European Commision


EIP Water News June 2015, 09. June 2015
EIP Water | Boosting opportunities - Innovating water

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the June 2015 edition of our monthly newsletter!

We are very pleased to inform you that the next Conference of the European Innovation Partnership on Water will be held on 10 February 2016 in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

The proposal from the Dutch city in the province of Fryslân was selected out of five very competitive proposals in a competition for host cities and Conference partners which the EIP Water had launched in early March this year. We would like to thank all those who participated in this competitive process and already look forward to meeting many of our readers in February 2016 in Leeuwarden!

We would also like to draw your attention to the LIFE Regulation, the EU’s Financial Instrument for the Environment and Climate Action; it has launched two calls for proposals for LIFE Action Grants on 1 June 2015, underlining its commitment to supporting projects that protect the environment and tackle the impact of climate change. We had a detailed look at the calls for proposals and developed an overview of all water-related funding. 

We wish all our readers a good start of the summer.

Best regards,

The EIP Water Secretariat


EIP Water News and Updates

Save the date:
Next EIP Water Conference on
10 February 2016 in Leeuwarden

On 27 May, the EIP Water announced that its 2016 Conference will be held on 10 February 2016 in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. 

This third EIP Water Conference builds up on the success of its first two Conferences in 2013 and 2014 in Brussels and Barcelona respectively. In early March 2015 the EIP Water had launched a competition for host cities and Conference partners of its 2016 Conference: the city of Leeuwarden was selected out of five very competitive proposals received from Madrid (Spain), Lund (Sweden), Berlin (Germany), Valetta (Malta) and the finally winning proposal from the province of Fryslân in the Netherlands.

Leeuwarden scored highest in almost all criteria for selecting the host city and Conference Partner such as strong institutional and private sector involvement, political buy-in as well as synergies with ongoing EU research and innovation projects in the water sector. Participants of the one-day EIP Water Conference on 10 February 2016 will be able to find out about the unique features of Leeuwarden as well as attend a series of side events and site visits preceding and following the Conference. As the host city of the 2016 EIP Water Conference, Leeuwarden and its conference partners will benefit from the great visibility of the event within the European water sector and be able to showcase its water and innovation experience.

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LIFE's call for action grants 2015 to maximise programme impact

The LIFE programme launched two calls for proposals, underlining its commitment to supporting projects that protect the environment and tackle the impact of climate change.

The 2015 call for action grants for the LIFE programme was launched on 1 June 2015 and covers proposals for both environment and climate action sub-programmes. The total budget for project action grants for this call is €240 811 337. Of this amount, €184 141 337 has been allocated to project action grants for the sub-programme for environment and €56 670 000 has been allocated to the sub-programme for climate action. At least 55% of the environment allocation will be dedicated to projects supporting the conservation of nature and biodiversity.

The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) is responsible for managing the call for traditional projects and capacity building projects for the environment sub-programme and traditional projects for the climate action sub-programme. Traditional projects include best-practice, demonstration, pilot or information, awareness and dissemination projects. These are funded under one of three strands for the environment sub-programme (LIFE nature & biodiversity, LIFE environment & resource efficiency and LIFE environmental governance and information). For the sub-programme for climate action, traditional project strands are LIFE climate change mitigation, LIFE climate change adaptation and LIFE climate governance & information.

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EIP Water Action Group News

City Blueprints -
a step in the right direction

To the utmost satisfaction of the EIP Water Action Group "City Blueprints" its campaign to integrate water and waste into the 2014 Smart Cities and Communities policy has recently been vindicated by the European Commission itself. As one of the nine original EIP Water AG's City Blueprints has continually spoken publicly at national and international conferences around the World of the necessity of a wider, more coherent strategy whereby water and waste play as important a role as transport, energy and ICT in the long-term vision of the Smart Cities and Communities agenda.

Led by Kees van Leeuwen of KWR and Richard Elelman of CTM, the work of City Blueprints has resulted in the creation of BlueSCities, a successful Horizon 2020 project. Its goal is precisely that which EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu, and Vice President Sefcovic described before an audience of 700 at the 2nd Cities Forum which took place in Brussels on the 2nd of June.

