Industry makes or breaks water smart societies

The photo an oil platform in the sea.
This oil-and gas industry is known to be one of the most water-using industries. Photo: Kristina Kasputienė (Pixabay).

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Industry has a crucial role to play when it comes to safeguarding future water quality. Companies not only have to reduce wastewater pollution, reuse water but also develop environmentally friendly products. During the session ‘Water-Smart Society for excellent quality’ of the digital edition of the Innovative Water Week on Friday the 26th of June all panellists agreed industry can make or break water smart societies.

The popular online session, organised within the context of Water Innovation Europe that brought together a total of 520 water professionals from 46 different countries. The session on Water Smart Societies was visited by 100 participants from all over the world. Cate Lamb, head of water at CDP,  took the stage first and said only 10% of the global industry is aware of the risks of pollution. “We are trying to mobilize companies to raise awareness on water-related risks. But saving water is still far from mainstream”, she states. Each year CDP supports thousands of companies to measure and manage their risks and opportunities on water security.

Combination of chemicals

Lamb introduced three other experts that shared their experiences in the work field. Euraqua-president Anna-Stiina Heiskanen, who is also working for the Finnish Environment Institute, declares the biggest pressure on surface waters is caused by a mixture of chemicals discharged by different companies. “We need more science and monitoring to discover how we can diminish these pressures on our eco-systems. For regulators it is essential to have modelling tools to reduces uncertainties. They have to give permissions for tenths of years based, but are facing a lack of knowledge.”

Water reuse

Olga Ferrer, manager desalination and new technologies from Acciona Agua, tells about one of their projects in the oil-and gas industry in Turkey. This industry is known to be one of the most water-using industries and it is producing wastewater polluted with many compounds. The wastewater in Turkey is treated with Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) and ultrafiltration to produce different water qualities for reuse. These regained water products are used as boiler water and for irrigation. “Thanks to these technologies water treatment becomes economically feasible”,  concludes Ferrer.

Innovations

Also Giulio Mandruzzato, technology director of the Santex Rimar Group that is developing machinery for textile manufacturers, is focusing on innovation. “The textile industry is using huge amounts of water and causing a lot of pollution. We are now creating technology to wash fabric without water. And at this moment we are testing technology to reuse water continuously.

Maintain momentum

Cate Lamb found it encouraging to hear the business cases are improving, but she is also worried about the future. “Due to the economic crisis caused by Covid-19 we might be losing momentum. Everybody will be focused on recovering economics. She calls upon all participants to maintain momentum and to change in the right direction.

You can watch the complete session on YouTube.


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