World spending on equipment and services connected to the water sector
rose from ECU 12 to 20 billion between 1990 and 1995. This figure is
set to more than double over the next fifteen years.
In the water sector, Europe is at the forefront in terms of technological
and industrial expertise. Major private companies are operating on all
continents and are leaders in many markets, particularly in the construction
and management of treatment plants for large conurbation. Paradoxically,
although the market on our continent present sizeable economic opportunities,
European water management is not at the cutting edge. The rate of recycling
in industry is, for example, two to four times higher in the United
States and Japan.
The European Commission has adopted an integrated approach to the
water sector to improve the coordination and targeting of Community
research projects, regional, national and international programmes and
private research. This approach takes account of the links between these
various projects and other actions affecting water policy in economic,
social, environmental and industrial terms. The fields covered by this
- development of technological innovations;
- improved tools for the management of resources and networks;
- management of crisis situations;
- international cooperation.
Cost-effective measures that work
In 2005 every European locality with
more than 2000 inhabitants will have to have a plant for the treatment
of waste water. Many small reprocessing plants will therefore have
to be equipped with instruments to measure the quality of the water
entering and leaving the plant. It is to this end that the European
WATER QUALITY MONITOR project has developed a compact and reasonably
priced spectrometer capable of monitoring accurately the treatment
of waste water.
Monitoring and prevention
Headed by a French undertaking, the WATERNET project has developed a
computer aid making it possible, thanks to a network of sensors, to
constantly monitor the quality of the water sampled, predicting changes
and detect causes of pollution.