Water Market Europe is a new event cycle that the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP) set up to create a unique innovation and business environment, where state of the art water knowledge and research results can meet with market actors within and outside the water sector to create value and new business opportunities.
The first edition of this event, held on 28 March 2017 in Brussels, gathered around 90 participants mainly from the industry and consulting sector. The main idea of the meeting was to discuss and find the best way to implement water management innovations into the industry in the most efficient way and to encourage innovators to bring innovations to the water market in general.
The water market is big and estimated on 213 billion dollars in 2017 in Europe alone. A general trend of investment increase in the water sector can be observed over the last 20 years. These days, the tendency is to invest more in water intelligence rather than having more and more water supply projects. With more focus on water intelligence, the water supply will become more efficient and losses (e.g. in the distribution net or in industrial processes) will be minimised. Digital utilities are being developed for this purpose, which is a good starting point to converge innovation and utility companies. This approach is also in accordance with the European Commission’s Circular Economy Directive.
There was a general agreement among the panelists and the audience that the water market is becoming more and more dynamic and while thinking water, it is important to consider different types of water. This directly means different water treatments in order to make it acceptable for the various industry/public sectors.
Today industry is the main consumer of water (up to 75% of the total water consumption in Western Europe and 50% at EU level). The industry representatives see great potential in the reuse of water and new recycling solutions. To achieve this, innovative solutions are very important for sustainable water management, also in order to fulfil the goals relating to circular economy.
Some of the SMEs presented their solution for the economical and sustainable management of water (Dow Chemicals, Hydroko, Ox) pointing out that there are solutions already available at the moment, but sometimes it is difficult to know where to look.
Everybody agreed that water is important for economy, sustainability and jobs. There are several possible financing schemes for water related projects, either public or private. It was pointed out that public money is usually available for the initial stage of water research (concept and R&D stages), while private investments are more focused on later stages (commercialisation).
As concerns EFG, the Federation is especially concerned about groundwater. Hydrogeology is a main topic among technical and professional geologists’ skills, and it is probably the most strictly related to the environmental protection and preservation. In the 21st century, the pursuit of the equilibrium between human needs and environmental sustainability involves as a main element water resources, representing at the same time a resource and a risk. It is a task of modern geologists to contribute to the management and protection of water resources, with particular attention to groundwater. EFG’s Panel of Experts on Hydrogeology therefore contributes to the development of knowledge, to the introduction of policies and to the technical improvement of professional geologists in this field.
EFG is also a partner of the KINDRA project, an EU funded project that aims at taking stock of our current knowledge of hydrogeology through an inventory of research results, activities, projects and programmes.