For some years Gotland has suffered from a scarcity of drinking water. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, together with Region Gotland, has been awarded funding from Sweden’s Innovation Authority Vinnova to build a testbed platform at Storsudret on the island of Gotland. The facility will develop and test a variety of sustainable technologies and systems for supplying water.
Like many parts of Sweden, in recent years Gotland has experienced a shortage of drinking water. In other parts of the world, the situation is even more acute and the need for cost-effective energy solutions is paramount. To this end, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, together with Region Gotland, will establish an infrastructure at Storsudret where new systems that increase the amount of groundwater will be developed, tested and optimized.
Staffan Filipsson from IVL will lead the testbed project. He says that Storsudret’s geology with its thin soil layers and rapid drainage poses a challenge, but that several technologies that can increase water availability already exist.
– The real problem is not the volume of water. The challenge is to collect and store this water to ensure an adequate supply during the summer months. An important part of this is to explore means and ways for water retention at Storsudret. We will also examine the possibilities for actively collecting and filtering rainwater into the groundwater, the creation of smaller ponds and wetlands, and look for underground cavities where groundwater can be stored, he observes.
In addition to rainwater collection, the project will also examine technologies for climate neutral, small-scale seawater desalination and water reuse through increased purification treatment.
– We are convinced that this option will be both environmentally friendly and economically viable, an excellent alternative for managing the water supply and fully in line with Region Gotland’s ambition to find long-term and sustainable solutions for mitigating water scarcity, says Patric Ramberg, Head of Region Gotland’s Technical Services.
In addition to finding solutions to water shortages, the project team hopes that the testbed facility will attract larger projects and companies wanting to develop sustainable systems for mitigating water scarcity, which is rapidly becoming an issue worldwide.
The testbed installation is funded by Vinnova and participating organizations and environmental companies. In addition to IVL and the region of Gotland, these are the Baltic Sea Forum, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Uppsala University, SGU Geological Survey of Sweden, In Situ Instrument, the ENWA Group and Monsson Energy. The Swedish Water & Wastewater Association will lead a reference group for the project.