The Water Partnership

Background

In 2006, the Water Partnership was established as part of the Government Environmental Technologies Action Plan. The Water Partnership was established with the participation of about 25 companies, knowledge institutions and authorities. After some initial joint meetings in 2007 the stakeholders involved organized into 5 collaborative projects - Water-in-cities, MBR Technology, Recreational Water, Aqua Culture and Extreme Rainfall. The collaborative projects developed differently by either: continuing on their own, getting support from other sources, or brought to an end, because the partners did not agree on common goals. A number of activities initiated under the Water Partnership continued under other auspices "Water-in-Cities".

New water-related partnerships under the Government Environmental Technologies Action Plan 2010-2011

In the Government Action Plan for promoting eco-efficient technology for 2010-2011, partnerships for eco-efficient water technology remains in focus. Partnerships in the Government Action Plan are currently focused on themes where Danish environmental stakeholders face specific challenges, where there is an opportunity for change, and where the Danish Ministry of the environmental will be co-responsible for lifting these. It can for example be caused by changes in the existing environmental regulation – under national, EU or international auspices – or new environmental challenges. Further emphasis is on the ability to enter into strategic partnerships with authorities and stakeholders in partner countries (China and India).
The focus of the strategy for initiating partnerships compared to the previous action plan must be viewed in light of the fact that there are various other subsidy schemes, where companies can get funding for networking - including the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education and the Ministry of Business and Growth.
The action plan includes partnerships for water technology in the following areas:

  • Partnership for ballast water was established in November 2009. It focuses on implementation of the Ballast Water Convention, which is decided under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
  • Partnership for groundwater in Shandong Province, China . The focus here is to promote technology and knowledge transfer within the areas of groundwater and water savings. The partnership contributes to the environmental collaboration between Danish authorities and enterprises and the Chinese environment and water authorities.
  • Partnership for wastewater in India. The partnership acts as a framework for one or more wastewater demonstration projects in India and is part of the Danish contribution to the environmental cooperation agreement that Denmark and India which was signed in 2009.
  • Partnership for local management of rainwater . The partnership is a platform for various stakeholders with the aim of developing tools for municipalities and others, which can be used when they want citizens in an area to decouple rainwater from the municipal sewage systems.
  • Partnership on public demand and new environmental technologies . The partnership aims to examine how public procurement can support the innovation of environmentally efficient technologies including within the water area.
  • Partnership for wastewater in Chongqing, China . The purpose is to identify and analyze Chinese companies and sewage plants for areas where Danish environmental technology can contribute to the reduction of pollution into the aquatic environment.


Experiences gained in the period 2006-2009

Danish Industry, as a consultant for the Environmental Protection Agency, issued a report in 2010 on the Water Partnership (PDF), which highlighted some of the experiences gained in various collaborative projects. It can be summarized as follows:
• Important with a facilitator/coordinator to drive the Partnership
• There must be clear expectations between the enterprises – including, for example. binding business collaborations
• There must be support from – and clarification of – the government's role – including access to any grant funds
• Special challenges in relation to SMEs who do not have an overview of the market, opportunities and regulations.
The experiences the Danish Environment Protection Agency among others things have made during the Water Partnership has led to an added focus on the establishment of new Water Partnerships. The intention is partly to ensure that the Danish Ministry of the Environment plays a relevant part in the partnerships, and to ensure enterprises/stakeholders in the partnerships to a greater extent have a common expectation about the possibilities and potential.