An Integrated Project Funded by the European Commission under the Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems Thematic Priority Area.
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Contract Number: 018320
Project Cordinator: Dr. Theo van den Hoven KIWA Water Research
Project Duration: 1st January 2006 to 31st December 2010

Technology for Safe Drinking Water in Southern Europe

Second Regional Technology Platform in Lisbon (Portugal) on June 5th, 2007

 

Second Regional Technology Platform enabled extensive and vivid information exchange between regional stakeholders from the water sector and the TECHNEAU Team

 

The second Regional Technology Platform (RTP) with the title "Technology for Safe Drinking Water in Southern Europe" experienced great interest from the local water sector. The workshop took place at the Conference Centre of the Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (LNEC),

 

The conference with a wide range of national and international speakers attracted around 80 water experts from Portugal and other European countries and provided a platform to discuss about the drinking water situation on the Iberian Peninsula and to get informed about TECHNEAU research and its results so far.

The RTP was hosted by LNEC, member of the TECHNEAU consortium. Special focus was laid on highlighting the present water situation on the Iberian Peninsula and identifying future challenges and R&D needs.

 

Drinking water supply on the Iberian Peninsula relies mainly on surface water. A smaller part of the population's provision is covered by groundwater resources.

The present water supply situation in the semiarid zone is charcterised by occasional water scarcity and the occurrance of droughts, e.g. in 2005. Furthermore due to the high proportion of agricultural and touristic use of the water resources, the demand generally shows a significant seasonal variation with high peaks in summer.

Water consumption shows the highest concentration in the costal areas of Spain and metropolitan areas of Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon.

 

In the last decade, there were enormous efforts to enhance the drinking water quality, e.g. through the establishment of new and improvement of existing water and wastewater systems. This resulted e.g. in Portugal in a considerable enhancement of the water quality and improved public health and environmental indicators. Today, the drinking water shows a high level of compliance with regulations.

 

As future projections assume that water demand will further augment and that climate change may even worsen water stress, there are several challenges which have to be tackled:

 

1. Water supply systems have to adapt to increasing water scarcity and seasonally varying conditions by applying an integrated management of the available surface and groundwater sources. The systems' flexibility and reliability needs to be increased.

 

2. Water quantity problems are frequently linked to quality deterioration, because of lack of dilution and overexploitation. This is the case for both: surface and groundwater resources. Therefore the following steps have to be taken: water safety plans elaboration and implementation has to be encouraged, operational control shall be carried out on a regular basis and disinfaction shall become mandatory in order to reduce the microbiological contamination.

 

3. Efficiency of water consumption needs to be improved e.g. by reducing water losses in the distribution networks and raising public awareness on economical use of drinking water

 

4. New and "uncommon" water sources have to be tapped e.g. the use of seawater or waste water through applying different new desalination or reclamation techniques.

 

 

There are already existing some well established contacts to the regional stakeholders e.g. EPAL is cooperating with TECHNEAU in several work areas and is also taking part in a TECHNEAU case study where the release of pathogens from biofilms in distribution will be examined.

 

The conference deepened these already existing contacts. But it also enabled promising new contacts and an intensive exchange between regional water experts on the one hand and between regional stakeholders and the TECHNEAU Project Team on the other hand.

A lot of participants expressed a strong interest in TECHNEAU's results and the possible regional application of new technologies developed within the project. Further cooperation and networking possibilities will be explored. The tightening of the newly established contacts and further information exchange with the regional stakeholders will be followed up by the Portuguese project partners of the project, esp. LNEC.