R. Nova da Alfândega
For seven days, the City of Porto, in Portugal, became the European capital of water and innovation. A set of three major events gathered over 1000 participants, including decision makers and technicians of utilities, political leaders, regulators, industry and agriculture representatives, investigators, tech companies, startups, SME’s and investors.
International leading voices and thought-leaders on water and innovation discussed the key answers to the questions we now face in the water sector, under the EIP Water Conference 2017. Another conference, named Mayors & Water Conference 2017, focused on the Urban Water Agenda (2030) and showed the innovative and sustainable water solutions implemented in cities. For students and young professionals, Water Innovation Lab (WIL) Europe Porto 2017 offered 21st century skills to shape the water leaders of the future.
EMVIS and IWA were both in Porto.
Broadly speaking, the event spoke to two key water challenges facing the EU:
(1) How to increase innovation uptake (financing of water management and uptake)?
(2) How can the true value of water be recognized?
During the EIP Water Conference 2017, SMEs, Horizon 2020 and innovative research projects within the EU and international water sector were showcased.
We saw innovation starting to take shape in how SMEs approach water treatment with nature based solutions and we saw many examples of decision support systems developed for improved water management and collaboration.
We heard loud and clear, the role of partnerships and collaboration cannot be overstated if we are to see innovation uptake scaled up throughout EU and on the international stage.
The role of policy and regulation was highlighted through the launch of Lisbon International Centre for Water, which will focus on public policy, regulation and management of water services and resources.
We heard wise words from many European cities, European bodies within the water sector and from industry on the way forward to realize an innovative water sector in Europe and beyond:
- “In order to be innovative, we have to be green first” – Duarte Mata, Advisor of Environment & Energy Councillor, City of Lisbon, on his experience with planning and implementing green spaces in Lisbon.
- On designing green spaces adapted to dry, hot climates: Green spaces will be brown in the summer and green in the winter when the rains come. What is important is, “we have to be clever designing landscapes adapted to the climate”.
- “Cities need to transmit scientific knowledge to their citizens, then you get political will” – Bernd Gawlik, Scientific Project Manager, Joint Research Centre, European Commission on concerning the recent publication of The Urban Water Atlas for Europe.
- Cities don’t like rankings; they want to identify priorities – The Urban Water Atlas for Europe shares challenges and examples of solutions implemented in European cities.
- We must keep asking ourselves how inclusive are we? How interactive are we? – Richard Eleman, Head of Public Administrations at EURECAT CTM and Director General of NETWERC H2O, on strengthening stakeholder capacity to participate in multi-level, multi-stakeholder governance models.
- “It’s not because you have smart tools that you are going to be smart” – Diane D’Arras, Suez Environment and President of IWA, on implementing smart water technologies.
- Smart water technologies are key for smart cities, but smart technologies work best when they are thoughtfully designed and integrated into the city via a participatory approach with urban stakeholders
For more information on the outcome of the event, check out:
The latest EIP Water newsletter with all the wrap-up details of Porto Water Innovation Week 2017
An overview of the key topics discussed at Porto Water Innovation Week 2017 provided by Guido Schmidt, Head of Secretariat, EIP Water
A video recap of Porto Water Innovation Week provided by WaterWorld
An overview of the key findings from the sessions at Porto Water Innovation Week provided by Revolve Water.