Accelerating Water Smartness in Coastal Europe and Beyond

Coastal areas are the most densely populated, productive, and economically dominant regions in the world. Rapid development brings with it growing and conflicting demands on natural resources, urging coastal areas into the center of climate change adaptation efforts. In particular, water scarcity and pollution are frontline problems that can only be managed with cross-country, cross-sectoral transformation to achieve water smartness, create systemic innovations in the water sector and ultimately move toward a more circular, sustainable economy.

The goal of the Horizon 2020 project B-WaterSmart is to accelerate this transformation, initially in coastal European regions, where 40 percent of the population of the EU live, and subsequently over the whole European Union. On behalf of the European Commission, adelphi works with six “Living Lab” communities: Alicante, Spain; Bodø, Norway; Flanders, Belgium; Lisbon, Portugal; East Frisia, Germany; and Venice, Italy. Each Living Lab was selected due to the unique, complementary challenges encountered there, which means that solutions developed in these Labs will be scalable upward to deal with similar issues in different regions. All cases have specifically defined criteria and target values to be achieved by the project’s end in 2024. The project entails a cooperative, participatory approach among problem-owners such as water utilities or municipalities, solution providers, market-uptake partners, and partners from the social sciences, humanities, information technology, business development, and water sector outreach. Together, project partners will create and implement solutions in the development of models of governance, regulations, and policy, as well as technological and smart data solutions for more efficient and safe allocation and use of resources.

adelphi will guide solution providers on the most efficient way to replicate their project results. Through stakeholder workshops and communication processes in Europe and beyond, the project team will analyse target areas and markets and identify new application cases. Moreover, adelphi will be responsible for the assessment of legal and institutional barriers to the implementation of the B-WaterSmart solutions, and on this basis make recommendations for appropriate guidelines and policies at the local, national, and EU levels. adelphi's activities are characterized by interoperability and cross-sectoral exchange, without which systemic change is not possible.