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NEWSLETTER | Spring 2021

In our Spring 2021 newsletter, we talk about World Water Day 2021, we welcome two new members, we introduce our new Webinar series and public water operators' activities.

newslettr 2021


| World Water Day

Aqua Publica Europea meets the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation

On 19 March 2021, the Management Board of Aqua Publica Europea met Prof Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, the new UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, learn more about the priorities of his mandate and discuss how public water operators can contribute to tackling the triple global crisis that, in the view of the UN Rapporteur, is affecting our societies: climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and democratic governance.

| New members

Aqua Publica welcomes two new members: Vienna Water and Amjasa

Aqua Publica Europea welcomes two new members: The City of Vienna | Vienna Water and Amjasa, the public water operator of Jávea, Spain. Vienna Water manages the entire water cycle for the 1.9 million inhabitants of the Austrian capital and is one of the oldest public water utility in Europe with a proven track record of excellent water quality based on a comprehensive protection system of its water resources. Amjasa has been working since 1977 to provide efficient solutions that demonstrate the efficiency of the public management which serve the public interests.

| Publication

The contribution of Aqua Publica’s members to the realisation of the human right to water and sanitation across the world

On the occasion of the recent launch of the new EU-WOP Programme, Aqua Publica Europea published “Water Operator Partnerships and Solidarity - A global effort to realise the human right to water and sanitation”. This new publication presents, through a series of case studies, European public water operators’ concrete contributions to the realisation of the human right to water and sanitation through not-for-profit Water Operators' Partnerships (WOPs)  across the world.

| Webinar series

Webinar series on EU funding opportunities for the water sector

On 26 February 2021, Aqua Publica Europe launched the first episode of its series of webinars for members on the EU funding opportunities for the water sector. Participants from over 50 water utilities attended the first webinar dedicated to the new EU Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe. Dr. Panagiotis Balabanis, Head of Sector Water at the European Commission’s DG Research & Innovation and Mattia Ceracchi, Head of EU Liaison Office of APRE – Italian Agency for the Promotion of European Research provided an overview of the main features of the new Horizon and shared insights on the specific opportunities for water utilities. Maria José Chesa Marro, Head of Environmental Service and External Relations at BCASA – Barcelona’s public operator in charge of sewage and marine water quality shared successful projects and tips for preparing a successful proposal based on her experience in EU-funded research projects. The second webinar on EU instruments to support investments in the water sector will take place on 30 March 2021.

The series of webinars is reserved for the members of Aqua Publica Europea and invited European public water operators.

| Public Water Management

Bernard Van Nuffel, Aqua Publica Europea President, interviewed by ENA Research Institute for Alternative Policies

On the occasion of World Water Day 2021, ENA Research Institute for Alternative Policies (Greece) interviewed Bernard Van Nuffel, President of Aqua Publica Europea and of VIVAQUA (Brussels’ water operator), on the public water operators' response to COVID-19, on the impacts of climate change on water resources and on the risks of further privatisation of water in Greece.

| Drinking Water Directive

Spanish public water operators discuss the implementation of the new Drinking Water Directive

On 24 February 2021, AEOPAS, the Spanish Association of Public Water Operators, organised a high-level workshop to discuss the implementation of the Drinking Water Directive in Spain. The event was opened by the Spanish State Secretary for Environment, Aqua Publica and AEOPAS. The timely event offered the opportunity to discuss the main novelties of the new Directive (quality parameters and monitoring list, the risk-based approach, access to water and transparency) with experts, academics, and representatives from different ministries, who highlighted the new complex governance arrangements that will be required by the new directive. Aqua Publica Europea welcomed the inclusive and participatory approach adopted by the Spanish Government for the transposition phase of the Directive, expressing the wish that the other European governments follow the Spanish example, as the complexity of the new Directive requires the full involvement of all stakeholders, and particular water operators, from the very beginning of its implementation.

| Research and innovation

SMART.MET project moves towards its final stage involving the testing of innovative smart metering solutions

Aqua Publica and seven of its members have been involved in the EU-funded research project SMART.MET for the development of innovative solutions for smart metering that now is reaching its final stage. In the next months, the water utilities composing the ‘buyers group’ of the consortium will be involved in the pilot testing of the smart meters’ prototypes provided by two companies, Telereading (Italy) and Hydroko, Ng (Belgium), that effectively passed the previous testing phases. 

| Zero Pollution

Public water operators: local contributions to the European Union Zero Pollution ambition

  • PROMEDIO (Badajoz, Spain) installs grids in collectors to prevent the disposal of plastics and other waste into the riverbanks, as part of the Interreg EU-funded project PREDAQUA (here)
  • VIVAQUA (Brussels, Belgium) joins the campaign "the sea starts here" to remind Brussels citizens of the link between city sewers and the sea (here)
  • Acqua Novara (Novara, Italy) distributes 250 reusable water bottles in a local school.
  • Scottish Government - Water Industry Team (Scotland) presents the “Your Water Your Life” campaign which aims to both celebrate Scotland’s tap water and encourage us all to top up from the tap and reduce waste including single-use plastics (here)
  • Eau de Paris (Paris, France)  Zero Plastic Waste action plan aims to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles in Paris by 2024: new steps! (here)
  • SDEA (Alsace-Moselle, France) participates in the week of "Alternatives to Pesticides." This year's edition is focused on "food sovereignty"(biodiversity, food, health and climate). (here)
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