The Baltic Sea needs smart water sector
The IWAMA project focuses on improving the wastewater management in the Baltic Sea Region through three recognized challenges: raising the capacity of WWTP operators, increasing the energy efficiency of operation and advancing the sludge handling. During last June, the project had held two important events to disseminate the information about IWAMA, share some of its materials, and enable the exchange of knowledge in the region.
Energy efficient operation
First, the project organized the 3rd Capacity Development Workshop on the topic “Energy efficiency in WWT” in Szczecin, Poland on 7–8 June 2017. The event attracted almost 90 participants from the Baltic Sea Region countries. The workshop opened with the greetings from the Vice Mayor of the City of Szczecin Marcin Pawlicki responsible for the environment protection and public utilities.
The event featured an extensive and varied programme aimed at several target groups. Addressing the WWTP operators and managers, we try focus on the practical side of challenges, and connect the users with the solutions. That is why in the third workshop the project introduced the format of a suppliers’ orienteering session involving representatives from the companies offering technologies for the wastewater sphere. The workshop participants could discuss the provided equipment and support, implementability of solutions and experience of installing them on other plants.
Simultaneously, it is equally important to highlight the questions of public participation in the water management sector for the national knowledge-based communities of the project (water associations, universities, environmental centers and other lifelong learning institutions). The programme of the workshop also provided a space for more in-depth discussions on the topics. The second day of the event featured the site visit: the participants had a chance to explore the flagman wastewater treatment project of Szczecin, Pomorzany WWTP.
Smart water sector
Two days of the workshop preceded and followed by several project meetings continued with the event that happened a week after. In the middle of June 2017, the attention of the European level decision-makers turned to Berlin, Germany, where the 8th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region took place.
The Forum that was organized on 13–14 June 2017 was mainly focused on the notion of connectivity. The presenters as well as participants highlighted the need for the development of cooperation and the necessity to intensify contacts grounded by strong trust in the region.
As an EUSBSR flagship project, during the Forum, IWAMA organized a seminar “Smart water sector” focused on capacity building and cross-border cooperation approaching them as contributing factors for the successful technology transfer in the water sector.
The seminar consisted of expert presentations and a discussion round among the panelists. Various groups working in the water field joined the session: from European level organizations to national knowledge centres and specific water companies and associations. The session was moderated by the Lead Partner of the IWAMA project – the UBC Sustainable Cities Commission.
The session “Smart water sector” highlighted several subjects crucial to the efficient and harmonious water management. Naturally, it simultaneously raised many questions and discussions on the exact approach to developing this sphere according to the current needs and interests of the personnel and managing structures as well optimal use of existing smart technologies. In our work throughout the IWAMA project, we take into account various perspectives in reaching the smart water management to deliver most efficient results.
Cooperation with Russia
Apart from the titular IWAMA session, the IWAMA project representatives were invited to contribute to the discussion of cooperating with Northwest-Russia Regions.
IWAMA actively supports the inclusion of the Baltic Sea Region actors outside of the Interreg Programme area into regional affairs. Our project focuses on improving the wastewater management that should eventually result in a better state of the Baltic Sea. The regional environment is not something that can be bounded with the borders: it affects and is being affected by every country around the sea. While the scope of IWAMA is limited to the EU countries of BSR, the project attempts to involve actors from Russian coastal regions (St. Petersburg/Leningrad Oblast and Kaliningrad Oblast) and those Belarus cities that fall into the Baltic Sea catchment area. As associated partners of IWAMA, the actors from these regions can support the dissemination of information concerning the smart wastewater management among their stakeholders and target groups.
You can read more about IWAMA and access materials from the events through the project's website.