European Commision


EIP Water News 28 / February 2016, 23. February 2016
EIP Water | Boosting opportunities - Innovating water

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the February 2016 edition of our newsletter!

This edition presents fifteen video interviews on Europe and water innovation, eight presentations, three "EIP Water's got talent" competitors and, last but not least, the Leeuwarden declaration - and these are just some of the key features and outcomes of the 3rd EIP Water conference whose success is due to the almost 550 participants from over 50 countries who spent a great day with us on 10 February in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

We hope this documentation provides good insights to all those who could not attend - and already look forward to #EIPWater2017 scheduled for June 2017 for which we have published a call for interested host cities.

Best regards,
The EIP Water Secretariat


EIP Water News and Updates

Almost 550 participants attend #EIPWater2016

The 2016 EIP Water Conference on 10 February 2016 in Leeuwarden provided a thought-provoking and pragmatic exchange about innovation and how innovation partnerships in general, and specifically in the water sector, are progressing in Europe.

The location itself is an inspiring place for anyone involved in water: The Netherlands have of course put water high on their national agenda and Leeuwarden in the province of Fryslan has created a stimulating environment by bringing together a wide variety of public and private stakeholders and great minds to research, develop, test and commercialise water solutions.

Speakers in the one-day conference with almost 550 participants appealed to stakeholders to be mission-driven and ambitious, with governmental agencies not simply taking on the role of facilitating private sector engagement, but being an integral part of the innovation chain by setting the roadmap, helping partners to navigate along it and ultimately being part of the team that celebrates the accomplishments. This approach by state agencies led, for example, to the development of the internet and the smartphone, which took far too long and was far too crazy to have been attractive to private sector investors and developers.

The presentation by the City of London provided a good example of how such a big mission is absolutely critical to be able to master the stresses of climate change, rapid population growth and ageing infrastructure and avoid once more facing the “perfect storm” disaster that the city was facing after consecutive winter droughts in 2011 and 2012.

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#EIPWater2016 main outcome: The Leeuwarden declaration

The Leeuwarden declaration presents key findings and a European innovation action agenda that address the urgent need to accelerate the development and uptake of innovation - i.e. innovative approaches, technology and governance - in the European water sector; it was proclaimed on 10 February 2016 at the 3rd conference of the EIP Water in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

The declaration contains a series of key findings related to eight main topics of the conference and presents a corresponding set of Recommended Actions – a European Innovation Action Agenda – by the participants. It calls upon European governments, research institutions and universities, the private sector, industry, development and investment banks, donors, river basin organizations, water and energy/gas associations, multi- and bilateral institutions, community-based organizations, local and regional authorities and all other stakeholders to commit to the actions and recommendations of the declaration in order to accelerate innovation development in the water sector and removal of innovation barriers in Europe and beyond.

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Site visit @Spannenburg

With a production of 25 million m3 a year, Spannenburg is the largest ground water plant in the Netherlands. It is run by of the drinking water company Vitens. On 11 February  a tour around the site started with a great talk by Manager Business Development Rik Thijssen; he shared the vision of Vitens and how the company envisages the transition towards a smart grid. Key in this process is the Vitens innovation playground, a part of the distribution network allocated for testing. After the visit, participants had a tour through the full plant, viewing all steps in the process, e.g. aeration, softening and decoloring. The visit gave a nice insight in current developments in drinking water production and distribution networks in the Netherlands.

Learning from
#EIPWater2016 evaluation

Evaluations of our earlier Conferences have enabled us to learn a lot about what participants expect and look for at a one-day event. Thus we gave attendees of #EIPWater2016 the opportunity to evaluate different aspects of the event.

While our first conference in Brussels (2013) received a very positive evaluation with an average mark of 3,8, this result increased to 4,2 for the Barcelona conference in 2014. This high level could be maintained for #EIPWater2016 in Leeuwarden, with an average mark 4,3, and for selected aspects it was even possible to improve these marks.

Participants were asked to which extent the conference fulfilled their expectations. The result reflects the positive perception. On average, 79% of the expectations were fulfilled by the conference, very few attendees answered that the conference could not meet their expectations - Thank you for your contributions, we aim to improve further for #EIPWater2017 in June 2017.


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Let's talk water innovation! 

For insights into the work of a large variety of experts and their appreciation of "what drives water innovation in Europe" we have produced a series of interviews with many speakers and other participants of the 3rd EIP Water conference. If you have only five minutes - just watch the five-minutes conference film with quotes from all interviewees.

If you have more time, select one or more from the films below - each of them is in between 2:30 min and 4 min long:
  1. Dutch Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen on Dutch water challenges and what she learnt outside of the Netherlands
  2. Mariana Mazzucato on patient finance for innovation
  3. Durk Krol on how EIP Water and WssTP can complement each other 
  4. Dr Uta Wehn on the specificity of innovation in the water sector 
  5. Reinhard Hübner on the difference between invention and innovation
  6. Olivier Ceberio on the global market for drinking water from ocean waves
  7. Sander Happaerts on EU funding for water innovation
  8. Richard Elelman on water as the biggest challenge of the 21st century
  9. Zsuzsana Kocsis-Kupper on the Danube strategy
  10. Adrian Stanica and Jos Brils on the International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems
  11. Carmem-Lara Manes on technology addressing microbial contamination of water resources
  12. Ernesto Lopez-Baeza on remote sensing technologies
  13. Diane d'Arras on the strengths of the European water sector, and  what Europe might need to do better to address the global market
  14. Peter Schejgrond on the need for a home market for water innovation

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EIP Water has got talent!
And the winner is ...

