Field: Carbon footprint, Network, Partnership, Providing financing, Sustainable consumption, Sustainable water cycle, Water cycle management
Global Technical function: Promoting the sector
Technical Function Unit: Cleaning, Combining activities, Disseminating, Networking, Promoting information sharing, Raising awareness, Skills sharing, Sustainability criteria
Geographic Area: Belgium
Type of actors: Citizens, Industry, Investors, NGOs, Policy makers, SMEs

European Water Partnership (EWP)

The European Water Partnership (EWP) aims at raising awareness on water usage by promoting its Water Vision for Europe.[1] The partnership is promoting the sector by initiating, supporting and enhancing the initiatives and projects of different stakeholders in order to facilitate a general mindset change and to achieve sustainable water resource management.

 

The challenge

Access, the efficient use of and management of water, is one of the major challenges we face globally. Water usage has been rapidly increasing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and, although on a global scale there is not water scarcity as such, an increasing number of regions are chronically short of water. [2]  Clean, safe drinking water is scarce, and water cycle management is largely underdeveloped. Industrypolicy makersinvestors and citizens need to change their attitudes towards water usage to make a sustainable lifestyle possible. Enabling different stakeholders by disseminating information about sustainability criteria in water usage and economic potential of implementing them as well as combining activities will help saving resources, thus also minimising the global carbon footprint.

The network

In 2006, the EWP was founded as an independent value based non-profit organisation structured as an open and inclusive membership association. EWP members includes organisations from industry, government, NGOs and research-sector and is structured according to stakeholder types with membersstrategic partnersproject partners, and institutional partners. Its secretariat is based in Belgium and its main goal is to achieve a sustainable water cycle by solving Europe’s water challenges by 2030. To proceed efficiently, a Water Vision for Europe was developed as part of a multi-stakeholder process. EWP acts as a facilitator for European water policy and provides solutions for its implementation.[3] Networkingskills sharing, and promoting information sharing bring forward innovative water sector projects like cleaning water, commercialisation of a technology or raising awareness for sustainable consumption.

The benefits

Joining the network means becoming part of a powerful association towards safeguarding Europe’s water resources for the future.[4] A couple of recent studies are available for further use and exploitation, such as the annual and technical reports on particular topics.[5] The network has already initiated a number of conferences for the implementation of better water management.[6] EWP supports high impact projects strengthening the previous successful work. Examples are BIOMOMI[7], DIS-SMEs[8], where the National Water Partnerships (NWPs) have joined forces as well as INNEON (Eco-innovation for Investment Network) [9], potentially providing financing for progress.

Further deployment

The EWP concept’s deployment is experimented by opening up the partnership for new members, thus qualifying it for an estimated level 8 on the generic maturity scale GML. Its members are based in Europe, but it also invites enthusiastic partners from beyond to join. The network is financed by a membership fee. EWP seeks to fulfill the water vision for Europe, which states:

“We have achieved sustainable water resource management and universal access to modern and safe water supply and sanitation because we value water in all its dimensions – in its economic, social, environmental and cultural importance.”[10]