Norway’s National Centre for Water Infrastructure up and running

Norway's national Water Centre
The National Centre for Water Infrastructure of Norway started the first courses in October.Photo: Nasjonalt senter for vanninfrastruktur.

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Set for an official opening in June, the National Centre for Water Infrastructure of Norway will play a pivotal role educating professionals in the need to scale up water investments before 2040. Located in Ås, to the south of Oslo, the multi-million-euro facility is 60% public-owned, and started running courses last autumn.

In 2018 the state granted 17.5 Norwegian million kroner (€ 1.5 million) for the centre which was established on the basis of a critical need for investment in water and sewage pipelines across Norway. With 40% of the remaining investment coming from interested actors, private producers, and suppliers to the water sector, it has brought the sector’s industry together in this training arena which will develop future-oriented technology for handling water above and below ground.

Driving force for efficiency

Norway’s national water centre, which has a close association with the nearby Norwegian University of Life Sciences, has a broad mandate to respond to the overall need for expertise in water and sewage management and to educate a new generation of managers, builders and operators. Increased efficiency is a central plank in all aspects of the centre’s vision through education, exchange of experiences, research and technology development. The centre details that it is to be a ‘driving force for collaboration and the green shift’.

Get into business

At the first board meeting, in December 2023, Chairman Sigurd Grande said:  “It is very nice to see that the Water Centre is ready. We are now realizing the visions and ambitions that have been discussed for so long. I enjoy this, and I know that many colleagues in the industry are looking forward to getting the Water Centre into business,” Grande said, who recently retired from the Oslo Municipality Water and Sewage Administration, VAV.

Some courses have taken place

Grande is one of those who has worked the longest with the Water Centre, with systematic work since 2007. In 2014, the plan was first formalized, with Norsk Vann – the national interest group for the water industry – as an important supporter. Sjur Tveite, general manager of the National Water Centre, said: “A few courses related to operations and maintenance of water pipes, related infrastructure and equipment have taken place.” These were undertaken in close cooperation between the Water Centre, it’s owners and partners.

Official opening in June

Tveite confirmed to Water News Europe that the official opening will take place in June but was unavailable to give a firm date or the final cost of the centre which has an investment requirement of at least € 8.7 billion in the period up to 2040.

Norwegian water prices

A 2021 EurEau five-year study of the average investment rate in drinking and waste water infrastructure among its member countries showed that Norway outpaces other nations with an annual spend of some € 250 per inhabitant. Denmark and Estonia tied in second and third place with some € 175 per inhabitant. In a 2021 Holidu water price index comparison of water prices in 36 EU-cities the tap water price in Oslo was the highest.

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