In collaboration with Isle Utilities the 2016 edition of the EIP Water Conference presented an “EIP Water’s Got Talent” session in the afternoon of 10 February. The competition was designed to make it easier than ever for innovators to connect with investors, partners and end users in a fun and interactive way. Three finalists had been selected out of a total of 15 applications: 
  1. Microbia Environnement
  2. Smart H20
  3. Resolute Marine Limited (RML) - Wave2OTM
The session offered the participants a critical and unrivaled chance to pitch their innovations to an audience of over 550 conference participants and an expert panel consisting of Dr Reinhard Hübner from Skion GmbH, Diane D'Arras from Suez and Cees Buisman from wetsus. After a tight competition and Q&A session, followed by a vote of the audience, the expert panel finally announced the winner ...

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Power points, tweets & pics: #EIPWater2016 in digital space

In addition to our interview series, the 3rd EIP Water Conference in Leeuwarden was also documented by various participants on twitter using #EIPWater2016. Almost all presentations are now available on our slideshare account and a series of photos from the event can be seen on flickr

Please do not hesitate to check out our digital channels for various perspectives and highlights of "why and how to drive water innovation in Europe".

Follow, challenge and engage with us!

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Site visit @Watercampus

#EIPWater2016 would not have been so successful without one of its main partners, the Watercampus of Leeuwarden in whose site visit over  50 persons participated. The Watercampus is an innovation ecosystem linking the different steps of the innovation chain. The visitors gained detailed insights into  three main locations: Wetsus, the Sint Johannes de Doperkerk, and the Water Application Center. At Wetsus, where the innovation starts with new ideas and concepts being created and tested, the participants visited the state of the art laboratory, the demonstration pilot of the Value From Urine project where phosphorus and nitrogen are recovered from the urine of the Wetsus employees. The Wetsus part ends in the atrium of the building where teaching activities realized during school visits are explained together with demonstration units of various Wetsus projects (Value from Urine, Blue Energy and the floating water bridge).  

In the nearby church, the Sint Johannes de Doperkerk, that was reconverted into an incubator for start-ups in the water sector,  first steps to the market are made. The visit ended at the Water Application Center, a water technology laboratory that companies can rent to test their technologies.

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EIP Water Action Group News

TUM DeSal Challenge 2016 – Nomination of finalists

For the last few months, teams of students from various nationalities like Germany, Croatia, Poland, Jordan, or Iran have developed creative, innovative concepts for the construction of energy-self-sufficient desalination plants. They are highly committed and they all are willing to fight – not only to raise attention for the global challenge of water scarcity in many parts of the world, but also to find appropriate solutions.

Their solution is sustainable seawater desalination exclusively powered by renewable energies. They have sent in their ideas to the TUM DeSal Challenge and now an independent jury of specialists, consisting of renowned experts both from scientific research and industries, has selected the best ideas. 12 teams have been selected for for the participation in theTUM DeSal Challenge 2016. The jury is unanimously agreeing: the upcoming challenge in the middle of June is going to be very exciting!

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EIP Water Action Group CTRL+SWAN 

Cloud Technologies & ReaL time monitoring + Smart WAter Network  is the long version of CTRL+SWAN - an EIP Water Action Group that organized an open meeting on Best Available Technology (BAT)  for Water during the Leeuwarden conference. 

Known Technologies already exist in the field of water network (i.e. smart metering, network partitioning, pressure control, leakage detection, etc.) but they are not required or suggested by European and national laws. The meeting aimed to propose the application of BAT to water as in other engineering fields. The idea is to propose to the European Commission the introduction of a reference document or guidelines on Smart Water Network (leakage, quality, quantity etc..). CTRL+SWAN members suggest for EIP Water Action Groups to work across different water sectors for the scouting of possible Best Available Technology; the Action Groups suggestion is for the European Commission to subsequently validate them to be applied to SWAN or/and other water fields. 

During the meeting, technologies able to transform the traditional Water Distribution Systems (WDSs) in modern Smart WAter Networks (SWANs) were proposed and discussed. Specifically, new smart sensors, innovative procedures for water network partitioning and protection, advanced cloud platforms to manage big data control were presented. The meeting included a networking session that offered participants the opportunity to meet company, research center, water utility and university to identify potential collaboration.

Ctrl+Swan's idea to apply to the water sector the concept of BAT had a great success. The audience was receptive and the meeting was the starting point for the presentation of the idea (with an official document) to the EC and for the cooperation between EIP Water Action Groups on this topic.

