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Climate-neutral and resource-efficient water sector

19 February, 2021 - 16:01

How to make the water sector climate-smart and resource-efficient? The online meeting organized on 18 February 2021 by BSR WATER platform brought the call for action, as well as tools for- and examples of making it possible.

The meeting, moderated by Agnieszka Ilola, UBC Sustainable Cities Commission, gathered over 40 participants from universities, local authorities and water utilities to learn and discuss. The inspirational keynote from Corinne Trommsdorff, CEO and Founder of Water Cities on "Transitioning to Climate Smart Water in Cities" opened the meeting emphasizing the importance of water utilities in making the cities carbon neutral and adapted to climate change. Water utilities can become catalysts in local greenhouse gas reductions, with a significant potential to reduce emissions coming from the cooperation partnerships. The keynote stressed the importance and benefits of investing in technologies that allow more efficient operation.

Further presenters followed the theme of improving the operation and management, and establishing mutually beneficial cooperation between water utilities and industries. Two outputs of BSR WATER in relation to this were presented to the public. Policy recommendations for integrated stormwater management in the Baltic Sea Region, freshly published on our website, were introduced by Nika Kotoviča and Jurijs Kondratenko, from the Riga City Council. Recommendations were formulated based on the survey and interviews with 25 cities of the Baltic Sea Region.

Another output, which is currently under development, is a Water-Sludge-Energy Model, the opportunities of which were introduced by Markus Raudkivi, University of Tartu.

Turning to the technologies enabling the climate-smart shift, the inspiring example of energy positive utility from Turku was presented by Jouko Tuomi, process engineer at the Kakolanmäki Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant achieved energy neutrality in wastewater treatment through energy efficiency and enhancing renewable energy production.

Another set of examples highlighted solutions for efficient management of industrial wastewaters developed in the project BEST – Better Efficiency for Industrial Sewage Treatment. Presented by Kajsa Rosqvist from the City of Helsinki, the examples included several pilots, cooperation successes and the guidelines "Towards improved management of industrial wastewaters" providing a comprehensive advice for legislative, institutional, permitting developments.

Nothing can substitute real-life events, but despite the global struggle, the strong cooperation between water sector stakeholders continues!