Urban Waste Water: EU Commission refers Spain to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its failure
On April 6th, the European Commission decided to refer Spain to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to comply with the Urban Waste Water Directive.
The Directive aims at protecting the environment from the adverse effects of urban wastewater coming from domestic and certain industrial sectors. Under the Directive, towns and cities are required to put in place the necessary infrastructure in order to collect and treat their urban waste waters, thus eliminating or reducing all their undesirable effects when they are discharged into water bodies.
If you want to find more info, read the official press release.Read More
Water Europe is launching a new collaboration tool for its members, an all-in-one Water Europe Community platform with an app that is here to open the way for stronger collaboration among WE members.
The new platform will enable our members to manage their membership information, to connect and network, discuss relevant topics, receive important information about the WE events and manage their participation in them. A mobile app will shortly become available, too.Read More
Last week, Water Europe was invited by the Slovenian Government to debate with the innovative water stakeholders at the Dubai Expo 2020 in the Slovenian pavilion on climate change and groundwater. It was a fruitful exchange on several water-related topics such as public health, drinking and bathing water, circular wastewater management and digitalisation. This water week at Dubai Expo was an opportunity to expand the discussion on water-smart solutions with other innovators from European member states as Hungary, Czechia, Poland, Estonia and so on.
Moreover, Water Europe was also invited to speak to a Symposium on water security by Trends Research on the role of Water Europe for cooperation opportunities and advocacy in Europe and beyond. It was an opportunity to highlight the collective job of our members and partners (eg. EU Water Alliance) and to ensure the right quality and quantity of water for our economy, society and environment through research & innovation. Lastly, with the support of the EU institutions, Water Europe shared its experience during a conference organised by the Government of Guinea, UNDP and the EU, raising the need for a Water-Smart Society and EU water-related projects.
For more information, please contact Loic Charpentier.Read More
MULTISOURCE is organising the COST Action Circular Cities summer school to be held in Lyon, France from 29/06 – 01/07.
The course’s title is “Accelerating the transition to circular cities with nature-based solutions for water treatment” and will provide a holistic view on the usage of NBS to address circularity and circular cities. More than discussing concepts and state-of-the-art, the course will also expand on the different key dimensions key for the implementation of NBS for urban water management.
The dates of the course are: 29 June 2022 – 01 July 2022. The course is limited to 20 participants. If you want to apply, check all the info here.Read More
You have been newly elected as Water Europe board member of college C ‘Utilities’- Could you tell us what drives you personally to have this role at Water Europe? What do you want to achieve?
It’s a great honour and responsibility to be a part of the Water Europe (WE) board as a representative of college C ‘Utilities’. WE is recognized as one of the most influential voices and promoters of water-related innovation in Europe and aggregates an important ecosystem for fostering innovation, policy advising and knowledge sharing, contributing to a Water Smart Society, in which the value of water and related materials are recognized and protected. I fully believe that this vision will only be reached if we connect people and institutions and synchronise efforts; therefore, my motivation and efforts will be targeting the engagement of valuable partners to this WE ecosystem, and the achieving of a sustainable growth of WE’s diversity and influence.
Representing the utilities at Water Europe, which ones do you consider the key challenges and the most burning needs of this college and how do you contribute to addressing these in the context of Water Europe?
Despite all the current and future challenges that the water sector, and particularly the utilities, are facing, along with the growing understanding of the need to deliver smarter, cheaper, more resilient and environmentally sensitive services, our sector is recognised as risk-averse, very conservative with low innovation openness and highly regulated without exogenous innovation stimulus. We need to increase the utilities’ willingness and openness to innovation, and I believe that my previous experiences, managing and fostering open networks of innovation in the utility context, could be of value, concerning the completion of this mandate with a more open and innovative College.
Utilities are traditionally regarded as the problem owners & the ones in need of innovative solutions. How can utilities become more ambitious in adopting existing innovations & seizing the new opportunities presented?
In addition to problem owners, utilities are typically asset managers and account for one of the parts that is most interested in solving those challenges in innovative, smart, sustainable, and resilient ways. For this reason, the living labs are important tools to support demo-type research and innovation, allowing SME and research teams to develop water-oriented solutions in real-world and realistic environments. Furthermore, the living Labs enable the utilities and solutions providers to work together in a proactive learning and innovation ecosystem with R&D continuity and reproducibility. Moreover, the real field test is an important trust test when it comes to innovative solutions.
Based on our vision, Water Europe aims to build a Water Smart Society. From your point of view, which actions shall we put forward to make this happen and how could utilities contribute to that?
Our vision includes some key concepts, such as water value, sustainable management of water sources, broad engagement in the governance of water, fostering of a water-based circular economy, resource efficiency and resilience against the impact of climate change events. To attain the concretization of this vision, supported by new legal and regulatory frameworks, the role of utilities is critical, as these entities may create the bridge between innovation (in technology and business models) and field application. Finally, it is crucial to emphasise the central importance of shaping the human capital present in our utilities, transforming them into innovation agents and change inductors, open to new technologies, processes and approaches.Read More
Industrial end-users are having to face up to a reality of greater water-related business risks, much of which is being accelerated by climate change. Meanwhile, pressure is also mounting from more ESG-conscious investors, consumers and regulators, pushing end-users to implement more sustainable water management practices. The rationale for a more circular water strategy can be ignored less and less.