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Boosting Managed Aquifer Recharge in Europe - side meeting

The side meeting with this title was held on 9 February  and aimed to present and discuss the best way for training researchers, industry/SMEs, and end users on Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) as well as on new developments in this field; furthermore, the organisers aimed to foster the MAR project partners' knowledge and to ensure that MAR project's RTD and DEMO results effectively reaches the end-users.

About 20 participants had registered for the meeting and were exposed to ten presentations from seven EU Member-states, sponsored by several FP7, H2020 and national MAR projects. The presenters highlighted that during 2015 six out of eight FP7 MARSOL project demonstration sites had been either newly developed or upgraded.

As a conclusion, the MARtoMArket Action Group wishes to stress the relevancy of MAR technologies as part of the solution towards a better adaptation to climate change, reinforcing the green circular economy not only in Europe, but also in the Mediterranean and worldwide. Participants also highlighted the relevancy of collaborating with complementary EIP Water Action Groups and suggested for the EIP Water to organize a Brussels meeting with AG team leaders during the first semester of 2016.

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NatureWat AG - Internal meeting

The internal members meeting of the Action Group Nature Wat aimed to present project status and future activities. NatureWat started its activities in April 2015.

To date, the deliverable “D1.1 Report on stakeholders” and the report “Nature based solutions” have been finalised. The latter was prepared by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and includes technologies portfolio, demo-sites description and constrains and barriers to the adoption of nature-based solutions for water management.

Regarding the future activities, DIT will organise a workshop on nature-based solutions in Dublin next September with support and participation of AG’s members. As a conclusion, NatureWat members stressed the relevancy of nature-based technologies as part of the solution towards a sustainable water management, risk disaster reduction, flood protection, degraded areas restoration, biodiversity preservation and climate change adaptation. Participants also expressed their interest in collaborating with other Action Groups.

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Recommended Reading

OECD launches
“Water Governance in cities”

“Current levels of service delivery and water security should not be taken for granted in cities in developed and industrialised economies, since urban, demographic and climate trends are increasingly putting pressures on water resources”, says a new report by the OECD - “Water Governance in Cities”- which was launched by Aziza Akhmouch, Head of the OECD Water Governance Programme, at the recent “Cities & Water” conference on 11 February in Leeuwarden. 

“Facing these challenges requires robust public policies and sound governance frameworks to co-ordinate across multiple scales, authorities, and policy domains. Building on a survey of 48 cities in OECD countries and emerging economies, the report analyses key factors affecting urban water governance, discusses trends in allocating roles and responsibilities across levels of government, and assesses multi-level governance gaps in urban water management.” 

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EU Fund for Strategic Investments: backing infrastructure & innovation

The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by the end of 2015, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) triggered around €50 billion of investment in Europe. The state of play as of January 2016, including a break-down by sector and by country, has recently been published. It includes:
  • Investment plan: EU-wide state of play
  • Country fact sheets
  • Sector fact sheets
  • Examples of EFSI-financed projects
  • Examples of SME-financing agreements


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Announcements and Events

Consultation on Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the future of PRIMA, the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area.

In December 2014, nine Member States of the European Union submitted a proposal for the participation of the EU in a joint research and innovation programme focused on the development and application of innovative solutions for food systems and water resources in the Mediterranean basin. This would be carried out through an Article 185 TFEU initiative under Horizon 2020. According to the proposal, the general objective of PRIMA is to reinforce cooperation in Research and Innovation in Mediterranean countries in order to contribute to the challenges of sustainable food production and water resources management in the Mediterranean region. The following seven non-EU countries are taking part in PRIMA: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.

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International cooperation and regional clusters: innovation in water efficiency

The FP7 project "Water Efficiency in European Urban Areas - WE@EU in short -  invites you to the event ‘International cooperation and regional clusters: innovation in water efficiency’ on Wednesday, 18 May 2016, at the Committee of the Regions (Rue Belliard 101) in Brussels.

The full-day event will see representatives from different regions present the main results of the 3 year project, through a ‘Cluster Showcase’, ‘Panel Discussion’ and ‘Open Forum’ sessions with a focus on boosting dialogue and collaborative activities both within Europe and internationally to support project continuation.

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#EIPWater2016 is over -
where will #EIPWater2017 be?

The EIP Water is pleased to announce this call for European cities and conference partners to host the fourth one-day EIP Water conference which is planned to take place in June 2017. The conference shall be preceded or followed by side events and site visits. We are now inviting all interested host cities and conference partners to develop and submit their proposals by the deadline of 29 April 2016.

The annual EIP Water conference has grown from slightly over 300 participants in Brussels in 2013 to over 400 in Barcelona in November 2014 and more than 550 participants from over 50 countries in Leeuwarden in February 2016. The host city and conference partners of the EIP Water’s fourth conference will benefit from the great visibility of the event within the European water sector as well as a number of high-level speakers and international participants.

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Financing Innovation: 
Watch out for Wetsus Congress 2016

The annual congress of wetsus will take place on 3 and 4 October 2016 in De Harmonie of Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. The organizers write:

“If you enjoyed the recent EIP Water 2016 conference - you may not only be interested but certainly also enjoy our “Wetsus Congress 2016” which has taken as its main theme: Financing innovation. We look forward to welcoming you once again in Leeuwarden!”

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