Water Reuse Europe | Water Europe Joint Webinar on Agricultural water reuse in Europe: status, challenges and opportunities for further growth
According to the latest report from the JRC Global Drought Observatory on Drought in Europe released in March 2023*, the impact of dry conditions on water resources availability this winter are already emerging in wide areas of western and north-western Europe and several smaller areas in southern Europe. In certain countries such as France, Spain, and northern Italy, these dry conditions are raising concerns as they follow similar patterns to the one observed in 2022 that resulted in extreme drought and impact on water supply and agriculture. Although the JRC Global Drought Observatory reports that “vegetation and crops at the beginning of the 2023 growing season have not been significantly affected yet, the current situation may become critical in the coming months if temperature and precipitation anomalies persists in spring.”
One way of alleviating the impact of drought on our water supply and more specifically agriculture, is water reuse. With this webinar, Water Reuse Europe and Water Europe – through the expertise of its Working Group on Water and Sustainable Agrifood Systems – brought together experts in the agricultural water reuse sector from across Europe, to discuss the status of water reuse through examples of good practices, the challenges faced to comply with the EU Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2020/741) on minimum requirements for water reuse coming into force on the 23rd of June 2023, and opportunities to further encourage circular approaches in the agricultural sector.
Our webinar was chaired by:
- Antonia Lorenzo, CEO of BIOAZUL and lead of the Water Europe Working Group on Water and Sustainable Agrifood Systems.
- Alfieri Pollice, Chief Research Scientist at CNR-IRSA, Water Reuse Europe Director and co-lead of the Water Europe Working Group on Water and Sustainable Agrifood Systems.
|14:00||14:05||Welcome and introduction
Marie Raffin, Director and Chairperson of the Water Reuse Europe Board of Directors.
Andrea Rubini, Director of Operations, Water Europe.
Scientific Project Officer, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Ispra, Italy.
Water Reuse in EU: Regulation on Minimum Requirements and JRC Guidelines on Risk Management Plan.
The EU Regulation 2020/741 sets out harmonized minimum water quality and monitoring requirements and risk management provisions for health and environmental risks for safe reuse of urban wastewater. The implementation of a risk management plan, a mandatory tool for the production, supplying and use of reclaimed water is based on the elements of the Annex II of the Regulation. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and DG ENV has worked in close collaboration with experts, representatives of EU Member States, and stakeholders to provide guidelines on risk management. This presentation will give an overview of technical aspects of elements of risk management plan, along with practical examples for their application.
Professor of Chemical-Environmental Engineering, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy.
Water reuse risk management plans and digitalization: case studies in Italy.
Water reuse risk management plans (WRRMPs) are the key to adapt monitoring and management strategies to the local conditions and value chains. A proper combination of digitalization and conventional approach may optimize the risk management, even considering the Water-Energy-Food-Carbon nexus. The presentation will report case studies related to EU-funded projects Digital Water City, WATERUN and FIT4REUSE, while presenting a first full scale WRRMP in an Italian system.
Environmental Engineer, EYDAP SA, Greece.
Master plan of water reuse schemes and challenges in the Eastern Attica Region, Greece.
The region of East Attica in Greece faces stress on its water supply, caused mainly by agricultural activities and tourism in the summer. Thus, a master plan for effluent reuse from Eastern Attica’s wastewater treatment plants was carried out to identify best practices for water reclamation from municipal wastewater and to define the areas where reclaimed water may be applied. In particular, two major wastewater reuse projects in the East Attica region (Rafina/Artemida and Marathon agglomerations) were approved for co-financing by the European Union (EU) Cohesion funds and implementation by the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP S.A.). Whilst being compliant with the 91/271/E.E.C - Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD), the schemes need to produce treated wastewater effluents that comply with the Greek standards for unlimited irrigation and urban reuse (Joint Ministerial Decision 145116/2011). Furthermore, another wastewater project, co-financed with EU funds (beneficiary: Attica Prefecture) involving the non-compliant agglomerations of Koropi and Paiania, is being upgraded with advanced tertiary treatment that will also produce reclaimed water suitable for aquifer recharge to restore the water quality of groundwater bodies. In parallel, a comprehensive feasibility study shall be carried out to address key issues for successful water reuse implementation according to national and EU regulations (EU 2020/741) in the East Attica region.
Professor of Agricultural Hydraulics and Watershed Protection, University of Bologna, Italy.
Senior Assistant Professor, University of Bologna, Italy.
Smart experimental platform to evaluate the effects of crops irrigation with treated wastewater.
Treated wastewater is an important resource that can mitigate negative effects of water scarcity and reduce use of artificial fertilisers, therefore increasing overall circularity and sustainability of the agricultural production. However, it is important to assess effects that this practice can have. A smart experimental platform in Italy, in Emilia-Romagna region, offers a closer view on these aspects. The ferti/irrigation is controlled by a central unit able to measure and integrate the load of nutrients administered to the plants (i.e. tomato and peach). Moreover, the UNIBO researchers are assessing the effect of treated wastewater on soil and crop quality.
