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Cofunded by the European Union

Update - Water4All and WaterCampus Leeuwarden cohosted the European Green Week Partner Event 2024, which took place on May 30 in The Netherlands House of Provinces.

The meeting room was fully booked and there was plenty of room for networking during coffee breaks, networking reception and a networking dinner. A great opportunity to engage with Water4All partners and engage with additional stakeholders and organizations.

John Bell, director Healthy Planet of DG RTD, was the keynote speaker, which opened with an inspiring a lively speech, highlighting the vital importance of water for many European sectors. As regards to water resilience, it has become more and more apparent that water in its various aspects, water scarcity, floods, clean freshwater supplies have become some of the main challenges in view of climate change adaptation. At the same time over the past years a lot has been achieved in research and innovation and now is the time to move these inspiring examples. from niche to norm.

Ariane Blum, CEO of Water4All, welcomed all participants to the Water4All cohosted session and shared the latest developments of the Water4All partnership which involves 90 partners and has just transformed from phase 1 to phase 2, which will run from 1st June 2024 to May 31st  2026.

Moving from niche to norm linked well with the first session in which water resilience was addressed through the award winning source separated sanitation system Recolab in Helsingborg, which was presented by Hamse Kjerstadius from NSVA. After which Luzette Kroon dijkgraaf at Wetterskip Fryslân presented the intent implement a similar system in city district Spoordok in Leeuwarden, also building forward on prior experience from the city of Sneek, located close by. These type of systems are able to efficiently recover nutrients, biogas and heat, while producing high quality effluent with swimming pool water quality.

Maria Jose Chesa Marro from the Municipality of Barcelona shared how they intend to reduce drinking water consumption through mandatory grey water recycling systems to address the prevailing water scarcity. To conclude Thorjørn Larssen, Deputy Managing Director at NIVA, shared the several challenges which need to be solved to improve the water quality and ecology of the Oslo Fjord.

In session 2 Claire Baffert, senior water policy officer at WWF, shared the importance of nature based solutions to address the water resilience at a regional or catchment level. Too many locations in Europe are gradually losing water (both in terms of green and blue water). Cees Buisman, executive board member at Wetsus, European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology, shared the latest breakthrough technologies at Wetsus to improve soil health, the sponge effect of soil and enhance natural rainfall through enhanced evaporation at sea. A truly inspiring example of possible large scale interventions in regreening and re-wetting, especially Mediterranean regions.

In session 3 Bernard van Nuffel, president of Aqua Publica Europea and Deputy Mayor of Jette highlighted the various water needs from existing users and also emerging industries that the event offers a great opportunity to explore different perspectives, nature-based solutions, technology, and partnerships to achieve ambitious goals in the water domain.

Michel Saakes, Applied Research Professor at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, shared an innovative solution for direct seawater electrolysis which is chemical free and involves no brine or chlorine formation. This could provide a sustainable water supply to the highly thirsty Green Hydrogen sector.

Guillermo Zaragoza, Plataforma Solar de Almeria, Sustainable Desalination Living Lab in H2020 WaterMining, shared the latest on resource recovery from brines and the use of PV installations and Concentrated Solar Power, combined with molten salts as heat storage, for 24-hour green hydrogen production.

The event concluded with two last contributions in which firstly Bernard De Potter, head of agency and water director for the Flemish Region, highlighted the intensive work of the Belgian presidency of the European Council on the water topic, which culminated in Blue Deals, both on Flemish and at EU level.

The paradigm is shifting from the approach of “getting unwanted water out to sea as soon as possible” to “keeping water on land as long as possible and making more water available”.

Regarding the Blue Deal in Flanders, it’s an ambitious program aimed at combating water scarcity and drought. Rather than focusing solely on the causes, the Blue Deal seeks to develop structural solutions by encouraging collaboration across various activities. In this initiative, cross-learning from different sectors is crucial, allowing knowledge valorization to create a significant impact.

Joachim D’Eugenio, Adviser for Zero Pollution, DG Environment shared the latest regarding the WFD, DWD, UWWTD, and the Industrial Emission Directive. He stressed the need to move beyond planning and actively execute these measures to safeguard European water resilience.

To ensure sustainable progress, we must invest in skill development, knowledge transfer, and the expertise of individuals driving technological developments. By doing so, we can maintain and enhance our collective understanding.

Water can affect the economy in bigger scale, and for this reason the EU has initiated a campaign called “See Water Differently.” This campaign aims to raise awareness about water’s importance and encourage innovative approaches.

Other news

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.