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Cofunded by the European Union

The City of Mechelen, one of the Water4All partners allowed discovering their “Living Lab” and how they give back the water its “rights” by restoring wetlands and canals and how it also improves the quality of life of residents.

As a side event of Water4All kick-off meeting (October 13), the City of Mechelen organised a visit to this beautiful city where challenges and opportunities posed by water are observable, even by the untrained eye.

The walking tour started with the surroundings of the city, which are natural reserves. the visit continued with a walk to the centre of Mechelen where the River Dyle runs in and out of the city.

In terms of activities, the City of Mechelen has collaborated on initiatives to better integrate water, nature and biodiversity. The benefits to society and the environment are already visible. This long-term sustainable project is still in development.

The implementation of three different European cooperation initiatives since 2000  has improved life quality and nature respect.

  • Water in historic city centres, Interreg West-Europe: It revitalised the function of watercourses in Mechelen city.
  • Water resilient cities, Interreg 2 seas: it manages heavy rainfall and creates buffer capacity in the built. Seven old river canals in the inner city area were also reopened, and old quay walls were restructured.
  • Wetlands 4 Cities, Life Climate: this current programme aims to infiltrate extra water into the soil to strengthen the sponge effect and preserve wetlands. They are a protection against flooding and water scarcity. They also store CO2, provide green air conditioning in overheated urban areas and are a biodiversity hotspot.


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The Water4All Partnership - Water Security for the Planet - is a funding programme for scientific research in freshwater. It aims to tackle water challenges to face climate change, help to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and boost the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

It is co-funded by the European Union within the frame of the Horizon Europe programme (a key funding programme for research and innovation). The Partnership duration is for seven years from 2022.

The Water4All objective is to enable water security at a large scale and in the long term. Its goal is also to tackle water issues in a holistic frame. 

All forms of life on earth need water. All human activities operate with this resource. Water is part of our everyday life. It is also integrated within urban and countryside landscapes. It is one of the most valuable elements we share with plants and animals.

These simple facts must be kept in mind to understand the Water4All ambition.

This resource is weakened in many places due to climate changes, and human habits. We know that we can improve the way we use water. Everyone has a role to play and especially the scientific research community.

Scientific research is the heart of the Partnership as It is a powerful tool to improve knowledge on preserving, restoring, and managing this essential resource. 

International cooperation is also needed as water has no borders on Earth and runs from one country to another.

Water4All brings together a broad and cohesive group of 90 partners from 33 countries in the European Union and beyond. This consortium gathers partners from the whole water Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) chain.