De Watergroep is the largest drinking water utility in the Flanders, Belgium; and it is one of the EJWP client organizations. Like other partners in the water sector, De Watergroep is facing many of the same conerns with topography as an additional challenge. Their vision includes exploring new technological opportunities to diversify water resources and create more resilient systems. As part of its involvement in the programme, Watergroep presented “Potable Reuse, the New Drinking Water Infrastructure” project to EJWP2 participants, and challenged them to review related concepts using their different backgrounds in the water sector and their innovative thinking.
The water sector faces many challenges regarding drinking water quantity and quality, and how to sustain the distribution of adequate drinking water to the households. These challenges are coming from different aspects including climate change and the increasing population. Thus, the key question now is how to overcome these challenges and adapt to the new norms using developed technologies and innovative solutions.
Concepts presented to EJWP2 by De Watergroep:
- The concept of water reuse: a practice spread around the world with examples that should be highlighted, so we can learn together from the experience and discuss the potential of scaling it up. The first task for EJWP2 is to look for such examples starting with their own countries, then globally.
- The European guidelines and aspiration about IPR and DPR systems, and the local ones if they are available:
- IPR system: Indirect Potable Reuse.
- DPR system: Direct Potable Reuse.
- The European insights on drinking water safety and legislation in the centralized system and in the decentralized system in the cases of IPR and DPR.
- Recommendations on the ideal water infrastructure (by 2050) in Flanders while considering climate change impacts and water scarcity: This task requires considering many other ideas including the reasons behind the need for change in infrastructure, prioritizing the key solutions according to the challenges and Flanders features, and contemplating the implementation, restrictions and the company role in the new era.