Actions should demonstrate the feasibility of a 'water smart' economy and society in which all available water resources, including surface, groundwater, waste water, and process water, are managed in such a way as to avoid water scarcity and pollution, increase resilience to climate change, appropriately manage water-related risks, and ensure that all valuable substances that could be obtained from waste water treatment processes, or are embedded in used water streams, are recovered.
- stimulating efficient and multiple use, recycling and reuse of water; recovery of energy and materials (such as nutrients, minerals, chemicals and metals) from water;
- managing water demand and efficient allocation;
- exploiting alternative water sources;
- prevention of water pollution and degradation of the aquatic environment and soil; and
- cost-effective and smart management of the water system and infrastructure.
The participation of social sciences and humanities, also addressing the gender dimension, is considered crucial to properly address the complex challenges of this topic, especially those related to human behaviour and attitudes towards water, the inter-linkages between policy and implementation, and acceptance of the solutions developed by both the public and other water users.
For both sub-topics, deployment of enabling digital solutions for the monitoring, control and optimisation of data and processes is also encouraged. Where appropriate, related regulatory and institutional barriers which prevent the wide application of developed innovative solutions should be addressed. Where technological innovation is concerned, TRL 5-7 should be achieved. To assure applicability and wide deployment of the innovative water technologies in different conditions (including different water resources, economic, social and regulatory settings) involvement of market take-up partners and/or end users from a wide range of different European regions is strongly encouraged, as well as SME participation.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 10 million and EUR 15 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The project results are expected to contribute to:
- significantly reduced use of water from freshwater sources;
- improved recovery and use of resources (materials and water itself), including energy;
- mobilisation of water-related investments and synergies with other funding instruments.
- the creation of new business opportunities and increased competiveness of EU industries;
- supporting, as appropriate, the implementation of EU water policies, the transition to a more circular economy at different scales and economic and social conditions, water security, water use efficiency, enhanced resilience to climate change and achievement of the relevant Sustainable Development Goals;
- the implementation of the objectives of the EIP Water and, where appropriate, supporting the implementation and evaluation of technology verification schemes, including the EU Environmental Technology Verification Pilot (ETV) programme.
Illustration Photo: A NexSens CB-450 data buoy was added to West Okoboji Lake. This new monitoring system will help the Iowa Lakeside Lab keep a closer eye on water quality. (credits: Fondriest Environmental / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))