PREPARED: Ready for climate change
The European financing programmes are the engine behind research and innovation in the water sector. The research has not only to broaden knowledge, but must demonstrably contribute to the economic development of the Member States and to Europe in general. One example is PREPARED. KWR coordinates this four-year research programme, which began in 2010.
The PREPARED projects are directed at the adjustment of the water sector to the challenges produced by climate change. At the beginning of the programme, water sector representatives were asked what imminent problems they themselves perceived and what research they felt needed to be done. The research is therefore directly connected to existing, real needs. Research was then carried out into innovative solutions to the problems. In 2013 and 2014 these are tested and demonstrated. KWR is involved in various projects.
The research is directly connected to existing, real needs.
Aquifer Storage and Recovery
Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) is the collective term for techniques and concepts that use aquifers – water-bearing layers underground – to store water for later use. For example, aquifers are used for the seasonal storage of temporary water surpluses to meet the heavier water demand during growing or peak-tourist seasons. The storage can also be used for the treatment of drinking water or wastewater, and the management of groundwater levels. ASR offers many opportunities to improve water management in urban areas. A number of examples have been collected and described in PREPARED – such as the ASR in a brackish aquifer for irrigation water in the Westland greenhouse horticultural area – and a step-by-step plan to support water managers in making an initial assessment of whether ASR offers an appropriate solution for their particular situation.
Water Cycle Safety Plan
Another example of a project in which KWR participated involved the development of a Water Cycle Safety Plan for Eindhoven, in order to tackle current and future water problems. The city is situated in a basin, and parts of it are flooded under heavy rainfall. On the basis of the developed Water Cycle Safety Plan, English and German researchers are now working on a flood risk analysis. The follow-up research addresses risk reduction: What are the costs and benefits of the different preventive measures?
Climate change and social justice
Adriana Hulsmann, the coordinator of PREPARED, explains the importance of the European project for society: “Our goal is to equip utility companies with the means and knowledge for the benefit of European citizens. Climate change and social justice are closely connected, because it is precisely those who contribute least to climate change who are most vulnerable to its consequences. Vulnerable groups, such as the weak, old and poor, frequently only have limited means to protect themselves against the impact of climate change on their environment, like flooding, heat waves and periods of drought.” PREPARED is to be wrapped up in 2014.
© 2017 KWR Watercycle Research Institute
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