In light of the concerning impact of drought conditions on water resources and agriculture in Europe, Water Reuse Europe and Water Europe are collaborating to bring you an insightful webinar on the crucial topic of water reuse. The webinar will be held online on June 27 from 14:00 to 16:00 pm.
According to the latest report from the JRC Global Drought Observatory, released in March 2023, dry conditions have already started affecting water availability in various regions of western and north-western Europe, as well as some areas in southern Europe. The similarities to the extreme drought experienced in 2022, particularly in countries like France, Spain, and northern Italy, are raising concerns about water supply and agriculture.
To address this pressing issue and alleviate the impact of drought on our water resources, water reuse has emerged as a promising solution. Join us for this webinar, where experts from the agricultural water reuse sector across Europe will come together to discuss the current status of water reuse, share examples of good practices, explore the challenges in complying with the EU Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2020/741) on minimum requirements for water reuse (effective from June 23, 2023), and identify opportunities to promote circular approaches in the agricultural sector.
Who Should Attend? This webinar welcomes water professionals, developers, industry leaders, solution providers, technology suppliers, policymakers, researchers, end-users, and consultants who are involved in or have an interest in water reuse.
Registration and Fees Attendance for this event is free. However, to ensure efficient management of attendance levels, we kindly request that you complete our online registration form by clicking on the registration button below.
The full event’s agenda is available here. To join for the webinar, please register at this link.Read More
On the 16th of June, Gonzalo Delacámara, Water Europe 1st Vice President & Director of IE Centre for Water & Climate Adaptation discussed the current key challenges linked to water policies and the economics of water, at the expert hearing “a Call for an #EUBlueDeal” held at the European Economic and Social Committee.
To frame his intervention, Gonzalo emphasised on the need to move away from a short-sighted approach to the delivery of water services to a broader and more ambitious one dealing with ensuring long-term water security within the context of climate change adaptation.
A very practical implication of this is the need to understand the need to move beyond an investment model that still may be needed in some eastern Member States of the EU and has proved very successful in delivering universal coverage of water and sanitations services for most EU MS. That model was based on bridging gaps in term of coverage (thus biased towards investments in conventional infrastructures: public water distribution networks, sewerage networks, wastewater treatment plants, etc.). The current challenge calls for a new investment model, one based on enhanced water use efficiency and the diversification of water supply sources (mostly through reclaimed wastewater and stormwater reuse and desalination of brackish and saltwater).
Gonzalo feels it’s critical to connect water policy objectives (i.e., drought and scarcity management, flood and flood risk management, tackling water quality degradation, halting aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem services loss) to wider social and economic (development) objectives: social and spatial cohesion, geographical location of critical economic activities, macroeconomic performance, social equity, food security worldwide, energy security, public health, climate change mitigation and adaptation, etc.
Connecting water policy and wider development objectives is far from being just a rational choice; it’s a logical need, as it was shown with examples from the critical drought event in Europe during summertime in 2022, which affected many EU MS and critical waterways such as the Rhine, the Elbe or the Danube, disrupting critical supply chains such as those of semi-conductors, fertilisers or natural gas, in the midst of a worldwide food security crisis and the worst energy crisis in 50 years.
Critical deficits lie on governance, rather than on the lack of financial resources or technology. Water governance, though, is not just about transparency, accountability, integrity, and meaningful stakeholder engagement, all of them critical and highly important. It’s not also only about having sound institutional setups. Enhanced water governance should be about redesigning incentives, creating the enablers for the uptake of innovations (technological, institutional, social, financial…), ensuring strategic financing, fostering sectoral policy coordination, etc.
Illustrations of meaningful policy efforts where, however, water economics is somehow downplayed if not overlooked at all.
Digitisation of the economy (and the water sector) is a key priority in the allocation of funds of the Resilience & Recovery Facility of Next Generation UE. The water sector is latecomer, but new technologies are here to stay (i.e., digital twins, cloud computing, a range of AI approaches, distributed ledgers of information, IoT, big data management, etc.). These new technologies, demanding massive public and private investment, will not deliver though if smart pricing schemes are not in place.
