WaterMan Project: Dialogue Forum and Meeting in Rønne, Denmark
The Interreg Baltic Sea Region (BSR) project WaterMan, through which public authorities and water companies are modelling strategies to reuse water and recirculate retained water, organised a Dialogue Forum and project partner meeting on the 8 and 9 November 2023 in Rønne (Denmark).
The 2-day forum was the occasion for the project partners and external stakeholders with an interest for water reuse, to engage and exchange knowledge on the potentials and challenges of water reuse in the BSR, learn more about water reuse initiatives in Europe and from other water reuse related EU research projects such as ReNutriWater, NurseCoast-II and Aquares, hence deepening the audience’s understanding of the complex content of climate resilient and future oriented water management.
The project partners involved in pilot activities presented their local and regional strategies for water reclamation, which will later be presented to city officials and residents. A plan for the dissemination of information about water reuse and the project among policymakers, politicians and the public were also discussed.
Through the various panel and group discussions taking place over these 2-day event, the participants exchanged on the water management strategies that could be customised to specific local conditions and the means of promoting water reuse, including newly gathered information during the event.
The dialogue forum was also a fantastic opportunity for Water Reuse Europe (WRE), an associate partner on the project, and more specifically its director, Marie Raffin, to speak about how water reuse can help mitigate water scarcity in Europe. Marie Raffin highlighted some of the approaches and initiatives active across the continent, along with the work WRE does on recycled water for industrial purposes but also for residents. Marie Raffin also discussed with the audience the challenges associated with water reuse such as common laws or regulations, the lack of acceptance by authorities and residents to use treated wastewater.
Speakers from a range of EU institutions, authorities and/or involved in EU research projects shared their knowledge on water availability in times of climate change in their respective countries, demonstrating how water reuse could contribute to a more climate resilient water supply in the BSR. Project partners representing Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Region Kalmar County, GA-MA Consulting, Saldus Municipality, Polish Waterworks, Gdańsk University of Technology and more, participated in sessions focussed on the WaterMan pilot/feasibility studies and real-world testing on the reuse of wastewater treatment plant water for industrial and residential purposes, mitigating water scarcity, water reuse strategies for the WaterMan model regions, challenges for water management in the BSR, and how communities are coexisting with water scarcity in the Murcia region of Spain.
Marie Raffin, Director of WRE, on how can water reuse help mitigate water scarcity in Europe.
Finally, a site visit of the Svaneke wastewater treatment plant where a test site using a low-tech (nature-based) treatment system for wastewater recycling is being trialled allowed to showcase how water reuse could be practised in the BSR region. The visit was also the opportunity to meet with a local farmer affected by water scarcity and willing to use the recycled water for crop irrigation and seed production.
Participants visit a farm using recycled water, the Svaneke wastewater treatment plant, and engage in group discussions on challenges and drivers of water reuse in the Baltic Sea region.
More information about the project can be found at https://interreg-baltic.eu.