project

Impact and opportunities for the urban watercycle of the ‘fully circular in 2050’ target

Circular Water 2050

Expert(s):
Kees Roest PhD BSc

  • Start date
    03 Jul 2017
  • End date
    30 Jun 2020
  • Principal
    WiCE en Stowa
  • collaborating partners
    Energie- en Grondstoffenfabriek (EFGF), AquaMinerals

The project ‘Circular Water 2050 – impact and opportunities of the “fully circular in 2050” target for an urban watercycle’ falls under the WiCE ‘Efficient with Raw Materials’ research area. The project’s aim is to develop a vision and roadmap(s) for the water sector, with a view to the national ‘A Circular Economy in the Netherlands by 2050’ programme. The project involves the raw material efficiency in the urban watercycle, including the extraction and reuse of raw materials. We will generate insights into where action is needed to bring about, or increase, circularity, and what the consequences might be.

Raw material efficiency in the urban watercycle, including extraction and reuse

A circular economy revolves around an efficient management of raw materials, including energy and water. Materials are given a second life through upgrading into renewable raw materials or through their reuse. The water sector translates this quest by cutting its use of the usual raw materials and by seeking alternatives for them through joint, practice-oriented research. The sector also works on the recovery and reuse of raw materials in the urban watercycle, which should reduce the emission of substances into the environment.

The project ‘Circular Water 2050 – impact and opportunities of the “fully circular in 2050” target for an urban watercycle’ falls under the WiCE ‘Efficient with Raw Materials’ research area. The project’s aim is to develop a vision and roadmap(s) for the water sector, with a view to the national ‘A Circular Economy in the Netherlands by 2050’ programme. This involves the raw material efficiency in the urban watercycle, including the extraction and reuse of raw materials. The programme’s added value, besides its substantive component, lies in the reinforcement of the collaboration between the different organisations, both within and outside of the urban watercycle.

Roadmap(s) with possibilities and opportunities

In the project we will determine the different impacts and opportunities that the ‘fully circular in 2050’ target involves for the water sector. Drawing on different scenarios, one or more roadmaps will be produced charting the possibilities and opportunities for raw material efficiency, including energy and water. Starting from the situation today, the map(s) will assist in the realisation of a circular urban watercycle by the stated deadline.

In achieving our objective, we will engage in a variety of activities:

  • we will reveal the nature of all the current incoming and outgoing material streams in the urban watercycle;
  • we will concretise the spot on the horizon: What does ‘fully circular in 2015’ mean for the urban watercycle?;
  • we will clarify the short- and long-term implications, opportunities, obstacles and risks related to achieving a fully circular urban watercycle in 2050, and the measures and actions required to get there.

Circular system integration

The Circular Water 2050 project will generate insights into where action is needed in the urban watercycle to bring about, or increase, circularity, and what impact and opportunities are involved. This will give us a greater understanding of the nature of different incoming and outgoing material streams in the water sector, but also of the links with adjacent sectors like agriculture and industry.

Knowledge and expertise will provide the basis for the organisation of circular chains, through the reuse of recovered raw materials or through their combination. The reduction in raw material consumption should also be underpinned and quantified. Moreover, citizens’ awareness will also be needed, so that they see the need for a circular urban watercycle and actively participate in its promotion. Ours is a broad-based commitment to a circular system integration.