AquaNES Demonstrating synergies in combined natural and engineered processes for water treatment systems
Resilience Management & Governance
“This deliverable is concerned with understanding the relationships between combined natural and engineered systems (cNES) and wider governance frameworks. The work underpinning the report was geared towards developing a clearer picture of the governance factors affecting the potential adoption of cNES in the water and wastewater sector. Following approaches developed in previous research projects, this task explicitly sought to develop a system-level view of the governance land- scape around cNES. We undertook interviews with key stakeholders, and compiled other relevant information, associated with different cNES schemes in different Member States (notably France and the Netherlands). Analysis of that data was used to produce a ‘governance map’ using visualisa- tion software that clearly highlights and describes the influence of different factors, and the inter- linkages between them. The map is online, publicly accessible, and interactive.
The overall findings highlighted that economic considerations, more than policy or regulatory con- siderations, are currently the primary drivers for the adoption of cNES. However, policy initiatives can have a very strong influence on economic feasibility, and this was clearly illustrated in the fact that several cNES benefited from targeted, policy-driven financing schemes geared towards enhancing sustainability. Despite their supportive influence, it was also clear that such financing schemes can also introduce inadvertent barriers to cNES adoption if they create inflexible project arrange- ments. Additionally, the adoption of cNES may be more significantly influenced in future by the emergence of more stringent discharge requirements for wastewater (increasing the attractiveness of cNES as a ‘polishing’ step), combined with requirements / incentives geared towards decarbonising the water and wastewater sector as a whole (as cNES typically have lower embedded carbon emis- sions and require less energy).
The task also resulted in three specific recommendations for cNES in the Netherlands (though they may be applicable elsewhere as well). These are: 1) Develop a clear picture of the characterisation and distribution of risk from early planning stages; 2) Investigate customer awareness / attitudes towards the use of water from cNES (vs. traditional sources); and 3) Improve flexibility in funding arrangements from public subsidies.”
(Citaat: Smith, H., van Dorssen, A.J., Frijns, J.A.G. – AquaNES Demonstrating synergies in combined natural and engineered processes for water treatment systems – D5.1 EU Governance for cNES (2019))