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NEWSLETTER | Winter 2021

In our Winter 2021 newsletter, you will find the report from our success event "Back to the Nature", the renewal of our Management Board, our participation in one of the biggest EU-funded project's on freshwater restoration, the closing conference of the SMART MET research project and much more!


Aqua Publica Europea | Winter 2021



Aqua Publica Europea adopts a new strategy and appoints its new Management Board

On 8 November 2021, the members of Aqua Publica Europea gathered in Brussels and online for the Annual Meeting, which was the opportunity to discuss the new multi-annual strategy centred on the role and responsibility of public water operators in the European green-blue deal. The Annual Meeting was also to occasion to hold the elections for the renewal of the Management Board of the association: Mr Bernard Van Nuffel, President of VIVAQUA (Brussels' public water operator), was re-elected as President of the Association, Mr Alessandro Di Martino, President of AMAP (Palermo’s water operator) was appointed as Vice-President Board and Mr Gérard Luyet, Director of Eau de Genève (Geneva’s water operator), was appointed as Treasurer (see here the complete list of Board’s members and their profiles).

| #BackToTheNature

High attendance at Aqua Publica’s event ‘BACK TO THE NATURE’

Organised in parallel of the COP26 in Glasgow, UK, Aqua Publica Europea’s Conference ‘BACK TO THE NATURE’ gathered close to 200 participants – in Brussels and online - to discuss the impact of climate change on water resources, as well as the potential of nature-based solutions to mitigate its effects. In addition to ‘on-the-ground’ experiences from APE members, exchanges drew on contributions from EU and local authorities’ representatives, elected officials, experts and civil society’s organisations.

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Aqua Publica Europea joins 43 partners in one of the biggest EU-funded projects on freshwater ecosystems’ restoration

Mainstreaming Ecological Restoration of freshwater-related ecosystems in a Landscape context: INnovation, upscaling, and transformation is an EU research project, coordinated by the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), which will seek innovative solutions based on nature to restore the functions of freshwater ecosystems and mitigate climate change. The project, which started officially in October and will last until 2025, has been granted with 21 million funding from the Horizon programme.

Aqua Publica Europea is eager to start collaborating with 43 other partners from across Europe, and it will actively work to promote the dissemination and uptake of MERLIN’s solutions within the community of public water operators at the European level. 

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| Research and innovation

Innovative solutions for water meters presented at the final conference of SMART MET: a Horizon research project led by a group of 7 Aqua Publica members

On 14 December, more than 100 people attended the final conference of the Horizon2020-funded research project SMART.MET to learn more about the innovative technological solutions that were developed and tested on the field during the 4-years project. The conference was also the opportunity to discuss more broadly the conditions for the digitalisation of the water sector together with representatives of European institutions, water regulators and other stakeholders.

The SMART.MET project was conceived integrally within Aqua Publica Europea by a group of 7 water utilities: Viveracqua (Italy), CILE and VIVAQUA (Belgium), SDEA and Eau de Paris (France), Budapest Waterworks (Hungary), and PROMEDIO (Spain). Some of the innovative solutions developed in the framework of the project successfully satisfied some of the unmet needs identified by the 7 utilities, in particular with regard to: A more accurate detection of reverse flow with an automatic valve; A more accurate detection of leakage after the meter; battery life; stable NB-IOT/SIGFOX communication in different contexts.

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| UWWT Revision

Aqua Publica shares its views on the policy options for the revision of the UWWTD

On 26 October, Aqua Publica was invited to share views on the policy options for the revision of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive on the occasion of the ‘stakeholders conference’ organised by the European Commission that closed the consultation phase. Aqua Publica argued that the ambitious objectives outlined by the Commission for the future directive will only be met through a fair and effective distribution of responsibilities among different stakeholders. It also emphasised the importance of allowing for context-based solutions looking to the long term, in order to ensure cost-effectiveness and resilience. In 20222 Aqua Publica will continue to exchange with EU institutions and other stakeholders to bring the experience and the views of the public water sector on how the revision of the UWWTD and of other pieces of EU legislation can play a role in ensuring we achieve a more sustainable and equitable future.

Read APE's position paper

| Public Services

Aqua Publica participates in the first congress of public water services of Catalunya

Aqua Publica participated in the first congress on ‘the public management of water services in Catalunya’ organised by the Catalan Association of municipalities for public water management (AMAP). The congress took place on 24 and 25 November in Terrassa and gathered over 300 participants from water utilities, local authorities, and civil society’s organisations to discuss a range of challenges of water services: from the growing impact of climate change on water resources to equitable tariffing systems to the use of big data for efficient management.

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Aqua Publica joins a Manifesto for Public Services

Aqua Publica signed ‘The Future is Public: Global Manifesto for Public Services’ which was developed by large, worldwide coordination of civil society’s organisations to reaffirm the role of public services as the foundation of a fair and just society and of the social pact that implements the core values of solidarity, equality and human dignity.

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                                                                                                               | Beyond Europe

Aqua Publica and members contribute to the 4th GWOPA Congress

The UN-Habitat’s initiative Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA) organised its 4th Global WOP congress from 18 to 29 October 2021. Aqua Publica and its members actively contributed to seven sessions, including on multi-stakeholder WOPs, water-energy-food nexus, successful factors for enabling WOPs, partnership quality, transparency, accountability and participation, and climate resilience.

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