The project aimed at achieving efficient water management through water reuse and ensuring the protection of water resources. The project involved a total of 10 organisations from 9 EU countries.
Water recycling is the key to water sustainability not only in all regions of Europe. Water recycling can contribute to the efficient use of resources by using ecological innovations in areas such as: restoring wetlands, irrigating crops, increasing industrial use or improving soil quality and improving the retention capacity of the landscape. The AQUARES project was set up to promote the strengthening of efficient water management and the concept of 'green growth' by reusing water and ensuring the protection of water resources.
All partners have successfully completed all their activities in the implementation of the action plans. Now the partners continue to implement their own activities, which are linked to the project itself. They draw inspiration mainly from the exchange of experience and the transfer of good practice.
The Regional Development Agency of the Pardubice Region (Czech Republic) focused on supporting municipalities and entrepreneurs who implemented projects funded by the Operational Programme Environment, Rural Development Programme and the Operational Programme Technology and Applications for Competitiveness. They assisted the municipalities and entrepreneurs as much as possible in obtaining funding for their projects, plans and development. This involved the preparation of projects that promote the sense of circular economy and, above all, promote sustainable water management (rainwater management, completion of wastewater treatment plants, intensification of wastewater treatment plants, completion and modernisation of sewers, revitalisation of water sources and streams, etc.). The main policy change on the regional level is that supporting of water management was implemented in RIS3 strategy. And for example on national level exist call for Saving water in businesses from The Operational Program Technologies and Application for Competitiveness (OP TAC) 2021 – 2027.
The Municipality of trebnje (Slovenia) adressed a new policy instrument: LEADER/CLLD. LEADER/CLLD programme is implemented through ’local action groups’, each covering a territory of fewer than 100,000 inhabitants. Local Action Group (LAG) STIK covers the municipalities of Trebnje, Dolenjske Toplice, Ivančna Gorica and Žužemberk. In the strategy, the four priority topics are identified. One of the priority topics is Environmental protection and nature conservation.
Water board of Oldenburg and East Frisia (Germany) addressed the ERDF Operational Program in Lower Saxony for the period 2014-2020 in the AQUARES application. During the project period of AQUARES, the new ERDF program for the state of Lower Saxony was developed. In June 2022 the new multifund program 2021-2027 for Lower Saxony was published. A new strategic goal was included in the multifund program: Investments in Environment and Climate protection (including water) with a new focus on reducing trace substances in water bodies. The protection of natural water bodies and groundwater is much more in foucs than in the former program. As a new field for intervention is also included: „Water management and protection of water resources (including watershed management, climate change adaptation measures, water reuse and leakage reduction”. For this field of intervention 950.000 Euros are planned in more developed regions and 100.000 Euros in transit regions.
These are just examples of policy infulence from the project. All the results gathered throughout the two phases, are openly offered on its website library for consultation. From the most outstanding outcomes we can highlight the interchangeably Good Practices deliverable, based on European territories needs detected and implemented in their territories through Action Plans to several Analysis reports on territorial needs and opportunities for water reuse pathways.