The Partners for Water programme has granted subsidies to a total of fifteen innovative projects in ten countries. These feasibility studies and pilot projects are designed to test innovative products or services locally, with the goal of further improvements and upscaling.
The projects are all centred on water security. Many of them have been set up by a consortium of international organisations and are carried out in various countries: Brazil (two), Costa Rica and Jordan to Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Namibia, the Philippines (two), Suriname and Vietnam (four).
The project teams submitted applications for the second round of Partner for Waters’ subsidy scheme and all received the good news in May 2023 that their application’s had been approved. They also received an invitation for a special kick-off meeting at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) in The Hague on June 15th.
At that event, project team members met the RVO employees behind Partners for Water and everyone celebrated the beginning of their respective initiatives. Additionally, they had the opportunity to showcase their innovative solutions and to hear about the ten projects that had received Partners for Water subsidies in the first round of funding, in December 2022. Managers of these first-round subsidised projects were there in attendance to share their experiences to date.
RVO employees and team members of projects that successfully applied for subsidy in the second Partners for Water funding round.
Which organisations are behind the innovative pilot projects and feasibility studies that were granted subsidies? What are their aims? And how do the projects carry out their objectives?
Improvement of wastewater (Brazil) [pilot project]
The SolidUS consortium aims to develop a low-cost ultrasonic sensor for real-time monitoring of solids concentration in wastewater treatment plants. This innovative sensor can be used in water treatment facilities with a UASB reactor. The sensor will save time enabling better control of the installations outflow, which will improve waste water quality. The consortium consists of NHL Stenden Hogeschool, Lamp-lon, YNOVIO, CR-ETES and Federal University of Minas Gerais.
Sustainable water from the air (Brazil) [pilot project]
The goal of the Solaq B.V. consortium is to further develop their ground breaking air-to-water technology. Called ‘WaterWin’, the technology powered by solar energy extracts drinking water from the air in semi-arid regions of Brazil. Thanks to its cost-effectiveness, WaterWin enables more affordable water rates. The consortium consists of NHL Stenden Hogeschool, the Brazilian research institute FUNCEME and the Brazillian NGO SISAR.
Detection and monitoring Harmful Algae Blooms (Costa Rica) [pilot project]
Globally, Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) can threaten water quality, coastal ecosystems and industry sectors such as seafood, fishing and tourism. Without reliable information, as to the location of HABS, no proper measures can be taken. The consortium MAReS (Water Insight, the Costa Rican University UNA and Kaune Ingenieros & Arquitectos) will use remote sensing technology and on-site measurements to provide near-real-time and spatial information on HABs in Costa Rican coastal areas.
Seawater Desalination (Jordan) [pilot project]
The Dutch company Delft Offshore Turbine B.V. intends to test a device that combines wind energy production with a reverse osmosis-based purification technology and state-of-the-art brine management. The device will produce high quality desalinated water along with electricity derived from wind energy. The project will be located in the port of Aqaba in Jordan, a country in dire need of water scarcity solutions.
Reducing water losses in utility systems’ (Kenya) [feasibility study]
The consortium Smart City Kenya will test the Upande Non-Revenue Water (NRW) system. This innovative combination of hardware and software aims to reduce water losses of utility systems through real-time, automatic water flow/pressure measurement. At the same time, consumers will be able to view their water consumption data via their smartphones. The consortium consists of Upande BV, TagMeter Systems BV, Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company Lt., KIWASCO and Runda Water.
Water-efficient method for vegetable cultivation (Morocco) [pilot project]
There is a severe water shortage in the Souss-Massa plain in southwestern Morocco where agricultural activities use the most amount of water. Seed2Feed, Priva, Hortitech, the Agricultural University of Agadir and the Moroccan Fruit Export Association are addressing this issue together. They want to demonstrate a water-efficient method for vegetable growing that uses closed and manageable irrigation systems that recycle and disinfect water, eliminating the need for a growth medium, like soil.
