European Commision


EIP Water News / Summer 2014 edition, 10. July 2014
EIP Water | Boosting opportunities - Innovating water

Dear Reader,

We are pleased to share with you the summer edition of the EIP Water Newsletter featuring a large variety of news on water innovation.

The EIP Water has taken a central role on the European water innovation landscape, providing a platform for all actors in the field of water and innovation.

After the success of the first EIP Water Conference in Brussels in November 2013, this year, the EIP Water is organising its annual conference on 5th and 6th November in Barcelona, Europe’s Innovation Capital 2014. We recently held initial meetings with the City Council of Barcelona and we will send you a brief update once the conference venue has been defined; in the meantime, please save the date and have a look at the first conference announcement which includes the preliminary program and other useful information.

Furthermore, we are pleased to inform you that the focus area on water innovation of the new European Research and Innovation Program “Horizon 2020”, has received very high interest in its first call; 109 project proposals were submitted for the water innovation market replication projects call, which is almost one third of the total 334 proposals submitted for all calls of societal challenge No. 5. You can read more about this first call and the response to the water innovation focus area further below.

The next EIP Water Newsletter will be published in mid-September. We wish all our readers a refreshing summer break!

Best regards,

The EIP Water Secretariat


EIP Water News and Updates

EIP Water Steering Group
fifth meeting:  results

At its fifth meeting on 23rd May 2014, the Steering Group (SG) of the EIP Water discussed progress of the EIP Water and provided further strategic guidance for its implementation. A key outcome of the meeting, which was chaired by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, was the decision to open a new, limited, call for expressions of commitment for Action Groups at the next annual EIP Water Conference to be held on 5th and 6th November. This new call will focus on under-represented EIP Water priority areas and will specifically encourage participation of actors from Central and Eastern European Member States. The Steering Group expressed its strong support for the activities of the existing Action Groups and requested a further analysis of their expected impacts.
During the meeting, the SG also invited the Task Force to submit proposals for improving the agility, governance, stakeholder involvement and general role of EU Member States and welcomed the work of the Task Force on the action plans for removing innovation barriers, requesting that these efforts continue. The SG further called for the development of close links between the innovative solutions developed in the framework of the EIP Water and the implementation of water policy in EU Member States, possibly supported by Environment Council conclusions. it requested Member States and the EU Commission to address regulatory barriers to water innovation in the joint implementation of EU Water policy as well as in other policies, and agreed to specify the focus of the EIP Water for the period 2015 – 2017 in an updated Strategic Implementation Plan.​

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EIP Water Marketplace and Newsletter growing stronger

The beta version of the EIP Water’s online presence – its so-called Marketplace  – was launched in September 2013 and has since been continually developed to optimise your user experience. Over 1,300 water innovation-interested users have registered within the last ten months and conducted over 4,000 searches along the water innovation value chain aiming to “match-make” and identify potential collaboration partners. 

The most recent improvements and additions on the Online Marketplace include:
  • An update of the smart water innovation glossary visualisation
  • A search function on the front page making it easier to find projects, products and news items
  • An improved news aggregator accessed by browsing top water innovation news to receive similar posts in a grouping or see how topics follow trends
  • An Innovation Demonstration Section (Inno-Demo) to start listing innovative projects and products
  • Water innovation showcases are now highlighted on the front page
Furthermore, the EIP Water Newsletter, which was launched in March 2013 to 1,000 subscribers almost exclusively in Europe, has grown into a regular and well-recognized water innovation medium with 3,000 water innovation-interested subscribers in mainly Europe and North America, but also several hundred readers in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Please feel free to recommend registering on the Marketplace for "Match-making for water innovation" or subscribing to the newsletter to your friends and colleagues!

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EIP Water Action Group News

RESEWAM-O makes progress

RESEWAM-O is an acronym for “Remote Sensing for Water Management Optimisation” and is one of 16 new EIP Water Action Groups established in April 2014. The Action Group aims to develop agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change activities using Earth Observation Remote Sensing techniques and water management solutions in order to enhance socio-economic and environmental values in water-sensitive areas.

RESEWAM-O has recently obtained TVDI - Temperature Vegetation Dryness Index - results from the Jucar River and the Segura River basins in Spain as the pilot areas to start developing its methodology. These results, together with Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) data have been obtained for the years 2009-2013 with a spatial resolution of one kilometer. In addition, wastewater treatment plants classified according to their different treatment types have been added using ArcInfo GIS software. The figure above shows an example presenting the TVDI data for one week in March 2013 - the red sections indicate extremely dry areas, the dark blue sections show wet areas, and the coloured dots indicate the treatment plants by type. This mapping will allow for a preliminary selection of significant sensitive areas to start developing engineering feasibility studies.

