European Commision


EIP Water News April 2015 , 14. April 2015
EIP Water | Boosting opportunities - Innovating water

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the April 2015 edition of our newsletter!

The EIP Water was present and much talked about at the 4th European Water Conference on 23 and 24 March in Brussels; at this most important event on the implementation of the EU water directives the value added and the importance of the EIP Water were mentioned by numerous speakers.
At the preceding EIP Water Steering Group meeting as well as during the European Water Conference Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, welcomed the understanding that more innovation is needed to tackle water policy challenges and that, at the same time, innovation can seize significant business opportunities. According to Commissioner Vella “the EIP Water has come to a crucial moment, where we need to make changes to achieve our objectives and deliver real impacts.”

In this newsletter you will also read news about funding opportunities for water innovation - and we hope that many of you are finalizing proposals for the Horizon 2020 water call by the 21 April deadline

Best regards,

The EIP Water Secretariat


EIP Water News and Updates

EIP Water Steering Group
Meeting March 2015

On Friday, 13 March 2015, the 6th Steering Group meeting of the EIP Water took place in Brussels. It was the first meeting with the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella, as well as the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas. In their respective welcome statements, they
  • stressed the potential for innovation as a tool to support implementation of our water policy framework
  • expressed the viewpoint that the EIP Water has come to a crucial moment, where we need to make changes to achieve our objectives and deliver real impacts
  • mentioned the significant investments in water innovation by Horizon 2020

read more

EIP Water calls for 2016 Conference hosts & partners

Building up on the success of two annual Conferences in 2013 and 2014, the EIP Water has recently started planning its third Conference and is now looking for a host city and Conference partners.

The one-day Conference is envisaged to take place in February 2016; proposed dates are 10 Feb, 17 Feb or 24 Feb 2016) and the Conference will be preceded and/or followed by additional side events and site visits.

read more

Online Marketplace: more functions and options - feedback welcome!

In summer 2013, the EIP Water launched the Beta version of its Online Marketplace (MP) with the claim to strongly support "matchmaking for water innovation." Indeed, the MP's main objective is to "matchmake" i.e. to bring the right individuals, projects, technologies, approaches and other elements of the innovation value chain together to facilitate and speed up the development of innovative solutions for European and global water challenges.
Until date the EIP Water's MP has almost 2000 registered users from all over Europe and beyond. While several technical and other improvements of its initial Beta-version were implemented in 2014 already, we have now started more impactful and broad releases including several new technical features and functions as well as a restructuring of some content. These include:
  1. Our new “Innovation Directories” bring people, projects, organisations and products on the top of your screen!
  2. "My Marketplace" is now a public space for water innovation matchmaking – and no longer hidden behind login procedures. This provides a great opportunity for presenting your activities, expertise and projects to all users.
  3. We have improved the visibility of water innovation organisations and products.
  4. The Action Groups pages were redesigned; members can now choose from a great variety of services, new features, and can add one or more projects.
  5. Sliders on the landing page present current highlights.

read more

EIP Water Action Group News

EIP Water welcomes four
new Action Groups

After its third call for expressions of interest the EIP Water is pleased to announce the selection of four new EIP Water Action Groups (AG's) which bring the total to 29 AG's. They help reach EIP Water’s goal of proper representation over all eight priority areas as defined in the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP). Furthermore, they contribute to a more balanced representation of participating partners from the Member States of the European Union. The four new AG's are: 
  1. AG "Photocatalysis" works on photocatalysis technology in removal of pollutants and disinfection to re-use treated water
  2. AG "Smart Rivers Network" works on multi-stakeholder river contracts for application in Central-Eastern Europe
  3. AG "RiverRes" works on river restoration projects by developing decision support tools to optimize environmental & socio-economic pressures. 
  4. AG "NatureWat" aggregates and consolidates the sector of nature-based technologies to define and commercialize marketable technologies. 

read more

Action Groups on slideshare

EIP Water has established a strong presence on water innovation on the social media channel slideshare. 

A large number of the 29 Action Groups present their objectives and activities on the EIP Water slideshare account, and a detailed overview on all existing Action Groups now presents their geographical distribution, lead organisations by country as well as their respective priority areas. 

read more

Selected Water Innovation News

Global Agencies Call for Urgent Action to Avoid Irreversible Groundwater Depletion

On 10 April 2015, the FAO, UNESCO, World Bank, GEF and International Association of Hydrogeologists called for action by the global community to manage the increasingly urgent depletion and degradation of limited groundwater resources.

