Can you please introduce your organisation and field of expertise?
We are a publicly owned, not-for-profit research institute that supports the national and international water utilities in meeting their goal of providing wholesome, affordable and safe drinking water that has the trust of their users. We are also involved in the other half of the water cycle in which we deal appropriately with wastewater. Beyond that, we are interested in water-food-energy nexus challenges, considering water as a resource of water, materials and energy. We see water as the enabler connecting the various sectors.
With whom from your organisation are you taking part in Watershare?
I mostly interact with Dr Lydia Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia (Programme Director of Watershare), Dr Gerard van den Berg (Project Manager of Watershare) and Dr Marielle van der Zouwen (Manager knowledge group Sustainability & Transitions).
What can you bring to Watershare and what are you looking for?
I see my personal contribution mostly in developing networking opportunities. As an academic, I bring to the table a wide network of colleagues from universities, academic alliances and research institutions, together with other relevant stakeholders, to facilitate exchange of information and create opportunities which result in innovative projects for all Watershare partners.
What are you proud of?
This COVID-19 year has brought many challenges to the world and all members of Wateshare. I am proud of how Watershare members reacted to it, which has generated a lot of activities and engagement from the network about, for example, wastewater based epidemiology, new research and practice areas.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for Waterhare in 2020-2021?
It is obvious now that the COVID-19 situation is not going to go away in 2021. We in the Watershare network, being part of those organisations involved in providing essential services (i.e., clean water supply and safe wastewater treatment and disposal), need to continue to innovate and implement projects that help curb future infections. We need to support providers of these essential public utilities in delivering safe drinking water with the highest level of service.
What are your ambitions as a Watershare member?
Collaboration, information sharing and capacity building are the key areas of activity for Watershare that we want to continue improving over the next years. I would like to see even more engagement of the existing members and further opportunities to learn from each others in terms of innovative solutions and future challenges.
Coronavirus/Virus research: What opportunities do you see for Watershare members?
There is definitely an opportunity for Watershare members to lead on innovation and implementation of wastewater-based epidemiology, and not only for Coronavirus but also for chemicals of emerging concern, drugs (both legal and illegal) in wastewater, which will contribute to improving our understanding of public health.