Water Europe (WE) Working Groups are the operational level for members’ collaboration and coordination in WE. They are fully member-driven and organised around a wide variety of topics of strategic, thematic or technological nature. They are considered the backbone of our WE community that provides technical and scientific inputs on a series of themes that voice the water-related challenges, needs and opportunities of each respective field at a European level.
Their formal recognition depends on a bi-annual Work Plan and an Annual Report to be delivered in the context of the Water Innovation Europe conference. Water Europe facilitates their operation by a number of supportive actions, including the hosting of physical meetings 3 times per year back to back with our main events, representation of WE at European and international conferences etc.
The main scope of this working group is to improve R&D activities on innovative sensors and explore all future applications and goal that new smart meters can offer to water utilities also developing tools, best practice, software and devices. SWANSET WG aims to identify future trend in the sector contributing to enhance water services and solve water-related global challenges according to Water Europe (WE) Vision.
Water smart sensors and innovative management tools have a key role in a water-smart society. According to WE objective, the SWANSET WG will enable the collaboration between different stakeholders to identify up to date challenges related to water quality and quantity issue. This activity can facilitate cooperation between universities, research centres, water utilities and companies to test new solutions/products identifying RTD projects that can contribute to empower water sector.
Furthermore, water monitoring and smart sensors based technologies contribute to identify water conservation strategies and manage water quality, according to WE Vision that aims to avoid water scarcity and pollution of water.
The scope of the working group is to make health an important element in EU water related policies and boost the R&I methodology to contribute to the achievement of a Water Smart Society in which the value of water is recognized and protected as a precious resource for human health and well-being.
The WG will analyse and provide clear advice to the water value chain on selected areas of interest that are in need for further policy and R&I coordination and support. The WG will coordinate and cooperate with the Water Europe collaboration matrix (WGs and VLTs) with the aim to prioritise the areas of interest for the entire membership and strategic stakeholders of Water Europe.
In line with the WE Cluster structure, the working group contributes to the WE vision implementation on the following key components:
2, S2: “Technologies for safeguarding surface and drinking water from pollution”
6, S3: “Enhanced sharing knowledge and best practices in water”
During the last years, the groups has exchange on different topics (eg. Inventory of contamination sources relevant to bathing water quality, early warning of short-term pollution events, control measures and indicators). Its members also participate in external and informal expert meetings for the revision of bathing water directive.
Write recommendations for revision of bathing water directive (2006/7/EC), Key comp. 6, S3 “Enhanced sharing knowledge and best practices in water”
Market review of online monitoring solutions, Key comp. 2, S2 “Technologies for safeguarding surface and drinking water from pollution”
Propose forecasting Tool for bathing water quality, Key 2, S2 and Key 6, S3
Likewise, the WG seeks to pave the way for the implementation of appropriate solutions by improving the framework conditions (e.g. better regulations, funding, water quality and quantity, social and economic aspects, etc.)
The specific objectives for the current period are:
SO1: Increase interaction and exchange of knowledge between members
SO2: Enhance cooperation among members in R&D&i projects and commercial & business projects
SO3: Creation of scientific contents: a database will be created containing scientific publications, public reports, legislations, etc.
SO4: Identification of problems/needs of the agri-food sector in the water field. This will include the development of a survey on water-related problems/needs/peculiarities specifically focused on agri-food. Based on the results of this survey we may define priorities for further work.
SO5: Dissemination of WG activities to promote visibility of “water in agri-food”.
The last years, the working group has taken part in the successful launch of the Ling Lab L2O which aims to explore strategies for increasing business opportunities in the field of waste water reuse. The scope is to enable a fruitful market exploitation of water innovation through the creation of outreach business cases. It also participated in the activation of 5 demonstration sites to foster the business development, offering key result to contribute to the WE definition of Living Labs. These results had been exchanged in a meeting with EU officials.
Create an Online database of information sources in water and Agrifood
Set a catalogue of WG members activities: R&D and commercial
Report on priorities for further work on water related to agri-food sector
Preparation and submission of R&D proposal(s)
It aims to encourage advanced water treatment solution to mobilize new sources of water in a sustainable way, decentralized green infrastructure that secures long-term water resilience and sustainability, increases water availability and quality, and reduces the impact on natural water resources.
The specific objectives for the current period are:
Develop seed consortia to work on project proposals on specific themes
Advance on R&D topics
Dissemination of results, ongoing activities and technologies
Analyze economic barriers of renewable energy desalination as a first step to propose cost frameworks towards new economic models for sustainable and resilient water supply
Assess the application of renewable energy desalination in (agricultural intensive) basin management.
The last years, the working groups defined themes to create seed consortia in order to work on pre-proposals. The working group meetings were also the occasion to present proposals to EU calls, PRIMA, INTERREG Atlantic programme and VINNOVA.