Many EU MS have made a remarkable effort in modernising irrigation systems (responsible for over 70% of water withdrawal worldwide and also in some of those countries). In some cases, tose efforts have made plots more efficient, but not necessarily river basins more sustainable, as there is evidence of rebound effects (through water productivity) or scale outweighs individual water efficiency gains.
Nature Based Solutions are a non-regret option. However, a number of lock-ins are to be overcome: financial (money tends to favour conventional infrastructures as yet and NBS projects do struggle sometimes to be bankable), institutional (often times, there is some inertia to foster grey infrastructures), and in terms of assessment (as NBS tend to be appraised as if natural capital assets were physical capital ones, which hinders their development).
Successful circular economy examples are pervasive but most of them tend to be at small scale. Upscaling is a challenge, and one that cannot be addressed in the absence of industrial symbiosis (mutually beneficial approaches), thus creating markets and aligning incentives for circularity approaches to deliver.
Some promising efforts as to the reclamation and reuse of water and the desalination of brackish and saltwater find it hard (if not impossible at all), to find an affective demand – the redesigning of incentives would be critical for this.
Zooming into the urban water cycle, given the need to meet human rights and the political and social sensitivities regarding household consumption.
The atomization of water services delivery systems in some countries is leading to a range of malfunctions. This may be an example of the dialectics between the subsidiarity principle and decentralisation versus further integration. The challenge seems very much one of ensuring enhanced coordination and supranational approaches, whilst respecting legal powers of local authorities.
Affordability concerns often take centre stage. This discussion often spotlights water tariff levels, when in fact most challenges have to do with exposure to social exclusion and poverty. There are clear opportunities to explore the role of tariff design to use water tariffs as a tool for social and spatial cohesion. Yet, affordability should also be considered at a higher level (PoMS under the WFD and the FD).
The urban water sector faces significant challenges in terms of asset replacement and management. New technologies will help, but strategic financing frameworks are a binding need.
Cost recovery is a critical element in the delivery of water services and water resources management, but it’s a means to an end. It’s important to convey that recovering costs should lead to enhanced resilience and security in the longer term and not just to self-sufficiency on financial grounds today.Read More
Attention water innovators and enthusiasts! Prepare for an exceptional gathering of industry professionals at the highly anticipated WIE2023 exclusive networking dinner, taking place on June 21st. The event promises an evening filled with inspiration, networking opportunities, and celebration.
We are thrilled to announce that DI Günter Liebel, Secretary General at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions, and Water Management, Republic of Austria, will be the spectacular keynote speaker for the evening. With his extensive expertise, Liebel will unveil the Austrian perspective towards a Water-Smart Strategy in Europe, providing firs thand insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in water management. This is a unique chance to gain valuable knowledge from one of the most esteemed water experts in the world.
Seats for this exclusive event are filling up fast, and time is running out to secure your spot. Register now at this link to ensure you don’t miss out on this exceptional opportunity. By attending, you’ll have the chance to connect with like-minded professionals, exchange ground-breaking ideas, and forge collaborations that will shape the future of the water industry.
In addition to the captivating keynote speech, the WIE2023 Networking Dinner will feature the live announcement of the highly prestigious WIE2023 Awards. This ceremony will honor the industry’s trailblazers for their outstanding contributions to the water sector, highlighting their exceptional achievements. Witness history in the making as we applaud these remarkable individuals and organizations.Read More
Would you like to supercharge your Water Innovation Europe experience as young water professional? Join the Water-Smart Bootcamp (19 June – 22 June in Brussels.) as part of the Water Innovation Europe Conference 2023. You’ll connect with other young professionals, get to know the ins- & outs of Water Europe, tackle challenges in the sector, join in training to create impact, and go full hands-on in connecting with water expertise.
What will you get?
An Integrated programme of professional development, water innovation knowledge and networking from Monday 19 June at 15:00h until Thursday 22 June at 16:00, including: trainings, workshops, Masterclasses, contributing to water innovation Europe, Working Groups & Side Events. Including lunches and (conference) dinner in programme time. So are you a young water professional? And you would like to
☑Connect with counterparts in the European sector
☑Keep learning from and with each other
☑ have fun?
Apply now to reserve your place! (Registration is open to maximum 12 participants.)
