Programme - EIP Water Conference 2019

#EUWIC #CleanWaterEU

EU Water Innovation Conference 2019: 

Accelerating action to tackle water pollution and enhance EU preparedness to water-related climate change impacts           

Zaragoza, Spain. 11  – 13 December 2019

Background: This was the 5th EIP Water Conference,  following the successful events in Brussels (2013), Barcelona (2014), Leeuwarden (2016) and Porto (2017), and built upon the European Innovation Partnership (EIP Water)’s efforts so far to foster innovation in the water sector and overcome the main existing barriers. At the same time, it was a stepping stone into the future, as the current EIP Water is planned to end in 2020, and it will likely be followed by new actions to address water-related challenges, secure enhanced compliance with the EU water acquis and foster the research-policy interface, whilst strengthening partnerships for joint efforts.

Overall aim: To raise awareness about the need and urgency to improve water management across the European Union towards a water-smart society, take stock of recent European Commission’s policy assessments and of research and innovation results and outcomes, as well as to promote the exchange of best practices and innovative approaches at the technical, governance and policy levels.

Specific regional objective: To support the regional EBRO2030 strategic agenda for sustainable development with the focus on the Agenda 2030, and to increase knowledge about the funding and management of European water policies. In addition, to analyse different approaches for public-private collaborations in water in Europe.

Overall structure: Full-day conference including introduction and keynote, four thematic sessions and wrap-up; back-to-back events on 11 and 13 December 2019.


11 December 2019

  • 36 side meetings took place between 9:00 and 18:00 at the conference venue, more details about the meetings can be found here.

  • The hosting city was proud to invite all conference participants to a welcome reception sponsored by DUPONT from 19:00-21:00 in the city centre of Zaragoza at the Caja Rural Building by courtesy of Caja Rural de Aragón. Address: Edificio Caja Rural de Aragón ubicado en C/ Coso, 29 Zaragoza. Caja Rural Building, located in Coso Street, 29 Zaragoza. Snacks and drinks are provided.         


Conference agenda 12 December 2019

09:00-09:45 Registration & networking with coffee being served

09:45-11:00 Introduction

Aim: To urge action for clean, safe and secure water in the frame of the 2030 Agenda; to take stock of key findings based on the 2019 Report on the Implementation of the Water Framework and Floods Directives, as well as of the Fitness Check on EU Water law.

11:00-12:30 Session 1 “Preparedness to water-related climate change impacts”

Aim: To generate awareness and guidance for further adaptation action provide good examples and tools and promote the EU Climate Adaptation Strategy in the water sector.

“Water Innovation Museum” featuring

  • Javier Santacruz, (Contadores de Agua de Zaragoza S.A.) Efficient water management solutions (Spain)
  • Adriano Battilani, Irrigants d’Europe
  • Michael Murray, NVP Energy Solutions

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:30 Session 2 “The private sector taking action for sustainable water management”

Aim: To recognise and showcase positive engagement from the private sector and motivate further action and mainstreaming.

Moderated session with

“People’s choice” - audience vote

14:30-16:00 Session 3 “Pollution challenges as opportunities for innovation”

Aim: To call for further action on risk assessment methodologies and de-polluting waters and to showcase challenges and innovative solutions.

  • Presentation: Technology development and the application of the precautionary, the control at source and polluter pays principles, by Javier Fernández Delgado, Canal de Isabel II – the Madrid public water utility (Spain)
  • Moderated discussion, including brief showcase interventions by:
    • Luis Salvatella, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) & Zaragoza University
    • Bernd Gawlik, European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC)
    • Norbert Kreuzinger, Technical University Vienna & Water Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Knowledge Hub on Pollutants of Emerging Concern
  • A water innovation controversial debate, featuring:
    • Thomas van Gilst, European Investment Bank (EIB)
    • Christian Minelli, WAREG European Water Regulators
    • Frank Rogalla, FCC Aqualia water management company
    • Martijn Bijmans, Wetsus - European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology

16:00-16:30 Networking coffee break

16:30-17:30 Session 4 “Lessons learned and future prospects from a research and innovation view-point”

Aim: To showcase innovation policy contributions to tackle key water challenges and secure better climate adaptation and reduced pollution, based on the experiences gained thanks to Horizon 2020, LIFE and other EU co-funding instruments.

Moderated discussion, including brief showcase interventions by:

Outlook on EU research and innovation funding for water under Horizon Europe by Panagiotis Balabanis, European Commission DG for Research and Innovation

17:30-18:00 Closure

  • Main messages from today for tomorrow (Marina Arnaldos Orts, Spanish Young Water Professionals (YWP) Chapter / Madrid Polytechnical University).
  • Final statements by Joaquim Olona Blasco, Government of Aragon, Manuel Menéndez, Director General for water, Ministry for ecological transition and Veronica Manfredi, DG Environment, European Commission

starting ~ 18:30 cocktail & networking activity sponsored by Tervalis at the conference venue. Snacks and drinks were provided.


13 December 2019

The following organisations were kindly offering site visits to a range of innovative and state of the art water management facilities free of charge for conference participants: Ebro River Basin Authority, ARPA EMC, Ingeobras, Cervezas Ambar, Gobierno de Aragón, General Irrigation Community of Alto Aragón, Spanish Institution of Civil Engineers, Club del Agua de Zaragoza.


09:30 – 12:30 Workshop: Reducing water pollution from pharmaceuticals
Organisers: European Commission and World Health Organization (WHO)
Venue: CIBA Building, The Aragon Health Sciences Institute (IACS). San Juan Bosco Avenue, 10, 50009 Zaragoza

Aim: Bringing together knowledge and expertise on how to reduce the presence of pharmaceuticals in the water environment. To identifying lessons learned and opportunities for joint follow-up action.

Draft Agenda:

09:00    Registration. Coffee will be available for participants

09:30    Welcome by the European Commission, World Health Organization & Aragon Department of Health

09:40    Introduction by Veronica Manfredi, European Commission DG Environment

09:55    Keynote presentation “SDGs: Linking Water & Health” by Bruce Gordon, World Health Organization (WHO)

10:15    Panel presentations on ongoing work including:

10:50    Moderated Discussion ‘Action at source’ with panellists and audience.

11:40    Moderated Discussion ‘Innovative effluent management at hotspots’ with panellists and audience.

12:30    Way forward – next steps, by Veronica Manfredi, European Commission & Bruce Gordon, World Health Organization (WHO)

12:40    Closure

Please find more information here.