21 June 2022

Where the sea meets the land & technology merges with social innovation - circular water innovation in local municipalties

Circular water - processes by which waste water is purified and reused for new purposes- is often viewed from a more technical outlook. However, municipalities and local governments have a huge potential to apply these technologies to create green solutions which benefit citizens and meet their unique needs.

Last week technical experts and city representatives met in the city of A Coruña (Spain) to discuss findings, weigh factors for design, and identify challenges and potential innovations in circular water. The meeting was a great success and served as an opportunity to explore synergies and identify next steps in the implementation of nature based solutions for circular water.

Participants in A Coruña began with thoughtful reflection on historical context of NBS policy and the implications of more recent developments in the greater NBS policy landscape, such as the European Green Deal, the UNEA Resolution on NBS, EU Restoration Law, Urban Greening Plans and Biodiversity partnerships. All these policies apply to nature based solutions and water policy, playing a unique part in aligning and acheiving goals goals for climate change mitigation, pollution reduction and more among urban and regional stakeholders.

Urban policies in cities also help to spread knowledge and build capacities in cities to implement green solutions. To be successful in reaching these aims, circular water initiatives must strive to recognise their role as a potential bridge between the realms of technical scientific exploration of nature based solutions in water and the world of policy implementation.

This work was carried out by NICE NbS with support from ICLEI Europe, a proud new member of the Water Europe community. ICLEI Europe is also coordinating a panel of cities, the NICE Cities Panel, which gathers cities to exchange on their experiences with other cities on the analysis, the testing, the implementation, and the monitoring of nature-based solutions to mitigate water pollution and runoff to ensure a circular urban water system. 

Cities involved in these above-mentioned initiative are engaging with local stakeholders to imagine and shape how nature based solutions can be created to address their unique local needs and regional contexts. Experts and involved stakeholders are working diligently to innovate jointly on circular water solutions and translate these findings into tangible impacts for citizens in those communities.

To learn more about cities and local municipalities involved in cutting-edge circular water pilots, click here.