EVENT REPORT | WATER AND ENERGY: A complex nexus
More than 150 people attended in person or online the seminar Aqua Publica organised on 17 November 2022 to discuss the novelties of the European Commission's proposal for a revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive and to explore more in-depth the water-energy nexus in light of the proposal and other forthcoming EU legislation. On this page you will find a full report of the event, as well as speakers' presentations.
The European Commission recently proposed a revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, which raises the level of ambition for water operators to become key players of the energy transition. This proposal is expected to curb pollution such as that caused by microplastics and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2040.
Public water operators welcomed this ambitious proposal at the public seminar "WATER AND ENERGY: A Complex Nexus" organised by Aqua Publica Europea on 17 November 2022, but stressed the significant investment and operating costs that it implies and called for flexibility mechanisms and financial support in the form of EU funding to face these costs in an inflationary environment.
They also supported new requirements on quaternary treatment but cautioned that they would only be viable if accompanied by an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme as proposed by the Commission and suggested that the scope of this scheme could be broaden to pollutants such as pesticides and phytosanitary products.
Two operators presented a pilot project to recover heat from wastewater to heat or cool buildings and a strategy to reach energy neutrality by 2030. Discussions then continued with other stakeholders on the need for consistent policies to foster integrated energy-water projects at local level and on the role that regulators could play to stimulate fruitful synergies between the water and energy sectors.