B-WaterSmart – First Community of Practice meetings held

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The European research project B-WaterSmart accelerates the transformation to water-smart economies and societies by reducing the use of freshwater resources, improving the recovery and reuse of resources, and increase water use efficiency. The research in the project is based on specific problems in six European coastal cities and regions (so called Living Labs) that tackle their challenges and opportunities by implementing water-smart technologies and digital- and management solutions, jointly developed by the project partners. B-WaterSmart follows a holistic approach by including local stakeholders in so called Communities of Practice (CoP), to successfully implement tools and technologies as well as solutions for societal, regulatory and governance issues, but also to exchange knowledge and information. First CoP meetings were now organized and held by water companies in Alicante (Spain), East Frisia (Germany) and Venice (Italy). CoP meetings in Flanders (Belgium), Bodo (Norway) and Lisbon (Portugal) are going to follow in the upcoming weeks.

The CoP meeting in Venice
The Living Lab (LL) Venice in Italy is creating the conditions for exploiting an important reuse potential which is currently untapped. It is necessary to act on the exact sequence of priorities preventing the transformation of the value into a usable and saleable product (shared and updatable knowledge on risks, and a participatory governance model). An important step was the first CoP meeting, in which all the strategic stakeholders involved in the water sector from the whole Veneto Region participated. A project overview, together with a focus on the Venice LL challenges and its strategic objectives were given. This first meeting also set the foundation for a promising cooperation among the strategic stakeholders of the LL towards overcoming the barriers which are currently hindering the full application of circular economy principles in the water sector. To support these objectives, water reuse (through a pilot plant for industrial water reuse from WWTP effluent) and nutrient recovery (via two stripping processes) technologies and IT tools for water and sludge sustainable management are developed.

The CoP meeting in East Frisia
The Living Lab East Frisia in Germany is building a pilot plant for the reuse of process water in the dairy industry and conceptualize digital tools for short term water demand and regional water allocation. The stakeholders were introduced to the project and its main technological solutions. Within an interactive workshop, the participants exchanged their ideas and created a vision of a water-smart future for Northern Germany and possible pathways to achieve this common vision. In the next meeting, the CoP will continue the development of a common strategic agenda to foster innovative solutions for water management to achieve a stronger circular economy in order to make East Frisia a water-smart region in the long term.

 

The CoP meeting in Alicante
The Living Lab from Alicante is the first innovation space in Spain for water reuse and the identification of circular economy opportunities in the region. Within the project they are evaluating technologies, among others, for reverse osmosis brines valorisation at lab-scale, work on the identification of co-digestion opportunities in the territory, and conceptualize a digital tool to boost water reuse. The CoP meeting was hosted at the Museum of Aguas de Alicante where a large group of water cycle experts and official stakeholders came together in search of solutions to the major water challenges that the region will face in the coming years. Discussed were effects of the climate change, possible opportunities, and B-WaterSmart technologies and circular economy solutions on the main water problems affecting the region in the near future.