Session FT 3.04
Knowledge generation & inovative technologies for the sustainable management of water resources in Europe and worldwide
Netherlands Water Partnership
This session aimed at demonstrating the scope and impact of public private collaboration in the area of water technologies and the urgent need for jointly addressing barriers to their diffusion.
Over the last years, many interdisciplinary research teams in the context of European Union’s environmental research programme have developed a variety of new integrated water management approaches, based on participatory processes, which have demonstrated considerable potential towards addressing local as well as global challenges in water resources management. Moreover, these research activities have developed a large set of innovative environmental technologies in various fields of use. Their application in real case studies, have demonstrated that under suitable framework conditions, successful diffusion of knowledge and innovation could take place with significant improvements in current practices. Hence, there is a need to further diffuse knowledge generated by these projects, including feedback from its application, through education, demonstration and stronger interfaces with innovation platforms. Beyond presentation of representative sample of the above mentioned results, the session included an high level expert panel consisting of senior executive members of the water research and industrial communities to debate current experiences from partnership approaches and the immediate actions needed for addressing current barriers to promote new knowledge management approaches and comprehensive technology dissemination suitable to the diverse needs at local level, both at European and international level.
Wider consensus seem to exist on barriers and rigidities in the diffusion of knowledge on environmental/water technologies and their impact on the achievement of MDGs.
However, strategic perspectives of proposed solutions to this effect might vary between public and private sector.
Public private participation in the entire cycle of water technologies research projects (conception, implementation, verification) could become an essential first step in accelerating such process.
We need to promote a new generation of public private collaborative research on water technologies, based on the common view of their necessity for achieving future growth, competitiveness and sustainability.
There is also a need to carefully assess and diffuse the wealth of knowledge generated by research projects through education, demonstration and links to innovation/knowledge management platforms.
Orientations for action
Over the last decade, many interdisciplinary research teams, supported in the context of European Union’s environmental research programme, have developed a variety of new integrated approaches based on genuine participatory processes which have demonstrated potential for successfully addressing local as well as global challenges in water resources management. In this context, the European Union has recently promoted the establishment of the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WSSTP), having as its objective to face the global challenge of ensuring safe and secure water supply for different uses and sanitation services through the development of sustainable technologies within the framework of integrated water management of the available resources. Moreover, its aim will be to promote step changes in the technological capacity of the European water industry, with the aim of supporting and strengthening its competitiveness in the world market, and to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals.
Local actions presented
FLOODRELIEF : Forecasting flood events: European technology at the leading edge
Michael Butts, DHI Water & Environment, Denmark
In comparison to construction of major flood protection works, flood forecasting is cost effective with minimal environmental impacts. Current flood forecasting/early warning systems have several limitations (insufficient lead-time to provide accurate flood warnings, inadequate spatial/temporal resolution of the real-time rainfall observations and forecasts for flood producing storm, little integration of different sources of forecast information). Moreover their ability in considering the uncertainties in estimating and forecasting precipitation and flood discharges is very limited, their application at regional level is also limited and the costs of improving forecasting may be prohibitive. FLOODRELIEF, addressed these limitations by developing and demonstrating a new generation of flood forecasting methodologies which advance present capabilities and accuracies. Results have been evaluated and tested in two highly flood prone regional basins, (Poland and United Kingdom), demonstrating the benefits of innovative flood forecasting for saving lives and properties.
MULINO : Integrated Water Resources Management – Developing decision support tools for promoting interaction between researchers and various stakeholders
Carlo Giupponi, UNiversità Statale di Milano (UNIMI), Italy
By integrating the environmental and socio-economic modelling techniques with Geographical Information System functionalities and multi-criteria decision aids, MULINO DSS (mDSS) aspires to be a multilingual operational tool which meets the needs of European water authorities towards the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). The MULINO methodology has been applied at a variety of scales and issues; in Romania to evaluate alternative agricultural production systems; in Portugal, to assess strategic options for dam management; in United Kingdom, to examine a range of options for the sustainable allocation of water and ecological flow; in Belgium, to support decision-making process for locating water holding reservoirs and stormwater basins. In Italy, to control ground water overexploitation. Last but not least, at a European scale evaluating alternative scenarios for agricultural policy and the implementation of the European Union’s Nitrate Directive.
CARE-W – CARE-S : Asset management – Sound decision making and planning for sustainable investment in operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of buried water infrastructure
Sveinung Sægrov, SINTEF Building and Infrastructure, Norway
There is a need for scientific breakthroughs in strategic rehabilitation approaches which reduce the need for new or replacement of, water infrastructure and minimisation of its whole life cost. Quality of asset management is likely to condition not only the quality and cost of water and sanitation services in developed countries but progress in investment for safe and sustainable access in developing countries. New knowledge in asset management is a complex venture, requiring input from materials science and chemistry up to structural engineering and advanced statistical theories. Interdisciplinary approaches, founded on sustainability and risk based planning, are the order of the day. Climate change and changes in water consumption patterns, the need for innovative technologies to provide essential (real-time or historical) diverse data needed to support such an approach and the tools for implementing proposed solutions are all indications of the scale of the work ahead. Over the last two decades progress in IT, and more recently in sensor technology has increased processing, problem detection and feedback capability providing a better foundation for dealing with asset management complexities. CARE-W (Water Supply) and CARE-S (Sewers), are two typical examples of European funded research in asset management. The various tools produced by these projects were tested by end-users in 16 European sites in UK, Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Spain, France and Norway while more than 20 end-users provided data for the testing of various tools.
Anammox® : New technological concepts and processes for Waste Water Treatment
Tom Vereijken, Paques BV, the Netherlands
With the Anammox process (a biological process by which ammonia and nitrite are converted to nitrogen gas), ammonium can be more effectively removed from wastewater, thus addressing a key issue in wastewater and sludge management. After the process had been successfully demonstrated on lab scale by the University of Delft, Paques BV obtained a worldwide exclusive license on the technology. In 2002 the first full scale Anammox reactor was erected at the municipal wastewater treatment plant of Waterboard Hollandse Delta (WSHD formerly ZHEW) in Rotterdam. The Anammox reactor is treating reject water from the sludge digestion plant. This reject water has a high ammonium concentration of around 1 g/l. Before, this stream was treated by a Sharon reactor alone, in which the ammonium was oxidized to nitrite and subsequently denitrified by addition of methanol. Now the Anammox reactor is placed to treat the effluent of this Sharon reactor. The reactor has a volume of 72 m3 and a capacity of removing 500 kg nitrogen per day. Now that the Anammox technology has been successfully demonstrated, the process becomes available for market wide application. Anammox provides savings up to three times compared to conventional treatment, and significant improvement with regard to sustainability.