In the fall of 2016, a City Blueprint assessment was made of the city of Kortrijk, marking the first application of the tool in Belgium. The city scored very well on drinking water consumption, waste management and attractiveness. Nutrient recovery, energy efficiency of wastewater treatment, and stormwater separation were areas subject to improvement. Kortrijk’s BCI is 6.1.
Dirk Halet of the Flanders Knowledge Center Water (Vlakwa/VITO) participated in the assessment of the city. “The City Blueprint is an accessible and user-friendly tool that can also be applied to smaller cities,” says Halet. “What is striking is that a city is actually involved in a great number of areas, where its efforts contribute to sensible water management. But because they are spread over different programmes and policy plans, their link with water is not always that evident. This assessment provides a clear overview of these efforts and a basis for the further optimisation of future programmes and policy plans, with a stronger focus on water. The spider diagramme visualisation also makes it possible to present city management with a very comprehensible explanation of the current situation and areas for improvement.”
“One thing that bears pointing out, however, is that a city itself has no (or minimal) influence on some of the indicators, which means that coordination is called for with other organisations and higher authorities”, adds Halet. He notes that the indicators that Kortrijk itself can work on are: increased water efficiency, climate adaptation (including a stormwater plan and green spaces), maintenance and investment in the municipal sewerage system, further reduction in pesticide usage with a view to groundwater quality, and increased public participation through the creative and innovative use of data. “The assessment was done in great detail”, concludes Kees van Leeuwen of KWR. “The critical feedback on the methodology was very much appreciated and the suggestions for improvement have already been included in it.”