Water is a critical element for our society and economy. It is used intensively by:
- agriculture (22% of freshwater),
- the public (21%)
- industry (57% - including 45% used for energy production).
The continuous increase in urbanisation and in agricultural products (crops and animals) combined with new demands from the development of bio-based and eco-industries, and the need to preserve biodiversity and the natural eco-system, puts huge demands on our water supply.
So far, European citizens have been confronted with severe water shortages only in certain regions. But as the demand for water grows and the global climate changes, Europe will become increasingly vulnerable.
In many areas of Europe, the balance between water demand and availability has already reached a critical level. Water scarcity and droughts affect one-third of EU territory. And safeguarding water supplies from pollution is a top priority across the continent.
Integrated solutions for urban, agriculture and industry
But no one sector can tackle these challenges alone. Water is used intensively in agricultural and industrial sectors and for public use, so there is a need for integrated solutions within a symbiotic approach.
Being, on the one hand, one of the biggest water-consuming industries, and, on the other hand, one of the biggest providers of water treatment materials and technologies, the European chemical industry is committed to solving the challenges at hand by innovating in sustainable technologies, systems and know-how. Our experience will allow us to develop new approaches to improve other sectors’ water management and public sector water requirements.
Concrete steps through innovation
The chemical industry is working to boost innovation in water related topics to contribute to improved use and treatment of water and further develop a sustainable water policy.
To achieve these solutions the chemical industry (through the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry) is working with partners, including the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP), to revalue water as a precious raw material rather than a utility product. Concretely, both sectors have joined forces to develop the European innovation Partnership on Water.
Objectives of the European Innovation Partnership on Water
- to reduce private water consumption,
- increase water efficiency in irrigation,
- decrease the water footprint of all industries,
- minimise water loss in distribution systems
- reduce the energy used in the water sector.
Objectives of the Innovation Initiative
- to increase the reuse of water
- to introduce low water consumption processes into industry
- to promote new techniques such as nanofiltration
- to examine eco-systems, land-use management and adaptations to climate change.