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Sharing knowhow and solutions is key to solving the world’s water challenges

Against a backdrop of global water insecurity and a summer of record-breaking droughts, more than one hundred Danish leading companies in the water sector joined the International Water Association’s World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen. At the biggest ever convening of its kind, State of Green asked Ramboll, Envidan, Kamstrup, and Danish Water Industries Federation to share key insights and takeaways from congress.
30 September 2022

According to the United Nations, one in three people do not have access to clean drinking water. Two out of five people lack access to basic hygiene facility. In addition, news media have reported about Europe’s worst drought in 500 years, how rivers have run dry, and how the drought on the Horn of Africa potentially could push more than 22 million people into starvation. The summer 2022 firmly underlined how climate change is affecting global water supplies, calling for immediate action.

The 2022 edition in Copenhagen is the largest IWA World Water Congress to date. This year, the congress featured its inaugural High-Level Summit, adding a political dimension that covered three topics: finance, governance, and partnerships. As crucial elements in addressing water challenges and delivering tangible solutions to the growing number of city-dwellers all over the world, the overarching theme of the congress was ‘Water for Smart Liveable Cities’.

In this vein, State of Green spoke with four Danish companies Ramboll, Envidan, Kamstrup, and Danish Water Industries Federation to discuss water challenges globally, and how Danish solutions can help tackle these based on key takeaways from the Copenhagen Congress.

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Global water challenges

Commenting on the overall challenges, Martin Zoffmann, Communication Manager at Ramboll, emphasise that “Climate change is above everything but as the water scarcity situation is getting worse day by day, the situation calls for immediate action.”

On a global scale, the most urgent issues are challenges with water supply and many people do not have acces to clean drinking water as well as many countries are not treating wastewater. Today, 80% of all wastewater is not treated,”  says Jeanette Agertved Madsen, Head of R&D, Envidan.

Mads Helleberg Dorff, Director, Danish Water Industries Federation, highlights three issues: “The most urgent water problems are 1) climate adoption, 2) climate mitigation, where also the water sector can contribute, and 3) the nexus between water, food, energy and health.”

When we discuss the water challenges globally, it is important to emphasize that the challenges differ from country to country. As Per Trøjbo, Vice President Sales, Kamstrup, points out “…water challenges depend on where in the world you look. In some parts of the world, the problem is water scarcity, where in other parts of the world it is water loss”.

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Danish solutions

The water sector has long been heralded as one of Denmark’s strongholds. Over the years, Denmark has introduced blue and green cities that have integrated smart water solutions, climate-resistant neighbourhoods and harbours that are clean enough for its citizens to swim in. On top, the Danes drink groundwater directly from the tap thanks to effective wastewater treatment. Standing on the shoulders of Danish experiences and technologies, here are four ways in which Danish companies reckon they can help global partners in achieving their water and climate goals:

“We have four strongholds to build on: 1) we have groundwater management and monitoring, 2) we have drinking water supply, 3) we have wastewater treatment, where we in fact have shown extremely good results and become energy and climate neutral, 4) we have the overall climate adaptation such as cloud burst and green spaces, and 5) water efficiency in industrial use. With these four strongholds, I believe that we can help globally.”  highlights Mads Helleberg Dorff, Director, Danish Water Industries Federation.

“Danish solutions embrace both the technologies and the knowhow. We have a specific strength in combining our solutions and provide integrated services and technologies. The integration of things, as I see it, is truly a strength of Danish companies and associations where we can share our knowledge with other countries.”  explains Martin Zoffmann, Communication Manager, Ramboll.

“In Denmark, we have the knowhow both to produce clean drinking water and to ensure that the distribution system does not leak the water that have been cleaned. We can treat wastewater to a very high degree, produce energy, and make a CO2 neutral plant.”  says Jeanette Agertved Madsen, Head of R&D, Envidan.

“In Denmark, we have a lot of knowledge. We have the utilities, the universities, and a lot of good technology companies. It is important that they work together. If we do it in the right way, we have the possibilities to find solutions that can save our planet.”  says Per Trøjbo, Vice President Sales, Kamstrup.

What is the IWA Water Congress?

The IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition is the leading global event for water professionals covering the full water cycle. As the Congress rotates through cities and countries, each event has an extra emphasis on issues of specific interest to the region.


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