How can the Living Labs across Europe develop sustainable and efficient solutions for water use?


Climate change and economic or population growth – those factors create challenges to the water sector in coastal areas and beyond. Water scarcity and increasing water demand result in the overexploitation of resources, quality deterioration and regional imbalances in the availability of water resources.

To tackle these challenges, the European research project ‘building a water-smart society and economy’, short B-WaterSmart, develops and demonstrates smart technologies and circular economy approaches for the water sector. The research in the project is based on the work of six demonstration sites, called Living Labs, all across Europe. Together with research partners and local technology providers they develop and test water-smart management solutions and technologies.

The Living Lab from Alicante in Spain currently evaluates technologies for reverse osmosis brines valorisation at lab-scale. They also plan demonstration units, have first meetings for the identification of co-digestion opportunities in the territory and work on the conceptualization of a digital tool to boost water reuse.

The Living Lab in Bodo, Norway focuses on zero emission urban development and improved management of the wastewater stream and air quality.

East Frisia in Germany is building a pilot plant for the reuse of process water in the dairy industry. Furthermore, digital tools for short term water demand and a regional water allocation tool are conceptualized.

The Flanders Living Lab in Belgium is designing two demonstration sites. One is about stormwater management and the use of a storage water buffer basin for agriculture. The other one is about potential effluent reuse, including water quality and purification requirements.

Lisbon in Portugal is preparing pilot plants for water reclamation for beer production, non-potable urban water reuse including a risk assessment for health and groundwater, and water-energy certificates for buildings and neighbourhoods. Lisbon also started seminars to integrate the B-WaterSmart work in the partner’s long term strategies/activities and foster synergies between them.

The Living Lab Venice in Italy is mainly working on the pilot plants for industrial water reuse from wastewater treatment plant effluent and nutrient recovery via two stripping processes and anaerobic co-digestion.

In order to implement those solutions strongly in the practice of the water sector, technical and digital solutions, as well as new business models, are jointly developed by all project partners. The overall aim is to accelerate the transformation to water-smart economies and societies in coastal Europe and beyond by reducing the use of freshwater resources, improving the recovery and reuse of resources, and increase water use efficiency.

To learn more, please download the brochure and visit the official project’s website.


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