Water is essential for life. As the world’s population grows and the effects of climate change become apparent the demand for clean water increases. Too many people around the world still do not have access to pure water or adequate sanitation.
In Europe we have not yet been confronted with severe water shortages, but in the future we may be more vulnerable. In many European regions the balance between water demand and availability is becoming critical.
The water key challenges in Europe are:
- Scarcity of water as a resource - the water quantity and quality challenge
- The water / energy nexus – we need water to produce energy and water uses large amounts of energy in its supply and transmission systems.
- Unsustainable waste water treatment systems
- The extra demands for water in the development of the bio-based economy in Europe
Innovation for solutions
Boosting innovation in water management will contribute to overcoming these challenges by achieving sustainable use and treatment of water and developing future water policy.
The chemical industry as one of the biggest water consumers can lead the development of integrated water strategies through technologies that reduce water consumption, reduce use of fresh water resources (through cascade use of urban, industrial and rural areas), and optimise waste water management.
The industry is also one of the biggest providers of water treatment materials and technologies. Our experience will allow us to develop new approaches to improve other sectors’ water management and public sector water requirements.
But no one sector can tackle this challenge alone. Water is used intensively in agricultural and industrial sectors and for public use, so there is a need for integrated solutions within a symbiotic approach.
What is SusChem doing?
SusChem is working to boost innovation in water related topics to contribute to improved use and treatment of water and further develop a sustainable water policy.
To achieve these solutions SusChem is working with partners, including the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP), to develop the proposed European Innovation Partnership on Water.
The European Innovation Partnership on Water has ambitious objectives, some examples are: to reduce private water consumption, increase water efficiency in irrigation, decrease the water footprint of all industries, minimise water loss in distribution systems and reduce the energy used in the water sector.
The innovation initiative also aims to increase the reuse of water, introduce low water consumption processes into industry and promote new techniques such as nanofiltration. In addition it will examine eco-systems, land-use management and adaptations to climate change.
For more information on the challenges and innovative solutions in this priority take a look at the SusChem World Water Day web page, the Water for Europe website or Cefic's ‘Tomorrow starts with chemistry’ brochure
If you would like to get involved, or would like more information on Working Group membership and activities in this area, get in contact via the ‘Join a Working Group’ page.