A Press Release by the agencies says: "Ahead of the 7th World Water Forum in Daegu and Gyeongbuk next week, the group proposed a set of principles governments can use for better groundwater management. The 2030 Vision and Global Framework for Action represents a bold call for collectively responsible action among governments and the global community to ensure sustainable use of groundwater.

For too long, groundwater governance has been an area of policy neglect, resulting in its degradation and depletion. Global groundwater abstraction has tripled over the past half century. More than a fourth of current withdrawal is non-sustainable. Widespread groundwater pollution is threatening humans and the environment. Most urban aquifers suffer from sanitation issues while coastal aquifers are exposed to saline water intrusion. Industrial pollution, pesticides and fertilizers also find their way into reservoirs.

read more

Peru announces largest commitment to green water infrastructure for any Latin American city

Peru's capital Lima is the world’s second-largest desert city after Cairo, and its water supply struggles to meet the demands of its 9 million residents year-round: in the wet season, the rivers that flow down from the Andes break their banks, as is happening now, while in the dry season, they slow to a trickle. Just two weeks ago, massive landslides killed 9 people, left hundreds homeless, and caused severe damage to major infrastructure just a few kilometers upstream of Lima. Climate change is likely to exaggerate these peaks and troughs.

To meet the challenge, the city’s water utility, SEDAPAL (Servicio de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado de Lima), plans to funnel nearly five percent of the water fees it collects from users into addressing this issue. This includes management funds for “green infrastructure,” which comprises the restoration of everything from the natural wetlands that have always sponged up water in the wet season (and released it into the mountain streams in the dry season) to pre-Incan “amunas” that siphon water off high-altitude streams in the wet season and funnel it into the mountain itself, where it filters down through the rocks over several months and emerges from springs in the dry season.

read more

Professional and Investment Opportunities

How can Research & Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation foster water innovation?

Smart specialization on water under RIS3 - Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation - is not a funding instrument as such; rather, it is a tool that influences the way in which  European regions prioritise funding, in particular for innovation. RIS3 strategies are integrated, place-based economic transformation agendas that do five important things:
  1. They focus policy support and investments on key national/regional priorities, challenges and needs for knowledge-based development.
  2. They build on each country/region’s strengths, competitive advantages and potential for excellence.
  3. They support technological as well as practice-based innovation and aim to stimulate private sector investment.
  4. They get stakeholders fully involved and encourage innovation and experimentation.
  5. They are evidence-based and include sound monitoring and evaluation systems
In the past months, EIP Water has faced a number of questions and information requests from the members of some Action Groups and we have received detailed answers from John Edwards of the Smart Specialisation Platform at the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

read more

InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators

One of the key factors constraining the implementation of Research & Innovation activities is the lack of available financing at acceptable terms to innovative businesses since these types of companies or projects deal with complex products and technologies, unproven markets and intangible assets.

The Ernst and Young “Market study on financial instruments to support innovation in the European water sector” (not yet publicly available) underscored the key shortcomings that apply in the water sector that we are all too familiar with:
  1. The water market is mature, with limited growth rates overall
  2. The exit opportunities for investors (IPO's / M&A) are limited
  3. The water market is fragmented
  4. The market is undervalued
  5. Regulatory constraints
  6. Water ist not a strongly innovative sector
  7. Market uptake of new technologies is difficult
In order to overcome some of these difficulties, the EU and the EIB Group have joined forces to provide finance for research and innovation to entities that may otherwise struggle to access financing.


read more

Recommended Reading

Pricing an Economic Good
called Water

"The world's water crisis is heating up. Record-breaking droughts have been recorded around the world in recent months, and California recently imposed its first-ever mandatory water restrictions. ... " writes Kaitlin Ugolik in the introduction of a recent interview with the World Bank Group's head of the Global Water Practice created in 2014, Junaid Ahmad:

"Ahmad ticks off a number of concerns beyond the availability of clean water, from a lack of access to the delivery of water to a lack of education about sanitation practices. Still, he says, a common thread is increasingly important: How water is valued. Policymakers and politicians have yet to settle on the best way to determine water's economic worth and, as a result, tend to focus on its importance as social good. 

Changing this thinking and viewing water more as a valuable commodity can improve water safety and delivery by encouraging the private sector to become more involved, says Ahmad, who recently spoke to Institutional Investor Associate Editor Kaitlin Ugolik.

