Changing the way we look at our water-related risks by finding new approaches is something that cannot be achieved overnight
Based on this principle the Amsterdam International Water Week Conference launched the ‘Amsterdam Agreements’ in 2017. The Agreements express the intentions of leading companies, institutes and authorities in the water sector to jointly collaborate on a wide range of challenging issues in the global water agenda. At the AIWW 2017 Conference, nine Amsterdam Agreements were developed and signed. With these Agreements, case owners, experts, suppliers and investors pledged to continue their work in the coming years until they reach their goals and achieve real breakthroughs on water issues.
Following the 2017 Conference, at the AIWW Summit 2018, the achievements and next steps for the Amsterdam Agreements were discussed.
An overview of the Amsterdam Agreements signed in 2017:
1. Human Cities Coalition
Human Cities Coalition and Arcadis, Witteveen+Bos, Fugro, SWECO, Deltares and AkzoNobel signed a MoU that sets out an action agenda for inclusive urban development. The roadmap lays out a long-term strategy to effect a systematic transformation in water infrastructure investments by working closely with key stakeholders towards the inclusion of social and human components in procurement design. This will remain in effect for eighteen months, during which signatories will share knowledge and expertise on a pre-competitive basis to develop a collective vision and action plan to integrate inclusivity.
2. Utility Agreement; Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Paris & Copenhagen
Berliner Wasserbetriebe and Waternet, both utilities that operate in an urban environment agreed to cooperate on three specific topics:
- how to abate contaminants of emerging concern (pharmaceuticals, plant protection products, industrial contaminants, personal care products) in the water cycle;
- how to cope with extreme weather events due to climate change in an urban environment;
- how to cooperate in an international context in international and European research programs like Life and Horizon2020.
In October 2019, Future Water Leaders Caroline Hackett, Alexia Calvel, and Tim Nolden interviewed Andre Struker to give an update on the Amsterdam Agreement. Please watch the video here.
3. Blue Deal: safe water for 20 milion people
All 21 Dutch regional water authorities and the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Infrastructure and Water, Economic Affairs and Climate will set up an international program (Blue Deal). With the programme the parties aim to improve flood protection, the accessibility of water and the water quality worldwide. Blue Deal combines the national policy of three ministries with the hands-on implementing power of the Dutch regional water authorities. These authorities want to share their expertise in regional water management with countries that face similar challenges. In addition, the Dutch water authorities believe that Blue Deal will increase their ambitions to contribute to a safer, cleaner and healthier world. On World Water Day 2018, Blue Deal wil be finalised and presented.
In October 2019, Future Water Leader Bobby Leijgraaf interviewed Emilie Sturm, Programme Manager Blue Deal about the progress. Please read the article here.
4. FMO – NWP: develop and finance international water initiatives
Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) and the Dutch development bank FMO signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to develop at least two water initiatives, from project development to financial closing stage. The role of NWP focuses on mobilising the Dutch water sector around a specific international water initiative and the role for FMO is to develop and structure that specific initiative in such a way that it becomes attractive for different financial partners.
In October 2019, Future Water Leader Bobby Leijgraaf interviewed Ger Pannekoek (NWP) about the progress. Please read the article here.
5. Water in the Circular Economy (WiCE)
KWR, water companies and Vewin have taken the initiative for a joint research program ‘Water in the Circular Economy’ (WiCE). The transition to a circular economy is necessary and the water sector wants to take a leading role in this transition. By developing and applying knowledge with other actors in and around the urban water cycle, they contribute to a circular society. The first WiCE projects will start in January 2018. In these projects parties in and around the urban water cycle connect to develop knowledge on local (re)use of freshwater, the role of water in balancing energy supply and demand, raw material efficiency in the urban water cycle, and investigate governance aspects such as stakeholder management, optimal scale of innovations in the urban water cycle and cost-benefit distribution within these innovations.
In October 2019, Future Water Leader Friso de Wael interviewed Marcel Paalman (KWR) to tell us more on this Amsterdam Agreement. Please watch the video here.
6. Living with the sea
Project Kustplaats IJmuiden aan Zee and the city of Velsen, soon also supported by Wageningen Marine Research and Deltares, are cooperating in ‘Living with the sea’. This project aims to be an international showcase on water safety consisting of:
- Experimental playground – FabCityNature. Learning and testing of climate adaptation and building seaward of the dykes
- BRAK! – Temporary coastal information and innovation center. To have people experiencing the impact of climate change and the innovative ways they can adapt to it.