Rewilding Namibian oceans (Namibia) [pilot project]
On a 1,5-hectare offshore site off the south coast of Namibia, Kelp Blue Holdfast B.V. will initiate a pilot project to cultivate giant kelp forests. The goal of the project is to absorb CO₂, deacidify the water, restore damaged ecosystems and enhance biodiversity. Kelp Blue will monitor and evaluate the project and test a business model for selling kelp-based products that would help to finance the project’s future expansion. The local community will also be closely involved as well as two Namibian universities.
Roads for landscape improvement (Nepal) [pilot project]
MetaMeta Research, FutureWater and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development will collaborate in order to address the declining and irregular flow of water springs in Nepal’s mountainous Dhankuta municipality. The project aims to protect and enhance natural springs while ensuring reliable water supplies and maintaining road infrastructure quality by reimagining roads as tools for landscape improvement. The Department of Local Infrastructure will oversee the projects implementation.
Decentralised wastewater treatment (The Philippines) [feasibility study]
Y-Consultancy will conduct a feasibility study to demonstrate the viability of their decentralised wastewater treatment (WWT) technology in Luzon, the largest island in The Philippines. This innovative solution is based on a ‘drainblock’: a water filter that works on a trickle-down method. The WWT technology is meant to improve the quality of water resources, reduce the risk of waterborne diseases and serve as a blueprint for other communities in the region for improving their wastewater treatment.
Fungus removal from water for bananas (The Philippines) [pilot project]
The company VGE has developed an innovative ultraviolet (UV-C) disinfection system, specifically meant to disinfect water from the fungus TR4 fusarium. This fusarium is an increasing threat for banana plantations around the world. Together with A-Banana Foundation (ABF), VGE will conduct a pilot project installing their TR4 disinfection system on a full-scale banana plantation in The Philippines. The objective is to achieve safe irrigation, resulting in improved water security for banana plantations.
Increased mangrove restoration (Suriname) [feasibility study]
Consortium partners Deltares, Boskalis, InterConnect, Conservation International Suriname and the Anton de Kom University of Suriname will study the feasibility of using sediments dredged from the Suriname river to accelerate mangrove restoration. Using sediments for intertidal area restoration is unique and promises to be an effective solution. In addition, lessons learned will be valuable for replicating and mainstreaming this restoration method in other regions.
Rainwater filtration and water purification (Vietnam) [pilot project]
Wageningen University, WIC, PBI International, Can Tho University and Stepsvn Installation Company joined forces to test an innovative technology for rainwater filtration and water purification. The aim of the consortium is to remove waterborne diseases and pesticides in an efficient and cost-effective way. In doing so, they hope to increase water security in the Mekon Delta and provide the inhabitants with safe drinking water.
Sustainable adaptation to salt intrusion (Vietnam) [pilot project]
Consortium Mekong Salt Lab will test an operational model for smallholder farmers in the Mekong Delta. This solution includes a number of cutting-edge techniques and services that provide sustainable alternatives to effectively adapt to increasing salt intrusion in the region. This will also increase farmers livelihoods. The consortium consists of The Water Agency, The Salt Doctors, Acacia Water, SkillEd, HZ University of Applied Sciences, Saxion University, Kim Delta Vietnam and Tra Vinh University.
Aquifer storage and recovery system (Vietnam) [pilot project]
The HaWaSuCo, BGR and WWF consortium will begin a pilot project to implement a single aquifer storage and recovery system. It will be the first infiltration well in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. The consortium aims to demonstrate its success, share the results, carry out marketability and cost-benefit analyses and engage stakeholders in scaling up. If successful, this innovative solution could have a significant impact on water security in the region.
Optimising irrigation and fertiliser application (Vietnam) [pilot project]
Fresh Studio, HollandDoor, Ridder Group and Royal Brinkman will conduct a pilot project to re-use drain water on two farms in Lam Dong province. Applying ViaLite and FertiMix technologies will reduce the spread of diseases and ensure plants receive the right amount of nutrients. The technologies will also eliminate drain water leakage, optimise irrigation and fertiliser applications, increase water availability and improve the regions quality of both fresh and groundwater
The next application period for the Partners for Water subsidy scheme will be open for submissions from 19 January to 16 February 2023. Please sign up for a mandatory intake interview. For more information, you can visit the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) website.
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