response. Improving our food security, sustainable water and forest management play an essential role in the context of climate adaptation.
Beside adapting our food system to make it resilient in the long term, the text calls on the Commission to present a comprehensive EU water strategy. MEPs ask for general efforts to reduce the overall water use and “to increase the use of water reuse techniques, water-saving irrigation technologies and practices […] across all industrial, residential and commercial water cycles and applications”.
MEPs also call “for the amendment of current legislation to encourage the reuse of water in industries that use a lot of water while respecting the strictest quality criteria” (point 49). Moreover, it underlines the direct impact of water efficiency on the energy-water nexus (point 50).
You can find out more in the text adopted 15th September 2022 (Water, point 47 to 52).Read More
On September 22, Water Europe co-organised with CDP and European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) the online webinar ”A Legislative Framework Supportive of the Water-Energy Nexus: Exploiting Synergies Between Water and Energy Savings, organised in the context of the European Sustainable Energy Week, and hosted by Dentons Global Advisers.
During the webinar, policymakers and stakeholders explored water and energy efficiency and discuss synergies to allow the emergence of a coherent regulatory framework.
The discussion took place in Brussels and online, from 12:00 to 13:30 CET highlighting the following points:
☑ We need to better integrate the water-energy nexus not only in the energy legislation but also in the water legislation to reduce the economic impact of water risks;
☑ We need to improve our water productivity and mandatory water efficiency assessment can support these objectives in line with the EU Green Deal;
☑ Digital water is key as it contributes to reducing the investment costs;
☑ The silo mentality between water and energy should be broken in order to save money and strengthen collaboration between the two sectors;
☑ Water really need the 3 S: solidarity, water storage and water security;
☑ A coherent regulatory framework supportive of the water-energy nexus will contribute to the achievement of a Water-Smart Society;
If you want to learn more about the topic, Water Europe co-signed a joint declaration with the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), namely ”Unleash the Potential of Water-Energy Nexus in the Energy Efficiency Directive”.
You can also watch the full session of the webinar here.Read More
4 Takeaways from the Workshop ‘Water-Oriented Living Labs (WOLLs) for the Green and Digital Transition’
On September 21, Water Europe organised the Workshop ‘Water-Oriented Living Labs (WOLLs) for the Green and Digital Transition’ during the Open Living Labs Days, held in Turin on September 20-23.
The workshop intended to highlight in the OLLD 2022, building on the workshop implemented at the OLLD 2019, how the Water-Oriented Living Labs (WOLLs) can generate the ideal multi-contextual, empirical real-world environments and the systemic innovation approach. The most important takeaways from the discussion were:
✅ WOOLs can be an effective instrument to engage citizens in a real-life setting;
✅ Digital Twins can be a successful instrument for scenario planning and the identification of options;
✅ Combining Water-Oriented Living Labs with Digital Twins serve the purpose of establishing Green and Digital Transformation and a Water-Smart Society with engaged citizens;
✅ The Twin approach enhances and facilitates the connectivity between water-oriented living labs throughout Europe.Read More
From rainfall patterns to monsoon intensities, air pollution can significantly affect the water cycle. Particulate matter can reduce the amount of solar radiation that reaches the earth’s surface, affecting the rate at which water evaporates and moves into the atmosphere. They also affect clouds’ formation and water-carrying capacity.
For example, changes in intensity and distribution of rainfall in India and China have been linked to particulate matter pollution. Some areas experience more rain than usual, often in concentrated bursts, while others experience less.
Particulate matter also affects the trajectory and intensity of monsoons in Asia, and have intensified droughts in China, North America and South Asia. European and North American pollution affect rainfall and drought in the Sahel. To the casual observer, these impacts seem to blend in with more general environmental variability, but their impacts on agriculture, water reservoirs and biodiversity are significant.Read More
The European Commission has recently approved a contribution of more than €65 million from the 2014-2020 Cohesion Fund for a better water and wastewater infrastructure in the Medias, Agnita and Dumbraveni regions, in Sibiu County, Romania.
The investment aims to:
– upgrade the control systems to monitor the water quality,
– create 33 permanent jobs for staff for the maintenance and operation of the infrastructure’
– reduce pollutants in water sources and ensure a continuous supply of safe drinking water,
– have a long-lasting positive impact on public health while contributing to compliance with the EU Drinking Water and Urban Wastewater Directives.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “Cohesion Policy is about concretely improving the living conditions for citizens in the EU in all regions. This project will significantly upgrade the living conditions of more than 35,000 citizens by improving the water and wastewater network.” You can read more details here.Read More