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Towards a Next Generation of Water Systems and Services for the Circular Economy

Europe’s communities are in many ways uniquely placed to transition from a linear to a Circular Economy (CE) model. Nowhere is this opportunity more relevant and urgent than in the water sector where largely linear production – consumption – disposal chains exacerbate resource depletion issues, contributing to increasingly volatile raw material and energy costs as competition for diminishing resources becomes more intense.

Engineered water systems are strongly interdependent with the natural water environment meaning that traditional linear approaches to water services provision risk polluting source waters, resulting in high subsequent treatment costs. NextGen will evaluate and champion innovative and transformational CE solutions and systems that challenge embedded thinking and practices around resource use in the water sector.

NextGen will demonstrate novel technological, business and governance solutions for water in the CE in ten high-profile, large-scale, demonstration cases across Europe, and we will develop the necessary approaches, tools and partnerships, to transfer and upscale. We will produce new understandings to underpin the exploitation of techniques and technologies that enhance our ability to recover, refine, reuse, repurpose, capture value from, and extend the use-life of, an ever-increasing range of resources and products, thereby projecting the European water and allied sectors as global CE pioneers.

It is about reusing the resource itself, by:
  • storage, optimized water management
  • advanced technologies for water purification
  • building local ecosystems for water
  • combinations of energy and water where energy is utilized and stored
  • reuse of nutrients in water and development of new materials
  • reduce the cost of purifying micro-pollutants in water

NextGen will produce new knowledge on technologies that improve the ability to recycle, refine, reuse, exploit the value of and extend the life of an ever-increasing range of resources and products in the European water and its allied sectors. NextGen will also serve as global CE pioneers in India and China.

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