RESEWAM-O presented its activities at the Spanish Technological Platform on Water on 11th June and will showcase its work at two forthcoming events in August, namely the 40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly in Moscow and the ESA Earth Observation Summer School on Earth System Monitoring & Modelling. In September, RESEWAM-O will present its preliminary achievements at the 4th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Quantitative Remote Sensing in Valencia.

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ARREAU kicks off

The Action Group on "Accelerating Resource Recovery from the Water Cycle"- in short ARREAU - recently started to develop market plans for viable and profitable value chains for resources from the water cycle.

ARREAU's governing team agreed on a roadmap of activities to develop and produce a review of current initiatives and best practices of resource recovery from the water cycle. Within ARREAU, Working Groups address value chains for drinking water residuals, phosphorus, cellulose and cross-cutting issues. The review will be available at the upcoming EIP Water Conference in November in Barcelona.
Collection of best practices and bottlenecks is ongoing and has already resulted in a broad spectrum of exciting initiatives on resource recovery. ARREAU foresees to discuss the draft review of the best practice at its next meeting on 23 September in connection with the IWA World Water Conference in Lisbon.

Please contact Theo van den Hoven if you wish to find out more

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News from EBC Foundation

In the start-up phase of the new Action Group European Benchmark Cooperation Foundation (EBCF), considerable time was spent securing the Group’s legal basis in order to get it up and running.

One of the first issues to be resolved was the data infrastructure used by EBCF in the benchmarking projects. In keeping with the plan, ABF Research Company, which is a new member of the Action Group in Delft, the Netherlands, has began to develop a "next generation" data system and infrastructure. This will enable EBCF to tailor its benchmarking efforts to participants' wishes in the near future, automate reporting and provide participants with the necessary data to track and trace improvements and look for innovative solutions.

An important part of the planned work is the development of a road map for all the Action Group’s activitiies and efforts; activities in that regard will begin after the summer when the first meeting of all our participants takes place in Lisbon in September, possibly alongside the IWA, World Water Congress & Exhibition.

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Energising water works at EU Sustainable Energy Week

The main discussion at the initial meeting of the Action Group Energising Water Works (EWW) which took place on 25th June in Brussels was on the bottlenecks and barriers encountered in the implementation of innovations. The discussion centered on the so-called Valley of Death-problems in the energy-water nexus. EWW members presented their business and showcased and their experiences in dealing with the governance of innovation issues:  the Afsluitdijk (osmotic energy), the Brouwersdam and Churchill barrier (tidal low head energy), Dynamic Tidal Power ( tidal-,  free flow- and dynamic tidal) and Portuguese Ocean Energy projects and demonstration sites (electric power and tidal energy) exchanged important insights and perspectives on how to explore possible strategies to solve the problems of innovation governance.

Participants wondered why earlier undiscovered sources of renewable energy are not yet higher on the European agenda. The meeting resulted in six focus activities for the months to come, some of which are expected to be accomplished by 5th November for presentation at the EIP Water 2014 Conference.

Robert Schröder from the EIP Water congratulated the EWW partners for their selection as an Action Group working on the priority area of the Water and Energy Nexus noting that the EWW is an excellent vehicle for working on a joint approach for the overlaps between Water and Energy. He recommended that RIS, EFRO and LIFE - structural and innovation funds - be also considered for funding.

“The Ocean Energy Sector has the potential to supply a significant share of future energy needs; 66 million EU homes could be powered by Ocean Energy”, explained Pauline Delleur of the Ocean Energy Europe when she presented its goals and strategy which include to accelerate commercialisation, foster coordination and cooperation, deliver a roadmap for the sector, and work together to reduce the risks in technology, consenting and financing. She encouraged the EWW partners to remain committed to their great initiatives and the EWW meetings, where national and European policy makers can meet and dialogue with CEOs of the water and energy sectors and the top scientists of various research institutes.

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Selected Water Innovation News

So what's behind 14046?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in Geneva is currently developing the International Standard ISO 14046, Environmental management - Water footprint - Principles, requirements and guidelines, which intends to provide decision makers in industry, government and non-governmental organizations with a means to estimate the potential impact of water use and pollution, based on a life-cycle assessment.

ISO 14046 is being developed by experts from all over the world, including some from liaison organizations that have worked in the field for a long time. They recognized that building the technical capacity for assessing water footprint in developing countries would bring about competitive market opportunities. As a result, Sweden and Switzerland have sponsored training and pilot project development in Africa and Latin America respectively, while training programs have started in important regional hubs such as India, Peru and Botswana in partnership with the United Nations Environmental Program. These projects not only succeeded in building capacities in water footprint assessment, but also brought valuable experience to the development of ISO 14046.

