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European chemical and water sectors team up to cut water use



The European technology platforms for sustainable chemistry and water supply and sanitation are working together on an integrated management system to reduce water use in Europe.




The European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (Suschem) and the European Water Platform (WssTP) have set-out a high-level roadmap for sustainable water use. This involves an integrated water management system between the chemical industry, urban water and value-chain partners.

Co-operation between the two platforms was announced on 22 March 2010 to coincide with World Water Day. The integrated management system proposed will include water reuse, complementary water streams and reduced water consumption. This new approach to water management should mean that public and industrial sectors will no longer compete for the same resources.

“Rethinking the traditional will help industry tackle water use in a world where the resource is already under pressure and should be treated as a valuable raw material instead of a simple utility,” says Ger Spork, European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) Innovation Manager and coordinator of the SusChem Secretariat.

The roadmap follows recommendations of the European Commission’s High-Level Group (HLG) on the competitiveness of the European chemical industry, published in February 2009. The HLG called on the chemical industry to use natural resources responsibly. In addition to improving the sector’s energy efficiency and investing in eco-innovation, this should protect the EU’s competitive position as a producer of chemicals.

In the interests of sustainability, the new framework for water use will also address the issues of renewable feedstocks and biotechnology. These materials and processes are particularly water intensive, and could increase water consumption.

The two platforms submitted a proposal for funding of coordination efforts under the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) that has received a positive response from the European Commission.

Boosting sustainability through innovation

SusChem and the WssTP actively promote the development of innovation to ensure sustainability. The concept of innovation as a driver of European competitiveness has shaped SusChem’s dialogue with stakeholders and its vision for a sustainable chemical industry. Moreover, it prompted the production of a European Strategic Research Agenda for innovation in chemical technologies. The WssTP promotes a common vision for European water innovation among actors in the water sector. By supporting technology leadership, solving key issues and encouraging the integrated and sustainable management of resources, WSSTP believes Europe can become expert in providing safe, clean and sustainable water and sanitation.

More information:

European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem):

Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP):