Europe badly needs ‘water-smart societies’

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Euro Commissioner Carlos Moedas pleas for open innovation. Photo: European Commission

Innovation is key to addressing future water problems. Also in Europe. “European industries must continue to innovate, legislative barriers should disappear and a water investment platform is needed to ensure European global water leadership”, said Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation in his keynote-speech during the third WSSTP-conference (21-23 June) on water innovation in Brussels.

During the conference WSSTP-president Tómas Michel offered European Commissioner Moedas the WSSTP-vision for ‘water smart societies’. These societies will be built on the exchange of the physical and digital world with cities of the future, connecting services, infrastructures and people. Moedas stated the next big leap in industrial leadership will come from using digital technologies in the water sector.

Innovation Deals
In his speech Moedas also referred to European, Innovation Deals within the scope of the Circular Economy. He encouraged the innovators in the water sector, to consider submitting a case for an Innovation Deal by the 15th of September 2016. “We can remove legal uncertainty so that water innovations reach the market and contribute to the circular economy sooner”, promised Moedas the audience in Brussels.

Investment Fund for demonstration projects
“Once you have legal certainty, you also need investment. The European Commission introduces a new instrument, called InnovFin. The InnovFin fund is a tool to finance highly innovative demonstration projects in the water sector. In the future the European Commission wants to link Innovfin to a wider Water Investment Platform. Such a platform could build on existing financial instruments, particularly the European Fund for Strategic Investments”, added the Euro commissioner.

Water-smart-societies
According to WSSTP Europe has the chance to turn future water challenges into new technological and societal opportunities and realise the true value of water by creating ‘Water-smart societies’. These societies will be built on the intersection of the physical and digital world with cities of the future, connecting services, infrastructures and people.

Promising innovations
During the conference many innovations were presented. For example ‘hemels water’ (water from heaven) a price winning concept from the Netherlands. Small-scale production of drinking water out of rain water is cheap and safe. Another promising idea was a big watertight bag that can be used to transport fresh water across the sea to water-scarce areas. The idea has been tested but should be made economically affordable.

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