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From Ethiopia: Farming device to drain excess water from waterlogged fields

Up to five million hectares of land in Ethiopia and a much larger area in Africa are not available for farming because they are water logged. Using the Aybar BBM re-avails this abandoned land hence improving food production.

The Aybar BBM is a low-cost farming device used to easily drain excess water from waterlogged fields – where BBM stands for “Broad Based Furrow Maker “. It is the only known effective device capable of creating drainage furrows for excess water while building a broad bed for planting.

Dr Melesse Temesgen from Ethiopia developed this innovation during his PhD research at UNESCO-IHE in The Netherlands. It has recently won him the Special Prize for innovation with the highest Social Impact given by the African Innovation Foundation. It is estimated that the income of farmers will more than triple as a result of using this technology.

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Professional and Investment Opportunities

ACQUEAU call for proposals: deadline 1 October

The EUREKA’s water innovation cluster ACQUEAU has recently published the autumn calendar 2014 of its open call for proposals. The cluster’s goal is to promote transnational collaboration for developing innovative projects in water technologies; the call supports projects with the potential of developing breakthrough innovations in the water sector. It is a two-stage submission and evaluation process. The following deadlines apply:
  • Project Outline Submission: 1 October 2014
  • Full Project Proposal Submission: 19 November 2014
  • Label Assessment: 10 December 2014

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Developing a Climate Bond certified standard for water investments

CDP and the Climate Bonds Initiative, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute and Ceres are embarking on the development of a Climate Bond certified Standard for water investments. These institutions are now seeking experts to participate in the development of a robust framework for bond issuances in the water sector – a critical step that will help to create awareness about the opportunities within the water industry, and give investors the confidence that funds are being used to deliver credible interventions.

The working group offers an exciting opportunity to bring together diverse technical expertise to develop an easy-to-use tool for investors and governments to assess the environmental integrity of bonds claiming to address climate change mitigation and adaptation. Participation in this Working Group is expected to involve a series of teleconferences and document reviews over six months from September 2014. To express your interest in joining the Technical Working Group, please get in touch with Justine Leigh-Bell at the Climate Bonds Initiative.

The CDP will launch its 2014 water program report at the forthcoming EIP Water Conference 2014 on 5 November in Barcelona.

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First results of first
Horizon 2020 call

The new European Research and Innovation Program “Horizon 2020” was launched earlier this year with a budget of 80 billion Euro over seven years. The program is structured around so-called societal challenges with Societal Challenge No. 5 “Environment, Climate Change and Raw Materials” including a focus area 'water innovation' for the period 2014-2015.

This is closely linked to the EIP Water and makes available 39 million euros for market replication projects (2014) and 45 million euros for demonstration projects (2015) responding to the EIP water priority areas. The focus area on water innovation has received very high interest in the first call of Horizon 2020.

A total of 109 projects were submitted for the water innovation market replication projects call, which is almost one third out of the total 334 proposals submitted for all calls under Societal Challenge No. 5. 

The requested budget of the water innovation market replication projects was just over 340 million Euros, which is more than eight times the available budget. This clearly indicates the very strong interest from stakeholders in the area of water and innovation and supports the approach to fund market replication and demonstration projects in the area of the EIP Water priority areas. Proposals that have passed the evaluation thresholds in the first stage have been invited to submit a full proposal in the second stage evaluation by 16th September 2014.

An EIP Water draft analysis and overview of funding opportunities in the water sector including Horizon 2020 related funding for water innovation is available here

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Recommended Reading

Water Innovation at the
center of SIWW 2014

The Singapore International Water Week SIWW was once again held from 1-5 June 2014; it saw 14.5 billion Singaporean Dollars in total value for the announcements on projects awarded, tenders, investment and MOUs concluded at the event. Held in conjunction with the World Cities Summit and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore, the event attracted more than 20,000 participants from 118 countries spanning the government, international organisations, industry and academia sectors. The Water Expo at this year's SIWW was the largest edition to date with more than 800 participating companies and 24 Group Pavilions exhibiting over 23,000 square meters of covered space.

Innovation was at the centre of SIWW 2014. In fact, the event has established itself as an "innovation hotbed" for water technologies and managed to secure the participation of a number of significant technology companies. Thorough government support and funding, tying in Singaporean businesses and the diplomatic channels of the Foreign Office are all key elements of the Singaporean success in the water sector.

