21 June 2022

Circular water innovation: beyond technology alone

Circular water – processes by which waste water is purified and reused for new purposes – is often viewed through a purely technological lens. However, municipalities and local governments are exploring the huge potential of applying circular water methods to create green solutions that meet unique community needs.

Last week, technical experts and city representatives met in the city of A Coruña (Spain) to discuss circular water innovations, factors to consider in systems design, and to identify challenges and potential solutions in the field. In particular, the meeting shed light on nature-based solutions for circular water, and next steps to support their implementation.

Participants with thoughtful reflection on historical context of nature-based solution policies, and the implications of more recent developments in the policy landscape, such as the European Green Deal, the UNEA Resolution on NBS, EU Restoration Law, Urban Greening Plans and Biodiversity partnerships. Nature-based solutions are at play in all of these developments, helping to align with and acheive climate goals at all governance levels.

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

This meeting was convened by the NICE NbS project, in which ICLEI Europe is a partner. As part of the project, ICLEI Europe is coordinating a panel of cities, to exchange on their experiences with analysing, testing, implementing, and monitoring nature-based urban water solutions. ICLEI representatives at the A Coruña meeting also drew on experiences as a proud new member of the Water Europe community. 

Cities involved in the 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 stakeholders are working diligently to innovate together on circular water solutions, and to 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.