Creţu stated that ‘an upgraded and more holistic Smart Cities and Communities agenda as a tool to better integrate and connect energy, transport, water, waste and a broader ICT dimension (encompassing skills, sectors and technologies), anchored in a wider urban development context and integrating new innovative solutions that contribute to its objectives….is necessary’. In support of these objectives, it was revealed that the Commission will invest €80 billion in cities from 2014-2020, according to a series of policies which will provide the foundation for the Amsterdam Declaration on Cities which will appear next year, coinciding with the Dutch Presidency of the European Union.

Here are more details on the intentions of the European Commission, the results of its public consultation on the key features of an EU urban agenda, and the work of City Blueprints

MARsolutions and FP7 MARSOL Inno-Demo project cooperate

The FP7 project MARSOL Inno-Demo and the EIP Water Action Group "MARsolutions" working on Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) cooperate in several fields, among which eight demonstration sites within the MARSOL project that may also be used by MARsolutions to demonstrate the suitability of MAR techniques for different pratical applications.

The EIP Water AG coordinating entity LNEC has recently conducted a survey on the protection and preservation of groundwater to the MARSOL project. The report on the survey presents a descriptive analysis of the responses to a survey about protection and preservation of groundwater conducted with a sample of Portuguese farmers of the Algarve region.

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SMART Rivers Network

The SMART Rivers Action Group is very pleased to join the EIP Water as one of its four new AG’s. SMART Rivers consists of 36 partners from 12 EU Member States and three neighbouring countries; it is coordinated by the Italian Tavolo Nazionale Contratti di Fiume (National Table of River Contracts).

The aim of SMART Rivers is to promote multi-stakeholder river contracts for application in Eastern and Central European countries with methods and tools to overcome administrative limitations.  The partners come from a mixture of academic, local government, national agency and NGO backgrounds, so everyone will find someone they can relate to.  To this end, the group and its individual members are available to provide both research material and practical hands on experience on the lessons learnt but would also aim to benefit from a mutual exchange of knowledge through joint working practices.

SMART Rivers will hold its kick-off meeting on 15th October in Milan during the annual congress of the National Table of River Contracts which has been organised alongside EXPO 2015 providing an additional incentive to attend.  It is also anticipated that there will be representation from the Italian Ministry of the Environment to open the Congress and help launch the Smart Rivers Action Group.

If you are interested in attending the National River Contract Congress or would like any further information please contact Mr Massimo Bastiani, Chair of Smart Rivers.

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Selected Water Innovation News

EBRD boosting SMEs’ access to finance in the Eastern Partnership 

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) can play a crucial role in unlocking finance for SMEs in Eastern Partnership (EAP) countries, a senior EBRD executive told businessmen at a conference in Riga on 21 May 2015.

The EBRD pledge to help coincided with the announcement by the EU of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Facility for SMEs, worth approximately €200 million of grants, allowing partners such as the EBRD and the EIB to do even more to support small businesses.  Access to finance is currently a major challenge for SMEs, in particular those in transition countries. Potentially, they are the powerhouse of any healthy market economy,  driving growth by creating jobs and promoting innovation and competitiveness.

Increasing the financing available to this crucial segment of the private sector was the focus of a panel moderated by Charlotte Ruhe, EBRD’s Director of the Small Business Support programme, in the context of the third EaP Business Forum in Riga.

Strengthening the financial sector is a priority in the EaP countries, stressed Francis Malige, the EBRD’s Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The EaP countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

 “SMEs as well as larger firms in the region need stronger banking systems that can offer lending and facilitate access to capital markets,” he said. “That’s why the EBRD, which is the largest financial investor in the region with about 1000 projects and over €18 billion invested over the past two decades, operates across the entire spectrum: from SMEs to banks and capital markets.”

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Ministers back OECD Principles on Water Governance

Ministers from OECD’s 34 member countries welcomed the OECD Principles on Water Governance, which set standards for more effective, efficient and inclusive design and implementation of water policies, and encouraged governments to put them into action.

The 12 Water Governance Principles provide a framework for governments to put in place better water policies and they will be used to develop a broader OECD perspective on water management over the coming years.

The Principles were developed using a multi-stakeholder approach and were endorsed by a large number of public, private and non-profit organisations at the 7th World Water Forum in April in Korea through the Daegu Declaration.

