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.