Institutional Investor: Water Challenges certainly differ between countries and regions, depending on demand, weather and geopolitics. Looking at the big picture, what would you say are the greatest issues when it comes to water?" 


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WIREs Water on rapid water technology innovation and barriers and opportunities for US and UK utilities

Two scientific papers by Wiley Interdisiplinary Reviews - WIREs - Water series have recently caught our attention:
  1. "The Doomsday Equation and 50 years beyond: new perspectives on the human‐water system" by A. J. Parolari et al.
  2. "Innovation in the water industry: barriers and opportunities for US and UK utilities" by Vanessa L. Speight 
Maureen Gaines, Editor of WET News, introduces the first paper as follows: "A US university is predicting rapid innovation of new water technologies in coming decades to overcome increased demand for water. The prediction comes as a study by Duke University suggests population growth will mean global demand for water could outpace supply by mid-century if current levels of consumption continue."

The abstract of the 2nd article explains: "Water utilities face a variety of challenges in meeting future demands under climate uncertainty, addressing aging infrastructure, ensuring water quality, and reducing energy use. The agility of the utility to implement innovative solutions to these challenges depends upon a variety of factors including utility governance and culture, regulatory environment, condition and performance of water infrastructure, and funding mechanisms for system improvements. The consequences of failing to meet these challenges could include environmental degradation, public health risks, and reductions in the level of service customers have come to expect, all at a highly elevated price."

Announcements and Events

 South Asia and Africa: Best practices in Water-Agriculture-Energy

In collaboration with government agencies, civil society and private sector partners, the Center for International Projects Trust CIPT aims at providing rigorous, research-based knowledge as the foundation for various field based initiatives involving local communities.

The CIPT is the India Office of the Columbia Water Center. Affiliated with the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, USA, CIPT is working across Punjab, Gujarat and Jharkhand in the areas of water, agriculture, livelihoods, extension education and natural resource management.

CIPT is in the process of developing a compendium of best practices in water, agriculture and energy highlighting success stories across categories such as Innovative technologies/practices  for water / energy savings in agriculture, Community based practices on  water / energy savings in agriculture, promotion of policies for sustainability of  Water-energy-Agriculture nexus  and others and welcomes contributions.

read more

Survey on lesson-drawing and policy transfer in European networks

For her research about so-called lesson-drawing and policy transfer in European networks Ms. Lisanne Slotboom is conducting a survey as part of her Master studies European Spatial and Environmental Planning. This research, initiated by Deltares, the Radboud University Nijmegen and the Province of Noord-Brabant aims at analyzing how lesson-drawing in transnational networks works, which constraints can be found and how the likelihood of lesson-drawing can be enhanced in future.

As many of you work with different people from other European countries and therefore have experience with lesson-drawing, Lisanne kindly asks you to complete her survey. It will take ten to fifteen minutes and your participation is highly appreciated. Lisanne expects that this research will contribute to making the process of learning between countries and regions in Europe easier, which can potentially contribute to improving projects and policies, and to ease your innovation processes.

Please fill in the survey asap and by 27 April at the latest. Thank you in advance!

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Baltic Sea Joint Action Plan: Towards Stormwater Management in Baltic Cities

The release event of the Baltic Sea Joint Action Plan for better water quality and urban flooding prevention will be held in Brussels on 21 April 2015. As part of the BalticFlows project, the Joint Action Plan aims to drive economic development through RTD activities in the fields of water monitoring and management enhancing the entire value-added chain of innovation. Themes of the event will be:
  • Safe and liveable cities around the Baltic Sea Region
  • Synergies between regional development and research to enhance competitiveness
  • Smart specialisation
The release event of the Joint Action Plan in the morning will be followed by an open afternoon workshop session “Towards Stormwater Management in Baltic Cities”.

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Water Innovation Europe 2015

WssTP is delighted to announce the opening of the registrations for the 2015 edition of its annual stakeholder conference 'Water Innovation Europe 2015', scheduled to be held from the 24th to the 26th of June at the Diamant Centre in Brussels. The Conference theme for 2015 is 'The role of water in the circular economy' and it will address questions such as:
  • Ηοw can a circular approach to water be given shape in an urban, industrial and agricultural context?
  • What are the barriers and bottlenecks that stand in the way of a circular approach to water?
  • How can RTD and innovation contribute to realise these opportunities?
Water Innovation Europe 2015 will also host the second edition of the prestigious WssTP SME Awards, giving the opportunity to all SMEs with innovative breakthrough solutions in Europe to stand out!  

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