Water Smart Territories facilitates interregional collaboration on water.
Interregional collaboration in the field of water is highly needed. Water problems are often very local in nature and solutions might be applied in various regions across Europe. How to facilitate the establishment of a network of trust in which various regions and companies can cooperate with a long-term perspective?
Sustainable water management is essential for European key sectors such as tourism, agriculture, energy, but also chemical, paper and food industry. Within a growing global trend of water consumption, OECD countries water demand is expected to stabilise towards 2050 (350 km3/yr in the EU), and yet European society and economy in different territories must tackle the following trends that will determine the competitiveness of European water industry:
1. Boosting resilient infrastructure.
3. Circular economy
4. Enable multistakeholder governance
Water Smart Territories aims to achieve this goal by cooperating in the framework of the S3P Partnership Industrial Modernisation.
This initiative is coordinated by the region of Aragon, Centre Val de Loire and province of Friesland. Already 20 regions have expressed their interest and 13 have signed up.
Most importantly from the 7 regions active in iWATERMAP, already 6 have signed up and the 7th is in the process of becoming a formal member. In this way the 3rd pillar and Roadmap of iWATERMAP: Interregional Collaboration has found another concrete dimension.
This cooperation will be directly supported by the participating regions, as well as ERDF to support the interregional collaboration, Interreg Component V, COSME and European Partnership Water4All.
Evidence of success
6 of the iWATERMAP regions have already signed up and 1 is in the process of participating. Participating regions have completed a very intensive analysis of their regions capacities and needs and show a firm commitment to cooperate in the following years in the topic of Water Smart Territories. September 30th and October 1st a kick-off event was organised at the Benelux Office in Brussels, followed by a capacity building workshop during the EIP Water 2019 conference in Zaragoza.
There are plenty of water related challenges . What is most difficult is to get the problem owners around the table. Sometimes it is not clear who the exact “owner” is, and the owner also needs to have a budget to solve the water challenges, otherwise the problem continues to exist.
Potential for learning or transfer
The thematic area Water Smart Territories will provide a good opportunity for mutual learning. It can also help other Interreg Europe projects with their need of supporting more interregional collaboration and a need for a long-term structured commitment. On the JRC S3P Platform you can find varies thematic areas in which your region can participate.
By cooperating in Water Smart Territories regions will be supported in their ambition to collaborate interregionally and empowered to reserve ERDF funding for this purpose within the next programming period. This approach could also support other regions in their need for collaboration in a particular field.