Next steps will include identifying and scaling up best practices and developing water governance indicators to support the implementation of the Principles.

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Recommended Reading

SIWW Technology and Innovation Summit Seeks a Way Forward for Water Sector Innovation

"Building on the success of the biennial Singapore International Water Week (SIWW), Singapore will host the SIWW Technology and Innovation Summit 2015 on June 16-17, 2015" reported OOSKAnews on 14 May 2015. "This invitation-only high-level summit is the first-ever platform to bring together leaders and key influencers from among water utilities, industrial water users, solutions providers, researchers, investors and multipliers for discussions and exchange of technological best practices to meet current and future challenges in the municipal and industrial water sectors."

OOSKAnews spoke with Peter Joo Hee Ng, Chief Executive of PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, Executive Director of the Environment & Water Industry Program Office (EWI), and Deputy Secretary (Special Duties) in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources about the event, Singapore’s water situation, and the country’s approach to fostering innovation and adopting innovative technological solutions.

OOSKAnews: What is the SIWW Technology and Innovation Summit (STIS) about? How does it complement the biennial Singapore International Water Week?

Peter Joo Hee Ng: The biennial Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) is now a preferred gathering for thought leaders and practitioners in water management from governments, industry and academia the world over. SIWW 2014 attracted 20,000 participants from 133 countries, and witnessed the announcement of some $10.9 billion USD in new business.

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WWF: Agricultural standards can do more to mitigate water risk in commodity for production

Standards designed to improve sustainability of production of agricultural commodities could do more to help address root causes of water-related risk, according to a new WWF report published in May 2015.

The assessment, Strengthening Water Stewardship in Agricultural Standards, finds that many credible sustainability standards have robust water quality and efficiency requirements. Strengthening efforts on water governance and resiliency measures for extreme weather would help to better mitigate water risks.
Research on 24 standards showed a large range of water risk exposure by crop type, with rice facing the greatest and cocoa the lowest water risks.  

Despite water being ranked as the issue with the greatest potential for economic impact by the World Economic Forum (2015), few agricultural standards are including requirements for growers to mitigate their water risks coming from the catchment.

“Water is a shared resource, and you really can’t solve water challenges from your own backyard,” says Alexis Morgan, Water Stewardship Specialist at WWF International. “Standards are important tools for improving production of everyday items like coffee, sugar and cotton. This report highlights the significant opportunities for standard-setting bodies to harness emerging tools to ensure that healthy freshwater ecosystems can continue to support food, water and energy security in the future."

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Announcements and Events

KINDRA survey on
groundwater research

The project "Knowledge Inventory for hydrogeology research" - KINDRA - seeks to help achieve a better understanding of the groundwater topic by providing an overall view of the scientific knowledge that exists across Europe.

In this context, KINDRA is now carrying out a survey to weigh up potential end-user needs and requirements in relation to the project outcome. KINDRA would be gratful for your participation in its survey as a member of the groundwater stakeholder group. Groundwater is the hidden component of the water cycle which is difficult to assess, evaluate and communicate. 

Your opinion as a potential end-user of the project is very important, and your responses will help KINDRA shape its work accordingly. KINDRA's survey includes ten questions, which will take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

KINDRA is funded by the European Commission’s HORIZON2020 Framework Programme. Its overall objective is to take stock of Europe’s contemporary practical and scientific knowledge of hydrogeology research and innovation by taking an inventory of research results, activities, projects and programmes, and then using the inventory to identify critical research challenges and gaps. This approach takes into account the implementation of the Water Framework and Groundwater Directives, enabling future correct management and policy development of groundwater Europe wide. 

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Commission asks for ideas to develop the Circular Economy

The European Commission has opened a public consultation to collect views on the main policy options for developing an ambitious new approach on the Circular Economy. Stakeholders' input will help feed the preparation of the new action plan, tobe presented by the end of 2015.
The new proposals are being prepared by a project team led by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "Europe's future economic development must be part of a sustainable long-term agenda. We need to use our resources more intelligently, design our products with a view to their re-use and recycling, and set ambitious targets for waste reduction and recycling. Today we are asking people across Europe for their input on how to design our policies in a way that stimulates a competitive green economy in Europe and protects the environment for future generations."

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