At the Annual Meeting members looked back at the developments this year, including the new members, tools and projects. In addition, we further elaborated the plans we made during the IWA World Water Congress in Tokyo. These mean that Watershare members will focus on emerging substances, resilient urban water management and future-proof water infrastructures in the near future. Moreover, to broaden the scope of collaboration and partnerships instead of focusing on tools, Watershare will focus on actual collaboration on the basis of tools.
Over the year, we had the pleasure of welcoming DIAM (Oman) and AySA (Argentina), as two outstanding and ambitious water utilities. New tools were developed and uploaded to the Tool Suite, and several new application reference projects were developed, with the recently launched NextGen project as a pivotal example. Many Watershare members are participating in this ‘water in the circular economy’ project, which nicely illustrates the growing cooperative spirit in the platform.
Following up on our discussions at IWA Tokyo, the Athens attendees discussed and agreed on actions for 2018/2019, with the Communities on Practice (CoPs) on Emerging Substances, Resilient Urban Water Management and Future-proof Water Infrastructures as priorities. The COPs on Subsurface Water Solutions and Resource Recovery and Upcycling will continue activities in line with actions already agreed before.
Members indicated that they would like to stay updated about the research activities of Watershare partners and identify potential partners for new activities. Each member has its own priorities, but these often correspond to those of some of the other members. Bodo Weigert, of Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (KWB), noted: ‘The most interesting topics for KWB are the management of stormwater, wastewater and urban sewers, as well as natural water treatment systems like bank filtration and recharge of groundwater. The Watershare CoPs are working on this.’
Mamohloding Tlhagale, of the Water Research Commission (South-Africa), was also present in Athens, where she confirmed that there are many similarities between the challenges facing the Greek and South-African water sectors. ‘This presents a very strategic opportunity for Watershare to facilitate collaborations and partnerships between countries with similar challenges. Working together in addressing the challenges will avoid duplication of research and effort, and allow leverage and sharing of resources, thus strengthening Watershare member partnerships and collaboration.’