In an era marked by rapid urbanization and growing challenges related to water resources, the concept of water smart cities has emerged as an example of innovation and sustainability. These cities recognize the critical importance of water management in urban environments, aiming to optimize the use of water resources while minimizing waste and environmental impact. At the heart of the water smart cities concept lies the integration of smart technologies, data-driven decision-making, and effective governance. They priorities the conservation and preservation of water resources through innovative practices, promoting water-efficient technologies and practices in households, businesses, and public spaces. Moreover, they emphasize the importance of resilience, community engagement, and education, all within a framework of sound governance.
These water smart cities also play a vital role in the broader regional environment, as they are crucial factors for regional climate sustainability and resilience. By implementing sustainable water management practices and fostering resilience to water-related challenges, cities contribute to the overall climate resilience and sustainability of their surrounding regions. This interconnectedness between urban centers and regional environments underscores the significance of holistic and forward-thinking approaches to water management in the face of today's urbanization and climate change challenges.
The transition towards water smart cities necessitates collaboration among diverse stakeholders. City planners play a crucial role in integrating water-efficient practices into urban development plans. Policymakers craft regulations and incentives that encourage sustainable water management. Water utilities ensure the reliable supply and treatment of water. And citizens, as end-users, have a pivotal role in adopting water-efficient behaviours.
It's against this backdrop of water smart cities and the pressing need for sustainable water management that the ARSINOE project comes into play.
ARSINOE, an EU-funded initiative, seeks to foster climate-resilient regions through systemic solutions and innovative approaches. The project's core strategy involves integrating the Systems Innovation Approach (SIA) and the Climate Innovation Window (CIW) to establish a robust ecosystem for climate change adaptation solutions. Within the framework of the EU-funded ARSINOE project, the goal is to harness innovation to address climate adaptation across multiple critical systems. These encompass biodiversity, flooding, sea-level rise, droughts, water scarcity, heatwaves, and deforestation. ARSINOE aims to create an ecosystem for climate change adaptation solutions. It develops a methodological framework that combines the Systems Innovation Approach with the Climate Innovation Window, a reference portal, resulting in a new three-tier approach. This approach will be demonstrated in nine diverse showcases, serving as a proof of concept. The overarching objective of the project is to pave the way towards a green, digital, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future
With this vision in mind, Water Europe, operating under the umbrella of ARSINOE, will proactively foster knowledge transfer and exploitation by organizing a series of clustering seminars on common selected water and climate-related topics in close collaboration with the sister projects ARSINOE, TRANSFORMAR, IMPETUS and REGILIENCE. These seminars aim to discuss gaps and synergies, leading the conversation towards a stronger and clearer vision for future actions. The scope of these events is to create a critical mass of exchanged knowledge and experience, which will be capitalized upon, disseminated, and exploited for various purposes, including policy development, further research and innovation collaboration, and the market uptake of innovations.
This fifth seminar, titled "Water-Smart Cities: Navigating Climate-Resilient Sustainable Urbanization in the Digital Age", will be chaired by the Water Europe VLT Water-Smart Cities, led by Arnout Reulens (city of Mechelen). It will feature an eminent panel of experts from the sister projects projects ARSINOE, TRANSFORMAR, IMPETUS and REGILIENCE, who will actively participate and provide valuable insights drawn from their extensive experience and the ambitious goals of these projects
The Water Europe VLT Water-Smart Cities plays a pivotal role in shaping the event's focus on urban end-user needs, circular economy principles, and the realization of a Water-Smart Society. This VLT in Water Europe sets visionary benchmarks and fosters collaboration among stakeholders, creating a foundation for innovation, experimentation, and the transformation of urban environments into smart, sustainable, and resilient Water-Oriented Living Labs.
The event serves as a stand to further the aims of ARSINOE and its sister projects, focusing on the development of climate-resilient regions and the integration of systemic solutions for sustainable, smart, and climate-adaptive urban environments for a Water-Smart Society.
Introduction to the Arsinoe Seminars Series and clustering activities (Andrea Rubini)
Keynote: Watersmart cities: learnings from 3 local pilots (Arnout Ruelens)
ARSINOE: Let’s scale up synergies of public services’ infrastructures! (Gunnar Braun)
TransormAr: Rapid cost benefit assessment for urban nature-based solutions (Jan Cools)
Panel discussion and Q/A
Wrap up and take aways
Managing Director of Bavarian Office of the German Association of Local Public Utilities (VKU)
Research Coordinator at University of Antwerp
Climate Data Scientist and Climate Modeller at Lobelia
Technical Assistant at Water Europe
Director of Operations at Water Europe
Program Coordinator at City of Mechelen