Scientific publication on the reduction of energy consumption of decentralized desalination
Analysis of economic barriers for Renewable Energy Desalination
Organization of a specific session on Renewable Energy Desalination in International Conference of the EDS
Activities in Sweden to raise awareness in the water industry
Engaging agricultural stakeholders and basin management bodies for the application of RE-Desalination
The objectives are as follows:
To give the opportunity to members of the WG to present their concepts, researches and projects to other members.
To make consortia related to Green-infrastructures calls in the regional and EU level.
To provide input to Grey-Green infrastructure cluster
Four fact-sheet on Green infrastructure
The members of this group contribute to the creation of a water smart society in line with the WE vision by:
Reducing the impact of European society on our natural water resources by 50%.
Delivering the true value of water for our society, the economy and the environment.
Boosting the European water market as well as the global competitiveness of European water industries.
Securing society’s long-term resilience, stability, sustainability and security with regard to water.
Write an evaluation document, with input from various stakeholders in member states on the UWWTD
The objectives of this working group are:
Gain and sustain a leading role in the implementation of the Water & ICT European strategy and action plans.
Build, share and foster a joint vision on Water & ICT across all the WG members.
Foster collaboration among WG members to benefit from a collective approach in coming EC-funded calls.
To visualize the relevance of the Water Value Chain as a highly relevant scenario for evaluating and demonstrating Digital technologies.
To collaborate with external organizations (AIOTI) / WG that can complement the Water & ICT WG activities.
Working on EU calls
Develop the collaboration with AIOTI
Develop a roadmap and action plan for the working group
Update of national list of projects on emerging compounds.
Identify and list the priorities for the working groups for the next EU R&D programme.
Prepare fact-sheets on the priorities for HorizonEurope in line with the working group.
Other specific objectives are also in line with the scope of the working groups:
Linking EU Water Sector with the SDG Agenda especially concerning research, innovation and capacity development
Support WE Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) on KC6 challenges (Horizontal Activities) related with international cooperation, especially innovative solutions and business models to achieve SDGs
The WG contributes to KC6 especially on sub-challenge 5 (International Cooperation): “Support identification and implementation of highly transformative water innovations in support of the SDGs through policy support, innovation capacity and active/effective partnerships.”
During the last years, the working groups participated in different initiatives with linkages to international cooperation between EU and beyond. A clear goal was the project for EU-India call on February 2018. A representative participated in different events and meeting such as the GSTIC conference and the world water forum.
Finalise the already started publication with title: “The Role of the EU Water Sector for the Achievement of the water-related SDGs in terms of Science, Technology and Innovation”
Response to and participation in relevant projects, consultation processes and events. The focus will be participation in the RTD consultation (e.g. related to a Water Mission in “Horizon Europe”), in DEVCO consultations (boost Water in DEVCO agendas), participation in GSTIC conference and other ad-hoc events, joint formulation of proposals in the remaining part of H2020 programme.
The objectives of the group for the next year are:
Strengthen the (European) Nexus Project Cluster, an initiative to team up for increased and more impacting communication and dissemination of the Nexus. The water dimension of the Nexus is made explicit during science-policy discussion in Brussels.
A policy brief on the Nexus concept is released to improve good governance at different scales (e.g. regional, national, European and transboundary levels). Our focus is at resource efficiency, a circular and low carbon economy in Europe, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.
Short-list of advanced technological and social innovations to create synergies between water and the Nexus sectors. This action will address the nexus concept to search for effective combinations of technologies and business models to better understand the value of water.
During the last years the nexus community started the inventory of nexus projects, with a focus to identify the vision towards the nexus of water-energy-food-ecosystems.
State of the art overview of nexus research actions.
Organise a science-policy workshop.
Write a nexus policy brief.
Develop an overview of water innovations from nexus projects and their potential benefits.
The objectives of the WG ESS are:
To improve the understanding of Ecosystem Services
To influence EU policy and calls for proposals
To facilitate joint initiatives in the field of Ecosystem Services
Last years the members of the WG met EU project Dessin to underline how ESS, Nature-Based Solutions and Hybrid Grey-Green Infrastructure best practices, approaches and methodologies can contribute to innovation in the water sector and help tackle water-related challenges, such as water quality and water scarcity. They also participated in the Water Exploratory Workshop in Dublin to debate on how to improve ecosystem sustainability and human well-being. The working groups worked also on different EU calls.
The objective of the WG RR are:
Identify, better understand, define and update the SIRA challenges related to technologies, incentives and business models for the Value in Water.
Define actions to foster and accelerate the process to bring research and innovations from the SIRA to market.
