President’s Editorial, March 2021
Dear Water Europe family,
This month, Water Europe has also participated in the World Water Day 2021 celebrations dedicated to the theme ‘Valuing Water’. There are several different views and perspectives of what “value” specifically means and how each one of us values water. Still though, water and its values are appearing in every single part of our lives, from cooking a meal and searching on google to our employment, economy and our planet’s health. None of these values should be overlooked and each and every one of them needs to be properly weighted. Yet, we have to go even a step further, realizing the central importance of water and what this means to how we treat, manage and make best use of water. At Water Europe, we embrace all values of water and we go that step further by striving to build a Water-Smart Society in which the true value of water is realised and recognised, putting the conclusions of this analysis into best practice while promoting a better water governance. Please visit our video on World Water Day 2021 on YouTube.
The first actions towards promoting a Water-Smart Society are of course the creation of Smart Water knowledge.
The online Spring Edition of Water Knowledge Europe 2021 took place last week with 360 participants from 35 countries. With information on the main EU funding programmes, insights on digital water and cybersecurity challenges and solutions, presentations of innovative technologies and projects ahead of their time, 13 Working Group meetings and 2 extra workshops, we can only say that last week gave us a much-needed boost of new and fresh ideas and ample collaboration and networking opportunities. The stage is thus set to begin preparing the ground for our summer conference, Water Innovation Europe 2021 which is scheduled this year under the theme: EU Water-Smart Society for a Global Leadership and will be organised on 14-18 June 2021.
A second action towards promoting a Water Smart Society should be putting the knowledge created to good use, implementing solutions on the ground.
The Water Europe Board approved recently a new strategy for the WE Market programme centred around the concept of Water-Oriented Living Labs (WoLLs). The most important feature of this new strategy is the aim to create a new category of Living Labs around water which we have termed Water Europe Living Labs (WELLs). WELLs will be legal entities that engage in a long-term relationship with Water Europe to implement the WE strategy on a Water-Smart Society. A WELL should be based on a joint (WELL and WE) strategic plan, and include at least two key dimensions, both being crucial for its success: water-smart goals and citizen involvement.
A third and last action to promote a Water Smart Society will be our continued contribution to and compromise with Europe’s water-related legislation and regulation.
Following the European Commission’s consultation on the Industrial Emission Directive concluded last week, Water Europe released its new position paper ‘A New Industrial Emissions Directive: Mastering water efficiency and reuse challenges’. The Industrial Emission Directive has proven its added value with the industrial emissions being decreased over the past decade in Europe. However, it is now time to focus on pollution reduction to water and soil and improve water efficiency. Therefore, Water Europe has welcomed the initiative of the European Commission to update this directive and has suggested ways through which a new Industrial Emissions Directive can contribute to a Water-Smart Society. You may read the new position paper here.
Everything we do has a purpose. We talk water.