Head of Process Innovation, KWB, Germany.
Water reuse in agriculture: Exploiting synergies with the German national micropollutant strategy
To support the implementation of the EU water reuse regulation, the German Ministry of Research and Education launched a funding scheme of 30 M. In total, 13 projects are financed, of which four target water reuse in agriculture. One of these projects (FlexTreat) aims to combine the efforts in Germany and the revision process of the UWWTD to reduce micropollutants emissions with water reuse. The project investigates four different treatment schemes targeting both micropollutants removal and disinfection. One of these schemes is a combination of ozonation, dual media filtration, and UV disinfection at pilot scale. The focus is on treatment to achieve classes A and B for water reuse (E. coli target values: < 10 MPN/100 ml and < 100 MPN/100 ml, respectively). The analytical program includes chemical and physical parameters, microbiological parameters, and various micropollutants.
Results: In addition to the removal of trace substances, an improvement in UV transmissivity is achieved through ozonation which facilitates the operation of a downstream UV system. The data so far shows that the microbial requirements for Class A can only be achieved with a correspondingly higher ozone dose of 0.7 mg ozone/mg DOC, whereas with a lower ozone dose only the requirements for Class B could be achieved. The additional UV system is indispensable in both cases.
Concluding remarks and close.
Marie Raffin / Andrea Rubini
The recording of the webinar is accessible on our YouTube channel here or can be watched below.
About our speakers
Find out more about our speakers here or by clicking on their names in the above programme.
About Water Reuse Europe
Water Reuse Europe (WRE) is the industry association for the European water reuse sector, offering a range of benefits and opportunities for both commercial and public organisations involved in water reuse scheme design, operation, and regulation. As we see significant growth in the number of industrial, agricultural, and municipal water reuse schemes across Europe, it is increasingly important that professionals and organisations working in the sector have opportunities to exchange experiences, advance knowledge and understanding, and develop a unified voice on important issues. WRE’s mission is to promote and support the sharing of good practices, knowledge, techniques, research, and experiences on water reuse and to advance its safe and effective exploitation in Europe.
Being a member of Water Reuse Europe enables companies, public bodies, trade associations and research institutions to take advantage of stimulating opportunities for knowledge exchange, advocacy, and education. It provides organisations with access to news and information about the latest developments in the reuse market and enables them to take advantage of specialist conferences, seminars, and workshops.
About Water Reuse Europe and the Working Group on Water and Sustainable Agrifood Systems
Water Europe (WE) is the recognized voice and promotor of water-related innovation, research, and technology development in Europe. With over 250 members, WE represents the entire range of stakeholders in the water ecosystem. Originally established as a European Technology Platform by the EC, WE is guided in all its activities by its Water Vision. This vision aims to achieve a Water-Smart Society by recognizing and realizing the value of water and its security, sustainability, and resilience. It also emphasizes managing all water sources, avoiding scarcity and pollution, closing resource loops, building climate and demographic change resilience, and engaging all stakeholders for sustainable water governance.
WE has developed key Programs aligned with its Vision. The Collaboration Program enables members to networking, knowledge sharing, and collaborate across the water value chain to address challenges, develop and implement solutions, promote water-related topics in R&I funding programs, and shape project consortia. The Advocacy Program raises awareness about the value of water in society and the economy while promoting innovative solutions through European policy and legislation. The Implementation Program assists members in the deployment and market uptake of innovative solutions through the Water-Oriented Living Labs approach.
Led by Antonia Lorenzo, CEO of BIOAZUL and co-led by Alfieri Pollice, Chief Research Scientist at CNR-IRSA, Water Europe Working Group on Water and Sustainable Agrifood Systems focuses on good practices and innovative solutions in order to improve sustainable exploitation and stewardship of water sources in the agriculture and the food processing industry. The WG aims to involve the water sector, the food industry (e.g. processing), and the agricultural sector with the aim to promote synergies that boost cooperation and exchange of knowledge between these relevant sectors. Likewise, the WG seeks to pave the way for the implementation of appropriate solutions by improving the framework conditions (e.g. better regulations, funding, water quality and quantity, social and economic aspects, etc.).
Image source: Thaï Ch. Hamelin / ChokdiDesign on Unsplash
*Toreti, A., Bavera, D., Acosta Navarro, J., Arias Muñoz, C., Avanzi, F., Barbosa, P., de Jager, A., Di Ciollo, C., Ferraris, L., Fioravanti, G., Gabellani, S., Grimaldi, S., Hrast Essenfelder, A., Isabellon, M., Jonas, T., Maetens, W., Magni, D., Masante, D., Mazzeschi, M., McCormick, N., Meroni, M., Rossi, L., Salamon, P., Spinoni, J., Drought in Europe March 2023, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2023, doi:10.2760/998985, JRC133025.Available at: https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/a8091887-c79b-11ed-a05c-01aa75ed71a1/language-en