Provide recommendations for structuring and selecting real-life multi-stakeholder living lab environments (including outside of Europe) in which research and innovation results, including technologies, incentives and business models for the Value in Water, can be validated and migration paths to the future water-smart society experimented.
Provide input for and support the promotion of the WE Vision and its benefits towards EU and national policy makers, as well as towards the general public.
Meeting with DG RTD on questionnaire urban circular bio-economy.
- energy generation (hydropower or from waste water sludge);
- energy use by water systems (water supply and distribution-e.g. pump scheduling, wastewater systems, irrigation networks, industrial systems);
- smart water and energy (for sensors, at household level and as part of the smart city);
- the water-energy Nexus for policy and decision making.
In particular, the WG intends to identify and point out gaps and future trends in research and innovation (e.g. in the domain of energy optimisation, which is a main priority), aligning and contributing to the work of the Water Europe cluster groups.
White paper to be submitted to the WE secretariat at the end of Year 1
Target groups for the WG Water Distribution Infrastructure are owners, operators and managers of the systems, i.e. water utilities and utility service providers (public and private) and building owners, property managers and maintenance service providers.
From a systems perspective the scope coverage is from source to tap in the distribution, while from a management perspective it is about asset management and development, intelligence in network management and business model innovation for ensuring sustainable service levels and customer centricity.
Some of the key challenges identified so far are:
• Securing sufficient investment into ageing infrastructure
• Enabling proactive and predictive management and maintenance of networks
• Water quality issues (microbes, chemicals, micro-plastics and salt)
• Increasing the rate of digitalization and intelligence in water distribution infrastructure
These challenges will be addressed whilst taken into consideration key policy directives and initiatives like e.g. the European Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan.
On a high level, the stepping-stones of the activities of the WG are the business challenges and the policy frameworks and directives. Together, they provide the boundary conditions and scoping as well as help in defining more detailed activity roadmap. The near term activities of the WG will be to do a stakeholder survey with utilities and draft a position white paper.
The new concepts will be tested in EU project together with the best available technologies. Innovations and improvements. This all together with optimized water management protocols. Industrial water standards are often even higher than drinking water standards. This together with unique qualities of sources and requirement means that water treatment cost is reasonable high compared to other water users. The working group has the ambition to lower industrial Water (reuse) treatment cost by modularization and standardization of water.
Mission driven paper Paper “Worth of water”
- Screening of initiatives of quantification metrics and developing a quantifiable performance index for water security
- Integrated water resource management, including concept for diversifying water supply sources and closing the water cycle
- Integrated water quality management and Water Safety Plans
- Integration of protection against water related hazards in the design of water systems
- Exporting water security expertise to developing countries
The water security theme is at the heart of the Water Europe Vision and SIRA on creating a future-proof water smart society that includes four concepts: the Multiple Water concept, the Digital Water concept, the Value-in-Water concept, and the underpinning concept of creating Hybrid Grey-Green Infrastructures. However, water security goes beyond water supply and sanitation, by integrating the concepts with protection of life and property. This directly relates to the fourth concept of the WE Vision/SIRA, by giving the extra dimension of including hazard control and (climate) resilience to the hybrid Green-Grey infrastructures and their embedding in the water systems.
White paper on Water Security
White paper on Identification and prioritization of R&D topics Summary of interfaces between other WE WGs and Clusters
With the WG HC we want to support and accelerate the innovative water sector with the creation of a human capital agenda. This WG will collect the knowledge and will set up and supports collaborations on human capital to support the technical innovations and the creation of a water smart society. The knowledge and programmes of this WG can be of service to all other working groups within Water Europe, since they all build upon their human capital.
The WG HC will also connect with the other WGs to collect information on their needs and knowledge for the skills agenda for the future. It will create Water Europe as inclusive organization with not only eye for the technical view of innovations but also room to development of innovations to the human capital.
Workshop Policy brief
Implementation of WE Water Vision, including realization of a European Water-Smart Society
Water reuse for urban, agriculture and industrial usages;
Water efficiency of industrial processes (quality, volumes, energy);
- European Green Deal (Clean Water action plan, Biodiversity, Circular Economy, zero pollution, CAP reform, Climate neutrality);
- Proposed Regulation for water reuse for agriculture irrigation;
- Review of Industrial Emissions Directive (IED);
- Sectoral BREFs documents (BAT conclusions)
Q4 2019 / Q1 2020 – Preparation of position paper on water efficiency and reuse;
Q1 2020 – Preparation of WE written contribution after Final IED Stakeholder workshop;
Q1/Q2 2020 – Contribution to WE reactive statement to European Green Deal policies (clean water action, circular economy, biodiversity, etc)
Q1/Q2 2020 – Contribution to WE Statement on publication of revised Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (if revised)
Q1/Q2 2020 – contribution to WE Statement on publication of revised Water Framework Directive (if revised)