Hans Goossens, WE President’s editorial
Dear Water Europe friends,
We are already one full month into the new year, and this year will be marked by activities that extend beyond the span of a single year. The European elections are approaching in June, playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of European policies. For the water agenda, this presents a significant opportunity to elevate water’s position on the policy agenda. This could result, among other things, in a more holistic approach to water, improved legislation, and funding opportunities to drive the transition to a European Water-Smart Society. Additionally, it could lead to increased funding for water-related research and innovation.
2024 has also started with great news. This week, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the recast of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. After 30 years, this new legislation finally adapts wastewater management to current water challenges. This is a crucial step towards achieving circular, green, and smart water management.
In parallel with these developments, we have been organizing several activities. First on the list is the side event that Water Europe is co-organizing with the EC and UNEP at the 6th Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly on “Shaping a water-resilient world with water security for all.” The event will provide an opportunity to highlight the consequences of unsustainable water management and ecosystem degradation compounded by the effects of climate change. It will also address key tools and practices to tackle these causes, moving towards global water resilience. The event will tangibly contribute to the preparation of the next UN Water Conference in 2026.
Our Water Market Europe event is also returning on the 26th and 27th of March in Brussels, with a focus on the efficient extraction of water and valuable resources from desalination brines, urban, and industrial wastewater streams. This edition of WME is sponsored by our EU-funded WATER-MINING project. While WME 2024 is on the horizon, the preparations for our annual Water Innovation Europe 2024 conference have already started.
2024 holds great promise for the European water sector. It’s on us now to make sure that we seize all opportunities ahead and make an impact. The realization of our vision of a Water-Smart Society is not a quick fix and requires passion and perseverance. It is the performance in our everyday work that will lead us there. Enjoy the journey!