Water Smart Territories

The main goal of this thematic area is to strengthen innovation capacity of European regions beyond resource efficiency.

Water Smart Territories

Sustainable water management is essential for European key sectors such as tourism, agriculture, energy, but also chemical, paper and food industry. Within a growing global trend of water consumption, OECD countries water demand is expected to stabilise towards 2050 (350 km3/yr in the EU), and yet European society and economy in different territories must tackle the following trends that will determine the competitiveness of European water industry:
  • Boosting resilient infrastructure. Aging infrastructure and low investment in operation and maintenance; persistent and emerging pollutants, water losses and scarce resources must be tackled through a combination of innovative and nature based solutions, opening the traditional water sector to new technologies that introduce efficiency and productivity in water management
  • Digitalization. Industry 4.0 also brings many opportunities for economic development in the water sector. Business intelligence, big data -acquisition and management-, sensors, robotics, virtual reality are new elements that might facilitate water management for different water users and uses.
  • Circular economy introduces a new paradigm for current water technologies. Resource recovery, sludge valorisation, water reuse, energy efficiency and production are the new paradigm that should be taken into consideration in water management plans of different water consumers.
  • Enabling multistakeholder governance, as water should be managed according to the multiple water users: agriculture, urban and industrial water consumers that need to observe different requirements and manage a common and unique resource. For example, small municipalities are facing extra challenges such as aging and disperse population and low productivity that risks the future economic development.

The main goal of the Water smart Territories (WST) partnership is to strengthen innovation capacity of European regions beyond resource efficiency, in order to facilitate new investments based on open innovation infrastructure and new technologies for sustainable water management by clusters in regional ecosystems. A closer and interdisciplinary collaboration by partner regions and regional cluster organisations will respond to the water industry challenges through advanced technological solutions to tackle European water territories and society needs.

Accordingly, WST will give special attention to support cross sectoral collaboration in water and ICT sectors and highlitht the most promising innovations. The exchange of experiences in interregional value chains, investment pipelines and investment platforms will enhance industrial dialogue and will allow the development of innovative technologies and services. In consequence, new projects and joint activities will drive regional cooperation through innovations beyond the state of the art.

List of regions involved

Contact details of the leading regions



ZINNAE, Cluster for the eficient use of water, CEEI in Zaragoza, +34-667676050


General Director of Research and Innovation of the Government of Aragon

Centre Val de Loire

Nastassia DAUMAS
European Policy Officer– Competitivity, Research and Innovation, Representation of the Region Centre-Val de Loire in Brussels, +32-2 486 15 53

Province of Fryslân

Eric VOS
Province of Fryslân, +31-58 29 25 838

Contact details of DG REGIO

Related documents

Monitoring reports containing a management report and a progress report prepared by the lead regions are available here:
Monitoring report WST July-December 2020
(313 KB - PDF)

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