Join the Water-Smart Bootcamp (19 June – 22 June in Brussels.) as part of the Water Innovation Europe Conference 2023. The ticket includes entry to the WIE main event and side events. To learn more for the agenda, click here.Read More
As our world undergoes rapid transformation, it is becoming increasingly important to find sustainable solutions for the future. Water, a precious but scarce resource, is a prime example of this challenge. Against this background, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) decided to work on water as a cross-cutting theme in 2023. The EESC will adopt a set of opinions addressing the topic from sectorial perspectives and making concrete proposals with a view to building a comprehensive approach to European water policies.
Last month, Dr Paul Rübig, an EESC member, a rapporteur on the ‘Blue Deal’ and external advisor to the Water Europe board published his book “Emergency Preparedness: Time for a blue deal’’ that highlights the strategic value of water for our societies and economies. Paul collaborated with scientists, researchers, and innovative entrepreneurs to publish this knowledge-driven book that explores water-related Sustainable Development Goals, research and innovation, and emergency preparedness.
On the 3rd April, the book was officially presented at the EESC premises. Water Europe’s new Water Vision has a distinctive chapter in the book, with many Water Europe ambassadors contributing with their expertise to its development. The book is here to provide solutions, bring forward best-practice examples, and find answers to some of the most pressing issues in water management around the globe. Interested in finding out more? Click here.Read More
Water Projects Europe (WPE) will take place as a side event of the Water Innovation and Circularity Conference scheduled to be held in Athens in 7-9 June 2023 within the framework of the HYDROUSA project. This event aims to explore the transformative concepts of a Water-Smart Society and Water-Oriented Living Labs.
By discussing and sharing knowledge, the event aims to foster innovative water management practices aligned with the overarching goals of sustainability and circularity. This event is part of the ambitious HYDROUSA project, which is nearing its completion as a Horizon2020 EU funded project that provides innovative, regenerative, and circular solutions for three vital aspects: nature-based water management, resource valorisation, and local economies. It aims to create a win-win-win situation for the economy, environment, and community within the interconnected realms of water, energy, food, ecosystems and employment. To learn more about the conference, please click here.Read More
This month, Water Europe released its new position on the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)’s initiative for a EU blue deal. Water Europe welcomes this initiative to raise awareness of water and bring this topic higher on the EU agenda via a call for an EU Blue Deal.
Following up the resolution of the European Parliament calling on the European Commission to present a comprehensive water strategy and the conclusions of the Council in March 2023, underlining the importance of a strategic EU approach to water security, an EU blue Deal must embody a cross-sectoral strategy involving a wide range of European stakeholders. The European Union shall be a frontrunner in terms of water-related solutions. This EU Blue Deal shall recognise the value of water to ensure water security, sustainability, and resilience. Therefore, Europe must not close the Green Deal chapter but open a second one for a Water-Smart Strategy which will put water – the main natural resource of our society, economy, and environment – at the heart of the EU agenda.
This policy-related paper from Water Europe aims to contribute to an EU reflection on key policies for recognizing the value of water and achieving a Water-Smart Society. Over more than 20 detailed recommendations for each section, three main ones are addressed to the whole European Economic and Social Committee:
💧Nomination of an EU Vice-President for water
💧Creation of an EU water fund
💧Make water exploitation index + (WEI+) fall below 20% in every EU sub-basin
Dear Water Europe friends,
With our UN Water Conference already a couple of months behind us, one thing is certain. Policy makers and legislators are now aware of the measures that need to be taken to address the water challenges and the urgency to act now. Regulations that push and support the implementation of actions need to be put forward, and it’s hopeful that we can already count on such examples. The Government of Flanders has launched the Blue Deal to tackle water scarcity and drought by developing structural solutions, while the French President Macron also revealed an action plan of 50 measures to share, reuse and save water.
If anything else, these actions underline how urgent it is to act and get properly prepared for it. Last month, Paul Rübig, former MEP and external advisor to the Water Europe board, published his book ‘Emergency Preparedness: Time for a Blue Deal’. This book addresses the topic of emergency preparedness based on research and innovation, and explores the water-related Sustainable Development Goals.