Various mainstream and many specialised media outlets have covered SIWW 2014 in detail and we are pleased to recommend just a few of the many interesting articles on water innovation awards here:

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SIWW 2014: Water Leaders Identify Sector’s Biggest Challenges

“Participants in the Water Leaders Roundtable, held on June 3 as part of Singapore International Water Week (SIWW), identified what they saw as the two biggest challenges in water management in 2030 and beyond” reported OOSKAnews in early June. Among the challenges mentioned were:
  • climate change and the need for greater responsiveness from water users
  • efficient water usage
  • reducing waste
  • The water, energy and food security Nexus
As regards innovation, Nestle Vice President Herbert Oberhaensli advised: “Don’t wait for innovations when you haven’t implemented existing technology.” Jose Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) added:

“We should not wait for the perfect technology. Water is local. You don’t have to get to the moon.”

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Announcements and Events

EIP Water Conference on 5 November - Save the date!

The EIP Water has taken a central role on the European water innovation landscape, providing a platform for all actors in the field of water and innovation. After the success of the first EIP Water conference in November 2013 in Brussels, this year the EIP Water is organising its annual conference in Barcelona, Europe’s Innovation Capital 2014. Join us to participate in discussions on connecting water innovation, demand and supply, learn about the activities of our Action Groups, find opportunities for collaboration and help shape European water innovation policy! 

A first announcement presenting the draft program and other useful information is already online, while registration will start in September. If you want to get involved in the 2014 EIP Water Conference, please:

  • Save the date!
  • Register as a participant from early September 2014 onwards (regristration details to follow soon)
  • Request and hold a Back-to-Back meeting on 4th or 6th November

In case you are interested in organising a closed or open water-innovation related meeting in Barcelona on 4 or 6 November 2014, the EIP Water offers to incorporate this into forthcoming Conference announcements, to help promoting your event and boost the number of participants. Please provide related information on such a back-to-back meeting promotion request here by 15 August 2014.

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EIP Water at Enterprise Europe Network - SGE conference in Istanbul

EIP Water made a presentation on the importance of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in water sector innovation processes at the Sector Group Environment (SGE) Conference which took place in Istanbul, Turkey on 11th and 12th June 2014. The SGE is part of the Enterprise Europe Network and its mission is to contribute to the development and competitiveness of SMEs and related support institutions in the environmental sector, through mediating partnerships, exploiting research results, identifying financing schemes and providing other support services. Attention to SMEs in the water sector is included in the work of the SGE.

One of the main conclusions from the Istanbul Conference was that linkages between EIP Water and the SGE members  - SME support entities that operate across Europe at the national or regional level and SGE as organising group - can be strengthened further. Several of these linkages are already being developed via the EIP Water Marketplace. More developments are expected in the coming period.

Introducing the Water
Solutions Lab Network

Sometimes - or even often - it is clear that the solution for many water-related problems lies within social, institutional, technical, and business innovations, without explicitly using the word “innovation”. When feasible - and often innovative - solutions are found and suggested, a barrier for implementation remains which many times cannot be addressed by a single person or organisation. To overcome this barrier, a variety of partners recently initiated the Water Solutions Lab Network (WSLN) which is coordinated by the Global Water System Project (GWSP).

The WSLN is aimed at integrating research with practical solutions towards identifying a feasible set of innovations to attain sustainable water solutions (sustaining environmental services and reducing threats to ecosystems while ensuring human water security) at the local level. It will establish a series of lab-workshops in different regions, each of them focusing on a particularly relevant water-related issue. During the lab-workshops representatives from many different parts of society - public and private sector, scientific community, civil society, NGOs and others - will come together to work towards an innovative solution for one of the most pressing water related issues in the region. The WSLN will monitor and support implementation of innovative solutions and use the learning experience from one lab-process to increase the impact of subsequent labs on different topics or in different regions.

During the “Sustainability in the Water Energy Food Nexus” Conference held in mid-May in Bonn, Germany, a special session was organised to introduce this concept of the “Water Solutions Lab Network” to a wide audience and share insights into the development of the project while  providing a forum for discussion, comments and feedback.  For more information please contact Anik Bhaduri at the GWSP.

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WssTP Water Innovation Europe 2014 Conference

On 25th and 26th June, the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology platform WssTP organised the 2014 edition of its annual Water Innovation Europe conference under the theme “Water in Europe: Green Tape or Blue Gold”

Over 200 stakeholders participated in the event with panel sessions on a wide variety of water innovation-related topics and networking opportunities. One of the sessions was dedicated to the ongoing EIP Water activity on removing key barriers and bottlenecks to water innovation on which a draft report is already available. 

The conference also hosted the IWA Project Innovation awards and the WssTP water innovation SME awards. The EIP Water applauds all the winners for their excellent work All post-conference materials are now available online so please drop by to check out the various presentations  as well as the conference photo gallery. The EIP Water congratulates WssTP for successfully organising the 3rd edition of its annual conference on the occasion of its 10th anniversary ,and for its continued contribution to fostering water innovation in Europe!

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