Jan Verheeke, vice chair of the EEAC, spoke at the European Water Association Conference in Antwerp on the 11th of May.
The European Water Association (EWA) is an independent non-governmental organization, dealing with the management and improvement of the water environment. As a professional association, it covers the whole European water sector (wastewater as well as drinking water and water related waste).
In their yearly conference, the EWA focused on the proposed changes to the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive: What are the challenges and instruments? There were about 70 participants.
Here is Jan’s report from the conference:
Rejane Beurrier (European Commission) presented an overview of the proposed changes and of other water-related initiatives: taken together, the proposed changes form a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get urban water policy at a higher level. In the second introductory speech, I myself explored the challenge to build the connections between an existing more ‘structural’ policy and the potential of the proposed, more ‘systemic’, approach. Next, speakers from WAREG (the water regulators), Aquapublica and EEA showed a broad support for the overall direction of the proposal: a further reduction of the pollution, new measures in relation to emerging and micro-substances, the ambition towards energy-neutrality and the circular economy, an amplified application of the polluter pay’s principle and an increased transparency. In the afternoon, talks were about water policy and innovation, about technological challenges in relation to energy-neutrality, digital transformation, the problem of toxic cocktails in the stormwater, the funding opportunities in Horizon Europe and the effects of climate change on water quantity management – with repercussions on quality. It was definitely useful to participate, and some networking delivers that we could try and find good speakers for our own plans.