Second Conference on Innovations in Water Reuse Concludes Successfully
Water Reuse Europe (WRE) hosted its second Conference and Exhibition in the historic and lively City of Girona, Spain, on 20 and 21 September 2022. Ninety-five participants and exhibitors from over ten countries attended WRE’s first in-person event since COVID-19 took over the world in March 2020. Three years in the making, WRE was finally able to bring together water reuse professionals in the exceptional city of three rivers, Girona. The two-day conference was a remarkable event which allowed participants to refresh their existing knowledge and also learn about leading edge applications from across the continent and further afield; catch-up on the latest innovations across science, technology and governance across Europe and beyond; and more importantly, offered plenty of networking opportunities to interact with leaders in the reuse community, friends and colleagues as well as sponsors and exhibitors, hence creating wider opportunities for water reuse across Europe.
The conference featured 20 outstanding talks from water reuse experts across academia, research centres, consultancies, water utilities and the industry with the ambition of not only discussing innovations in water reuse but also offering an opportunity to scheme developers and stakeholders to share their experiences with the audience. It also featured a workshop on the Spanish project Suggereix, illustrating the decision support system developed by the project team for the development of water reuse projects in Catalonia and beyond.
The opening session, chaired by Water Reuse Europe director, Miquel Rovira Boixaderas, provided the audience with updates on the water reuse sector in Europe and challenges the sector is facing. It also featured keynotes from the director of Agència Catalana de l’Aigua, Samuel Reyes, on advances in water reuse in Catalonia; and Dr David Smith, Director of Water, Environment and Business for Development (WE&B), who examined the ways in which economic sustainability for water reuse can be ensured. Following the opening session, the conference focused on five core topics: water reuse in urban environments; water reuse for potable applications; protection of public health; nature-based solutions for water reuse; and finally, recent advances in industrial reuse.
Although focusing mainly on experiences from Europe, the conference welcomed speakers from across the pond to share their experiences, specifically on water reuse in the urban environment and advances in potable reuse. Melanie Holmer, Reuse National Practice Lead at Brown and Caldwell (USA), presented progress in direct potable reuse in various American states highlighting key elements to consider when developing and implementing such schemes including compounds of emerging concern; enhanced source control; and the importance of engaging with the public through outreach and education. Gilbert Trejo, Interim Chief Operations Officer – Production and Treatment for El Paso Water, Texas, provided an overview of the challenges associated with freshwater supply in a country increasingly impacted by climate change and series of droughts, and how El Paso has been a pioneer in water reclamation and will now be focusing on direct potable reuse, with the development of a multi-millons dollars schemes that will become the biggest direct potable reuse scheme in the world.
After a day and a half of plenary sessions, the delegates had the opportunity to visit the LLoret de Mar wastewater treatment plant, where part of the wastewater is reused to irrigate the gardens of Santa Clotilde. The visit was organised by the Consorci d’Aigües Costa Brava Girona, which also supported the organisation of the conference along with the Catalan Water Partnership and our respective gold and silver sponsors Arup and Eurecat.
See you in 2024 for our next Conference and Exhibition on Innovations in Water Reuse.
Dr Kristell Le Corre Pidou
Research Fellow in Water Reuse at Cranfield University, UK.
Secretary of Water Reuse Europe