On 10 September 2015, SUEZ launched in France the 2nd annual call for projects as part of the Working for Water programme. It invites associations, researchers, entrepreneurs and individuals to present innovative initiatives and solutions to conserve water resources. Winners will receive a financial endowment and the assistance of SUEZ experts to carry out their project. Project proposals must address five key challenges identified. This article – the first in a series of five – explores the first challenge: reducing the impact of human activity on water resources. Credit: SUEZ
The development of intensive farming, high-water-consuming industries, and increasing urbanisation are having a greater and greater impact on water resources. Reducing the impact of these human activities on resources is thus a necessity on a planet that may hold 11 billion inhabitants by the end of the century.
Agriculture is the activity that consumes the greatest quantity of water worldwide, accounting for some 70% of withdrawals. The use of pesticides on farm soil also impacts water quality both on and under the surface. Ensuring that farming practices evolve is therefore an essential challenge in fighting these upstream pollutants and reducing the risk of water stress while guaranteeing that production continues. Existing solutions strive for example to determine protection zones around water catchments and to implement smart irrigation solutions to provide the right water at the right place and at the right time. The development of reasoned or ecological farming practices that limit the use of pesticides is also one of the solutions being implemented. It is this type of initiative that the jury of the Working for Water call for projects selected in 2015 by recognising the Coop Bio Ile de France Prize for its initiative toward ecological farming practices in a densely populated area, Ile de France: Credit: SUEZ
Industry, the second largest consumer of water worldwide, also has a role to play. Its impact is associated on the one hand with withdrawals required to ensure the water needs of the manufacturing process, and on the other, with wastewater used in the environment. Treating and recycling effluents generated by these activities essentially requires specific solutions and represents a challenge for many manufacturers.
Lastly, treating domestic wastewater is also key to protecting natural environments. In Europe where it is subject to strict regulations, this treatment must now confront emerging pollutants. Wastewater plants are now equipped with treatment technologies that until now were specific to the production of drinking water (ozonation, ultrafiltration, etc.), to limit the presence of micropollutants in treated wastewater released into the environment.
The call for Working for Water projects is open until 31 December 2015. Credit: SUEZ
Get all of the information on the project in this video:
You can download the call for projects rules here and the candidate application here.
Final selection and winner announcements will take place in March 2016. The overall annual endowment for the call for projects is €100,000.
The jury, co-chaired by Bertrand Camus, SUEZ CEO of water in France, and Serge Lepeltier, Chairman of the Académie de l’Eau and former Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development, will include representatives of institutions, universities and associations, in addition to personalities from the company itself.
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