Definitive progress towards a "Water Smart Society", the key to post-COVID-19 recovery according to Water Europe
As a result of the effects that the COVID-19 crisis has had at different levels and in various sectors, and the subsequent management that European countries are carrying out, Water Europe prepared and published the document A Water-Smart Society for a successful post COVID19 recovery plan. In it, the association emphasizes the importance of water as a key enabler for accelerating recovery towards a united and resilient Europe after the pandemic. 

Europe is no stranger to poor water management

According to Water Europe, the coronavirus is a "wake up call" that has been shown by how the European Union and its member states "are not well prepared for cross-border and cross-sector crises". In this sense, the document points out: “Water knows no borders and is an asset for Europe. We can use water as an enabler to restart and accelerate the recovery of our society thanks to its interactions with all other sectors. As part of our natural and cultural heritage, water is not only a matter of resource availability but also a matter of opportunities and resilience through its links with climate, infrastructure, digitization, biodiversity, food, tourism, transport, commerce or energy”. 

In fact, the report highlights that more than 75% of jobs depend on optimal water supply and adds that “investing in the water sector in Europe contributes to creating sustainable growth and green jobs with a high pay off on investment in all sectors”. 

With the occasion of the 2020 Water Day, we collected in this blog the efforts of the UN in the line of reinforcing the role of Wastewater as a resource. The health and social crisis generated by COVID-19 has intensified the approach to the issue: "Let's definitely focus on water and work on the different perspectives of the resource", seems to exclaim Water Europe. And, according to the WHO - and as you can also read in the association's document - “the economic benefits of investing in water and sanitation are considerable: they include an estimated global gain of 1.5% of the world's GDP and a return of approximately 4 euros for every euro invested in water and sanitation services and other sectors”.

A society that manages water intelligently for a better Europe

In short, Water Europe points out the need for a “new paradigm towards a 'Water Smart Society', from crisis management to risk management and prevention in Europe and beyond”. This is "the only sustainable way," he explains, to restart the economy quickly and build a "united and resilient" Europe.

Based on this analysis, the report reflects some recommendations to outline the “post-COVID19 strategy”, which are:
- Work to achieve a "Water Smart Society" to re-promote and build a resilient Europe.
- Support digitization for sustainable growth driven by water.
- Promote an inclusive “Water Smart Society” for all citizens.
- Strengthen European leadership to improve international solidarity.

In conclusion, Water Europe suggests developing and supporting initiatives to "recruit and retain young professionals in the water sector", because, they say, people are the key to building the "new" society. And, in the same way, it names the businesses, which - the association considers - should “invest” in line with the Green Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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