It has been an arduous journey for water in the world of ESG. Despite water’s critical role in industrial operations, goals have often taken a backseat to other sustainability efforts targeting areas such as energy consumption or carbon emissions. However, internal and external pressures are driving industrial players, particularly the global brands, to focus much clearer attention on water stewardship. The total number of established objectives, whether the indicator is reducing water consumption or increasing water reuse, is growing significantly year-on-year among top revenue earners.
The challenge for end-users now is that many of the quick wins for water use reduction or becoming more circular have been implemented. It means that going forward, businesses are going to have to be a lot more sophisticated in their water management. This is creating opportunities for both technology and alternative business models.
One example technology is high-recovery reverse osmosis, which contributes towards goals of reducing water consumption and discharge volumes. This approach can also help businesses achieve fit-for-purpose water qualities for reuse applications. Interest is rising across numerous industrial verticals; however, these systems also create more concentrated reject which end-users need to take care of. As this brine contains many useful salts and metals, the interest in refining the stream is growing, thanks to efforts by outfits such as Neom in Saudi Arabia and the Zero Brine project in Europe.
Meanwhile, outsourcing – where the customer buys an outcome (e.g. treated water) rather than a physical asset – can help industrial end-users reach ambitious water targets, leaving the plant in the hands of a water specialist. However, rather than just building a treatment plant and running it under a traditional build-own-operate model, an emerging Technology-as-a-Service model puts the technology centre stage, which is increasingly the reality of these projects, as digital optimisation, monitoring and control become commonplace.
Emphasising how a focus on water management contributes to an overall net-zero carbon target is also an important tool in the arsenal. For example, implementing anaerobic digestion yields biogas, which can be used to power treatment operations or upgraded to biomethane to be injected into the grid.
Water is a critical part of European aims to reach climate neutrality and a circular economy by 2050. The industrial community has recognised such, and the water sector is ready to answer the call.Read More
Water Europe is opening the registrations for the new International Water Dialogues 2022 event ”International Cooperation through a Water-Oriented Living Lab (WOLL) Approach”, coming up online on the 26 and 27 of April 2022.
The IWD event aims to raise awareness about the main water challenges and analyse the progress done between the European Union and the world, particularly with China, India, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.
The objectives of the event are:
✔ Exchange and replication of good practices at country and regional levels in Water-Oriented LLs contexts;
✔ Analyse the water international cooperation related actions;
✔ Review the main water challenges and their relevant implications;
✔ Support ongoing EU water-related programmes for International Cooperation.
If you want to find more info and register for the event, please check the full announcement.Read More
Today we all celebrate the World Water Day 2022 and Water Europe is making active efforts to raise awareness of the importance of our groundwater resources for our society and economy. This morning, Water Europe addressed an open letter to the Members of the European Parliament calling on them to protect our water resources by adopting a Water-Smart Society and recognising the true value of water.
According to the EEA, groundwater abstraction has increased significantly in the last 30 to 40 years. Until now we have been able to rely on groundwater, but the often invisible deterioration of the groundwater quality, through salinization or pollution, has become already a major problem in many European countries. Groundwater is key to a resilient and sustainable future and needs to be used and protected in an integral way.
On such a day, it’s key to embrace our societal responsibility and build a Water-Smart Europe where all available water sources are managed in such a way that we achieve a resilient and autonomous Europe. Read the full letter below.
New approach to enable global leadership of EU standards promoting values and a resilient, green and digital Single Market
The European Commission presented a new Standardisation Strategy outlining our approach to standards within the Single Market as well as globally.
The strategy aims to strengthen the EU’s global competitiveness, to enable a resilient, green and digital economy and to enshrine democratic values in technology applications.
The compliance with harmonised standards guarantees that products are in line with EU law for a climate-neutral, resilient and circular economy. By setting global standards, the EU exports its values while providing EU companies with an important first-mover advantage.Read More
Remarks by Commissioner McGuinness at the press conference on the EU Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act
”I think today we are taking another important step in the transition to a climate-neutral economy.” – said the Commissioner for financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness, at the press conference on the EU Taxonomy Complementary Climate Delegated Act.
According to McGuinness, we are depending on private investments to contribute to our climate goals and the EU Taxonomy represents a financial tool in case to increase transparency in the financial markets. The main goal is to move away from particularly harmful energy sources like coal, which today still accounts for 15% of electricity production in Europe, and to accelerate the move from high carbon to lower-carbon energy sources.
She talked about setting out how gas and nuclear could make a contribution in the difficult transition to climate neutrality and that strict conditions are put in place for their inclusion in the taxonomy. They are subject to clear limits and phase-out periods.
The next steps also include further Delegated Acts on the other environmental objectives of the Taxonomy like water, circular economy, pollution prevention and biodiversity. If you want to know more, check out the full statement.Read More