Hans Goossens, Summer editorial 2023
Dear Water Europe friends,
We count some weeks after the conclusion of a very enthusiastic 2023 edition of our Water Innovation Europe conference. The event, if anything else, clearly demonstrated the existing awareness of the need to push water higher on the political agenda. With the EU commission’s mandate coming to an end next year, it was just the right time to raise the question: EU Water Policy- what’s next?
The conference brought forward the need to push for legislation that allows the achievement of a Water-Smart Society with circular water, digital water, inclusive water, multiple waters, and resilient water. At the same time, it also demonstrated how many things we can do in the here and now. We don’t have to wait for a Blue Deal and a new legislation to fight against the climate crisis. We can already seize existing opportunities and must take action now!
There is no green without blue, and there is no blue without green. If we look at how we can make a resilient water society and infrastructure, we need to rebalance with nature. Water is part of nature and helps us having and maintaining a healthy nature. And a healthy nature on its term helps us having healthy water resources. When it e.g. comes to groundwater, a good state of the ecosystem helps us keep the water clean and restore the good quality of our waters. Blue and green are always interlinked.
Commissioner Sinkevičius, who delivered the conference’s keynote speech, demonstrated a broad understanding of our challenges and the need to act quickly and implement the measures to fight against climate extremes and ensure that we build resilience in the ecosystem. Besides clear awareness of the need for action, he also showed his ambition for Europe to take a leading and exemplary role for the other continents throughout this process.
One of the conference’s highlights was also the recognition of the five innovation award winners who all had very valuable proposals in their categories. Of course, there could only be one winner for each category, but it has been very positive to receive that many proposals of such a high quality which made it really difficult for us to select. This is a great sign of the innovation capability present, and that is exactly what’s needed for the Water-Smart Society. Innovation builds on fertile knowledge as it brings new technologies and new insights into implementation. Without implementation, there is no innovation. Only science and technology. That’s why we put so much emphasis on the living labs.
The next meeting, now, of our community is Water Knowledge Europe that is coming from the 17th to the 19th of October and for which we have already started the preparations. In the meantime, the summer is ahead of us and regardless of whether we go to the sea, mountains or choose for a city trip, water will be there. With such observations, these holidays can be inspiring on the role of water in the local ecosystem, its impact on our future and the type of measures we need to take to ensure that the future will be water-smart. With this, I wish you all an enjoyable and restful summer break!