Sufficient quantity of water with the right quality needs to be supplied, bringing the challenge to match the available water resources with the required type of water. In addition, there is a need to change the focus from treating wastewater and sludge to be ready for disposal, to providing water fit for use and yielding revenues from recovered energy and resources. Robust wastewater treatment units can lead to the development of new products and business opportunities. This priority area can be considered as complementary to priority area 4.1.
There is a lack of awareness of the economic value of water by end-users, as well as a lack of incentives for full-scale implementation and validation of innovative solutions. At the same time, social acceptance of recovered resources is limited, partly through a lack of knowledge with regard to the occurrence of emerging pollutants, and how they are spread.
There are significant market opportunities for new business models and governance structures which can prevent defragmentation and can reorganise/redesign water, rainwater-harvesting and groundwater processing on site. Efficient nutrient recovery and setting first steps to support the creation of a single nutrient market will create new jobs and business opportunities in and outside Europe. Furthermore important market opportunities are anticipated for knowledge and technology with regard to innovative water and wastewater treatment systems.
Water, energy and resource activities in the water and wastewater treatment process are integrated in order to recover nitrogen, phosphorous, biopolymers and/or elements to produce biofuels and other valuable materials from wastewater and enhance energy recovery. Other objectives are the application of water saving techniques avoiding product losses and the elimination of micro pollutants and drug resistant bacteria.
The Steering Group of the EIP Water invites Action Groups to develop and test:
- Innovative concepts for (alternative) water supply, wastewater treatment and recovery of resources.
- Source control methods for discharges of emerging pollutants and pathogens into the wastewater treatment system and cost-effective on-site technologies, removing as much as possible at source.
- Water treatment innovation hubs, in regions that currently lack of appropriate sewer systems and treatment and sanitation facilities, applying smart technologies and decentralized systems with a focus on alternative water sources.
- Systematic approaches to avoid loss of water, energy and resources in industrial production and water and wastewater infrastructure.