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AquaGlobe – Together for water

The World is facing a water crisis with unforseeable consequences. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal no. 6  is about access for all humans to clean water and sanitation – and this goal is crucial for reaching the other 16 goals. In Denmark, we have many of the solutions needed to solve these issues, and therefore we have an obligation to act. With AquaGlobe - Water Solution Center, we aim to demonstrate the potential in innovative state-of-the-art Danish Water Technology.

The Water Crisis and Global Goals

According to the World Economic Forum in 2015, the predominant threat to human welfare and wellbeing was and still is the over-exploitation of water resources, for the next 10 years. The consequences of climate change grow more obvious by the day; sea level and groundwater is rising and the number of floods are increasing. Other problems include drought, lack of access to drinking water and contamination of water environments across the globe.

To handle these problems, it is essential that we all look at the solutions we have and our responsibility to make them available where they are most needed. The UN Sustainable Development Goals have the potential to make the free market forces pull towards a better world. In fact, it just might be the only way for us to afford to make a difference that counts.

According to the UN, half the world’s population will lack access to drinking water by 2030. In the EU alone, up to 40 % water is wasted from the well to the consumer. Some cities use as much as 40 % of the total energy consumption on the handling and treatment of water, while 80 % waste water runs untreated into the natural environment damaging streems, rivers, lakes and the sea. Indeed, the water crisis seems insurmountable at times.

Water in Denmark

In Denmark, we have water technology solutions designed to minimise how much waste water ends up in nature by using the sludge to produce energy. So much so that water treatment becomes net energy production. Denmark has one of the world’s lowest water losses at just 7 %. Our strength is energy efficiency and when more water reaches the consumers and we produce energy delivering it, it benefits the environment, the economy and the climate. In the end, it means more drinking water for those going thirsty.

In Denmark, the security of the water supply reaches 99.99 pct. Our water standards are extremely high and we have plenty of groundwater. But that has not always been the case. Until 1852, many Danes died from cholera. The decease spread through the sewage in the streets and ran into the city water wells and streams, that were used for drinking water. The idea then - and now - was to extract drinking water from the groundwater and direct the sewage through pipes for treatment elsewhere. The separation of sewage and drinking water was the foundation of Danish water technology and kicked off the solutions we export worldwide today – increasingly every year.

At the same time, we are frontrunners when it comes to climate adaptation. In broad partnerships we combine management of extreme weather events with recreational and rural development. AquaGlobe is part of the Region of Central Denmark’s EU LIFE project called the Coast-to-Coast Climate Challenge. There are some 30 initiatives brought together in a project amounting to € 10,5 mill. Together we aim to create a robust climate region adapted to the climate with a long-term strategy as well as coordinated, targeted adaptation plans at a municipal level. AquaGlobe is a designated lighthouse for communicating the project, increasing export and spreading beneficial solutions across the globe.

Central Denmark – a Danish Water Valley

AquaGlobe - Water Solution Center is situated in Skanderborg, Denmark. Not far from Kamstrup, AVK, SILHORKO-EUROWATER, Frontmatec and SUEZ – as well as Grundfos, Wavin and VIA University College. There is full speed ahead on all things digital, virtual and smart, yet the proximity to world leading water technology companies remains essential when customers from across the globe come to visit. Our visitors come to listen to experienced operation specialists, and to experience firsthand when products are integrated into solutions and tested in a fully functioning supply network.

There are many advantages to unifying business, utility and research. The close cooperation between utility and developers within research and product development is critical to export. With the latest input from research, we can improve products and solutions. By mixing competences and know-how we improve each other’s solutions. With strong digital partners like Danova, Powel, Stjernholm, Eltronic and Frontmatec, AquaGlobe aims to facilitate the necessary transition of the water sector, and thus make algorithms, machine learning and data in real-time an integral part of the setup and transform Skanderborg into a Smart Water City.

The world is waiting

In 2017, 20 international delegations visited AquaGlobe. Up to 39 people at the time from countries such as South Africa, Surinam, Greece, Ghana, France, USA, Germany, China and Kazakhstan. They came to hear about the most recent research in filters, smart metering for water supply, reduction of water loss or intelligent controlling of the bacteriological processes in waste water management. A good mix of low-tech and high-tech, of dosage and digitalization, and of automation and synergy in solutions.

Denmark has many of the solutions the world needs to handle the challenges we face on water. Many more solutions are underway. As a whole, these solutions have the potential to protect our nature and environment, our homes and businesses from pollution and climate change. By bringing it all together in one place, you get a grasp of the impact that individual state-of-the-art products will do for you when integrated into holistic solutions.

Taking our cue from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal no. 6 of providing access to clean water and sanitation for all, we are making a significant – even vital – contribution to all the other 16 UN goals. None of these goals can be achieved unless we are ambitious about our actions to ensure the supply of clean water and sanitation.

By: Morten Sæderup, CEO at AVK International; Jesper Daugaard, Senior Vice President at Kamstrup; Kenth Hvid Nielsen, Group Vice President at Grundfos; Kaj Stjernholm, CEO at Stjernholm a/s; Jan Bidsted, Managing Director at Danova; Jesper Rantala, Director of Data Intelligence at Eltronic a/s; Peter Gerlich, Chief Channel Officer at Powel; Lotte Thøgersen, Director of Education and Research at VIA University College; Kurt Godsk, Vice President at Frontmatec; Torben Buhl, CEO at SILHORKO-EUROWATER and Jens F. Bastrup, CEO at Skanderborg Utility.

This article was originally published in Jyllands-Posten.