Ecomondo: Innovative European Projects for Recovery/Reuse of Water Resources

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Photo: Italian Exhibition Group

The Global Water Expo section of the Italian Exhibition Group exhibition is expanding and brings together all the subjects, experts and institutions operating in a sector that in Italy has a value of 777 million euros and still has great growth potential.

Today, the circular economy applied to the integrated water sector – only calculating the resource’s reuse in agriculture – is able to provide a turnover of 777 million euros and approximately 4000 jobs in Italy (“Circular Economy in Italy”, Duccio Bianchi, Edizioni Ambiente publishers). But its potential is much greater: there again, the 2017 edition of the United Nations’ World Water Development Report has an eloquent title: “Wastewater: the untapped resource”.

The topic of the management and sustainable exploitation of wastewater, at urban and industrial level, has a high profile at Ecomondo (5-8 November, Rimini Expo Centre, Italy), the Italian Exhibition Group’s platform for the circular and green economy in Italy and Europe. With the Global Water Expo section, and thanks to the partnership with Utilitalia, Ecomondo provides a showcase for the innovation every stage of the integrated water service and wastewater cycle. The central role of Ecomondo in this context, on the other hand, is borne out by an important event held in September precisely in Italy: The 3rd edition of the Resource Recovery Conference (www.iwarr2019.org) of the IWA (International Water Association), of which IEG expo was a partner: it is the major international summit on this matter, which brings together hundreds of world experts intending to implement projects of circular economy in the water sector.

At Ecomondo, the expo section of Global Water Expo is constantly growing (two halls – D1 and D2 – are reserved for it at the 2019 edition), while a panel of very high profile scientific meetings, prepared by Professor Francesco Fatone (Marches Polytechnic University), responsible for the “water” area on the Ecomondo Technical-Scientific Committee, will ensure opportunities for in-depth networking on all the major topics connected with the water sector: from the combination of water and agriculture, to that of water and health, from the integrated management of wastewater and urban waste in cities (water and the city), to issues of governance and  regulations. A focus will also be dedicated to digital solutions (water 4.0), with a view to improving efficiency, planning and management for better economic and environmental sustainability.

Horizon 2020 European Innovation Action

At this edition of Global Water Expo it will be again be possible to obtain close-up knowledge of the evolution of the innovation projects in the water sector co-financed by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 action. As well as the conclusive results of the Smart Plant project which, in large-scale pilot plants, has validated for over two years, the possibilities of the recovery and reuse of cellulose, biopolymers and nutrients from wastewater and purification sludge, Ecomondo 2019 will enable attendees to know the characteristics and steps of the innovative Hydrousa project, which has the objective of  responding to the problems of water shortage, typical of the Mediterranean islands in the summer tourist period,  by means of innovative nature-based solutions: recovery of wastewater, collection of rainwater, low-cost desalination of seawater, replenishing ground-water water and collecting air humidity. Innovative solutions that will be tested on three Greek islands (Lesvos, Mykonos and Tinos), while other areas of the Mediterranean (including the Tuscan archipelago) will be involved for the repeatability of the concept. New solutions for the reuse of purified wastewater in the Mediterranean basin are also at the centre of the European project Fit4rReuse. All innovative projects that combine research and applicability, and which in the context of Ecomondo will be covered in depth on Tuesday 5th November during the meeting entitled Water reuse in agriculture, sustainable irrigation and nature managed water cycle in the new European framework.

The European project Digital Water City (DWC) aims at finding digital solutions for the optimization of urban water services and will be presented at Ecomondo on Thursday 7th November in the context of the conference on Water and sanitation safety plans, organized in collaboration with the Superior Health Institute and Utilitalia. Professor Fatone explains: “Digital technology can be of great use for efficient management of services and water resources, but also for properly planning investments and contributing to safeguarding the population’s health by means of smart systems and early warning experts.” The Digital Water City project involves five European cities: Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Sofia and, for Italy, Milan.

On the other hand, the issue of legislation on matters of sustainable sludge management and valorization in wastewater treatment is the topic of the meeting being held on Thursday 7th November entitled Barriers and solutions for sustainable sludge management and valorization in wastewater treatment.

The complete continually updated program on the Web site.

Source: Italian Exhibition Group