- Coastal protection and living along the waterside – Building with Nature. Pilot project for living in a sustainable and safe environment. With the rising of the sea level, overcoming climate impact, and, in a natural way.
7. Allied Waters, AquaMinerals and KWR: Upscale water resource recovery
Drinking water treatment yields – apart from drinking water itself – are very usable side products, including lime pellets from central softening processes and iron sludge resulting from the aeration of groundwater. Over two decades AquaMinerals has gained experience finding applications for these products in The Netherlands. The final destination of these side products ranges from paper, glass and carpet industries (lime pellets) to biogas purification (iron sludge). Research and development are key to achieve environmentally and economically viable applications. That’s the role of KWR Watercycle Research Institute. Allied Waters’ focus is to market sustainable concepts internationally, in public-private partnerships. The joint ambition in the Amsterdam Agreement is:
- Introducing and implementing the concept of ‘up-cycling’ in three new countries
- Stimulating further innovation through a ‘revolving fund’ in order to fund further research and development
8. NYC Environmental Protection and Waternet
A bilateral agreement of these water utilities was signed in order to facilitate direct knowledge exchange.
9. HOFOR Copenhagen and Waternet
Direct knowledge exchange is facilitated by this agreement between two water utilities.
Present your initiative as an Amsterdam Agreement during AIWW Conference 2019
Want to present your initiative, coalition, cooperation, innovation as an Amsterdam Agreement during the AIWW Conference 2019? Please contact Quirine Winkler (firstname.lastname@example.org), Community Manager AIWW for more information about the Amsterdam agreements.
Important conclusions at AIWW Conference 2017
The Amsterdam International Water Week Conference in 2017 acted as platform to define and implement a ‘roadmap of change’ in resiliency, optimal resource efficiency and transition to circular economies defined by global leaders, managers, young professionals and new-tech innovators.
The conclusions of AIWW Conference 2017 emphasized the importance of collaboration and inclusion in future requirements to implement integrated solutions. Applicable to as well abstract topics – like ‘valuing water’ not only to be seen as a monetary value but collaboratively consider transparency and pricing mechanisms being key to reflect true value – or concrete topics – like water operator partnerships, benchmarking and fact-based analysis like appropriate sustainability Indexing.
The future provides a key role for regulation in driving progress, innovation driven by investors and ultimately a global World Trade Organization (WTO) treaty for water. AIWW Conference made a practical and innovative start by facilitating Amsterdam Agreements (9 agreements in 2017). Powerful public commitments made by partnerships willing to work together on real-world examples to connect city, water utility and industry case owners to implement solutions.
While the Resilient Cities Leaders Forum in 2015 focused on developing guidance to help make water cities more resilient against disasters, the 2017 Forum discussed the challenges that cities are facing based on concrete cases presented by mayors and deputy mayors and linked these with possible measures and solutions provided by global networks, private sector and financial institutes.
Value of Water: conclusions related to this topic where the emerging economic opportunities, such as those around resource recovery of resources from used waters and a wider contribution to the energy transition needed by cities. The need for ‘value resilience’ in supply chains of commodities and the need to finance decentralized water service projects.
Water management and resilience: climate change adaptation measures can be taken at the utility, industry and city level, especially the combined catchment-wide, green-blue measures. To be deployed in the concept of Water Sensitive Cities that combine flood protection, water quality, and environmental flow measures across river basins facilitating cooperation around transboundary waters. Improved groundwater management by aquifer storage offering a potential means of balancing the collection and use of alternative water sources.
Governance and institutional transformation: as mentioned in the overall conclusion, AIWW Conference 2017 emphasized the importance of collaboration and inclusion in future requirements to implement integrated solutions. Progress needs to be made in water operator partnerships, such as the Dutch WaterWorX initiative with the ultimate result to stimulate innovation and scale up promising solutions.
Following the successful first edition of Resilient Cities Leaders Forum (RCLF) in 2015 in Amsterdam, the second edition was organized in 2017.
Innovation in water solutions: focus on innovation needs an eye on wastewater-based epidemiology, the use of deep tunnels to address sewage and stormwater issues, beneficial use of wastewater streams and the infinite opportunities of IT and big data features in integrated solutions.