While all the SDGs are about life and living, the SDG6 is particular about that. Linked to this, the MEP Water Group & UNESCO event held one week ago, was dedicated to this year’s World Water Development Report on ‘’Partnerships and Cooperation for Water’’ and highlighted, once again the importance of partnerships. Nobody has a solution on its own, but it is through partnerships and diversity that we can make sure to reach our goals in a speedy way.
In less than 20 days, the EU water sector will get together for our annual Water Innovation Europe 2023 conference. This year’s theme is ‘EU Water Policy: What’s Next?’ and during the conference, we will look ahead at the European Elections in 2024 and discuss the level of ambition to position water in terms of a key policy, research, and innovation topic. With our new Water Europe vision officially launched, the programme’s sessions shaped around it, and with special speakers such as the EU Commissioner Sinkevičius present at the event, this edition promises to be a special one.
Our sector can research, study, and reflect, but it also brings a lot of awareness or enthusiasm to act, and this is precisely what we need at this moment of time. I look forward to seeing all of you at Water Innovation Europe to unite our efforts and give shape to the Water-Smart Society and the future of our sector.Read More
An EU binding biomethane target in the Gas Regulation is critical to support strategic energy autonomy and climate objectives
23 May 2023
The cosignatories represent the value chain of biomethane, from producers to gas infrastructure operators and suppliers, as well as major end-use sectors, such as steelmaking, heating, food and beverage, and transport.
Ahead of the start of the trilogue on the Gas Decarbonisation Package, we call on Member States to support an ambitious and binding EU-level biomethane target of 35 bcm in 2030 in the Gas Regulation, in line with the REPowerEU Plan. Member States would be free to declinate according to their structural characteristics, resources potential and energy transition strategies.
This target, along with enabling conditions for the whole value chain, is critical to contribute to achieving decarbonisation of end uses, deliver on the Union’s 2030 energy and climate objectives and promote energy security:
-35 bcm/year of biomethane by 2030 would significantly contribute to security of supply by replacing 20% of pre-war imported natural gas volumes from Russia. Biomethane is a dispatchable and versatile energy source that can directly be used in existing gas infrastructure, appliances and equipment across sectors (buildings, industries, combined power and heat generation and transport). Its production and use rely on Europe-based, mature technologies and do not create new dependencies on critical raw materials.
– 35 bcm/year of biomethane by 2030 would provide a valuable GHG emission reduction solution for buildings, industrial energy users and fuel suppliers, complementary to renewable electricity and hydrogen. Procurement of biomethane can be done reliably via robust regulated market-based instruments such as Guarantees of Origin and Proofs of Sustainability.
– 35 bcm/year of biomethane by 2030 could also support the competitiveness of energy intensive industries exposed to very high electricity and natural gas prices, as they transition towards more sustainable energy sources.
– 35 bcm/year of biomethane by 2030 would in the short term reduce the carbon intensity of maritime and road transport, space heating and agri-food systems, contributing to their faster and affordable decarbonisation.
– 35 bcm/year of biomethane by 2030 would be a strong incentive to develop the production capacity required to process bio-waste, which must be separately collected by law (as a result of the 2018 Waste Framework Directive), by 1 January 2024 at the latest.
– 35 bcm/year of biomethane by 2030 can be sustainably produced, as the target is consistent with assessments of available sustainable feedstock. The European Commission acknowledged this by including this target in the REPowerEU Plan published in May 2022.
– A binding 35 bcm biomethane target by 2030 will contribute to predictability and investor confidence that are necessary for the biomethane value chain to deliver its full potential and achieve major economy of scale.
The cosignatories propose the introduction of a new article setting an EU binding biomethane target of 35 bcm/year, leaving flexibility to Member States to define national strategies for its achievement.
European industry associations
Registrations are now open for our awaited Water Innovation Europe 2023 conference, coming up on June 21-22 in Brussels under the theme ‘EU Water Policy: What’s Next? Top EU high-level speakers will shape a 2-days discussion on crucial topics related to water policies, providing valuable insights to drive a transformative change in the water sector and achieve a Water-Smart Society.
The UN 2023 Water Conference has now concluded but the discussion opened there is about to continue at our event. This year’s conference focuses on putting water at the heart of our next European Commission’s programme and our next years’ plans by deploying a strategy to build a European Water-Smart Society.
To know more about the main conference and register, you can visit the official webpage at this link.Read More