Water Smart Territories (WST) is a new S3 platform focused on Industrial Modernisation. Three ERRIN member regions: Aragon (ES), Centre Val de Loire (FR) and Friesland (NL) became leading regions of the partnership. Is your region active in water challenges and solutions? Is there a water related cluster in your region? If the answer is yes, the leaders are currently looking for partner regions that wish to collaborate in building a water smart future for Europe.
The undertaken initiative aims to form a thematic area that tackles:
· Boosting resilient infrastructure
· Circular economy
· Enable multistakeholder governance
These water challenges are high on the agenda of many European regions. The coming years water is expected to become an even more prominent issue across Europe. Please find hereunder some up-to-date developments:
- The gap between water supply and demand is expected to grow to 40% by 2030. Water efficiency and water reuse, as well as zero-liquid discharge in industry will become vital to guarantee a sustainable water supply.
- While water scarcity is more known for Southern Europe, it has spread northwards.
For instance, in Southern Sweden and the island of Gotland desalination is already needed today to supply drinking water. Also Western and Central Europe are preparing for more droughts. This year The Netherlands started with building water basins in the Eastern part of the country and the Czech Republic is looking into enhanced water retention and infiltration. Flanders recently opened the first large-scale water reuse facility in the country.
- Water infrastructure is ageing in Europe and some regions are re-thinking waste water infrastructrure. On average 85% is invested in the sewage pipes and pumping stations and 15% in WWTPs. With the Water Reuse legislation turning into effect and local demand rising it would be wise to have more water treatment close to source. This will open up more possibilities for water reuse, resource recovery, circular economy and reduce the need to replace expensive sewage pipes and energy intensive pumping stations. It would also help with more local awareness about water use and reuse of components, as well as a need to prevent polution.
- Digitization will offer huge opportunities both on large scale and on household level. With Smart Meters water companies can inform customers about leaks on household level, or running taps while on holidays, as well as support customers to reduce water use. On a network scale, the water companies can actively steer the energy demand and optimize pumping regimes. This way they can operate their networks more efficiently and buy electricity at the lowest prices. This can reduce the energy demand with 11% and prevent energy consumption at peak moments, leading to an even lower energy bill.
- At the same time there are very interesting developments, which turn water treatment works into resource factories. For instance cellulose from toilet paper can be recovered and converted into a sustainable bio-based resource for feedstocks. Volatile Fatty-Acids in the sludge of WWTPs can be converted into PHA, a biodegradable bio-plastic, which would not polute the oceans. In addition, there are new ways of recovering phosphate from sewage sludge in the form of Vivianite (Iron-Phosphate). This can be easily reused as fertilizer and does not require magnesium (as is the case with Struvite).
The purpose of Water Smart Territories is to map and identify investment projects that will support a transition towards more sustainable water territories.
To join the Water Smart Territories thematic area, please see the attachment and follow the instructions.
More information here: http://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/water-smart-territories