Baltic Smart Water Hub: designed for water experts
Baltic Smart Water Hub is an open portal for sharing good practices, technical solutions, tools, innovation technologies and expertise in the water sector of the region. It was launched by the Union of Baltic Cities Sustainable Cities Commission as an instrument for UBC Member Cities to learn about new solutions, make informed decisions and share own achievements. Today, more than half of the smart examples published on the portal come from UBC cities.
Exchange of experience – this request always appears when an expert community begins to assess the needs of a sector. All organizations accumulate knowledge, but how to ensure its continuous exchange to give it volume and perspective? Transnational projects can be one of the answers here, providing examples of effective institutional capacity building, novel technologies implemented in the region and efficient low-cost solutions.
With projects, another need automatically rises: how to ensure durability and wider uptake of the project results after the end of the project and its funding? The Baltic Smart Water Hub portal launched as an output of the transnational project IWAMA (Interactive Water Management) aims to close that gap for the water sector. The portal is developed and supported by the UBC Sustainable Cities Commission to be used by the water wise cities in the Baltic Sea Region, with stakeholders from city authorities, water companies, environmental centres and research institutions.
The first version of the Water Hub was developed based on surveying more than 50 organizations to determine the core needs of the water sector. Among the collected responses, especially noted (90%) were the needs for: an online platform providing a wide range of information and an opportunity for international knowledge exchange. Certain features of the potential platform, which were selected by the respondents as particularly important (and which were lacking on other online platforms existing at that time), were: open access to specific information, figures and materials; examples of practices, solutions, tools; support and information on pilot projects; possibility for cooperation and networking.
If you opened the Hub before, the previous paragraph might sound quite familiar. While developing the portal, we tried to incorporate listed requests, and successfully launched the Hub at the XIV General Conference of the Union of the Baltic Cities in Växjö, Sweden.
Since then, the Hub has gone through many positive changes as the format of the BSR WATER platform (Platform on Integrated Water Cooperation) allowed it to be presented to various expert groups for closer examination. With each new opportunity to test the portal with water experts, we tried to enrich it with new content and features, make it interesting and user-friendly. The portal has already published over 85 various good practices, pilots and innovations and content collection is continuously expanding. The Hub is also a meeting point for international experts willing to develop joint water initiatives, share expertise and consult on water related issues. But this is only the beginning for the countless brilliant ideas born in the Baltic Sea Region!
At the times like these, with meeting opportunities limited and many events already transferred online, having access to the knowledge and practise through a digital platform is especially relevant. We will be happy if it helps you in your work offering new ideas, introducing the experience of operation in other countries, and allowing informed decision-making. And to make the water cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region robust, intresting and inclusive we invite your organization to share own experience, unique solutions and advanced ideas, our portal will proudly present them to the international community!
Author: Mariia Andreeva