Plenary Lecture Experts Emphasize Collaboration for Effective Water Management

Editor: Gabriele Ilg

At Achema 2015’s first plenary lecture, experts discussed the importance of industry collaboration for a successful water-management strategy.

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Dow's Niels Groot presents case studies demonstrating effectively integrated water-management plans.
Dow's Niels Groot presents case studies demonstrating effectively integrated water-management plans.
(Picutre: Page Bailey)

Monday’s lecture featured a presentation by Nathalie Swinner of Solvay and Niels Groot of Dow Benelux entitled “Integrated industrial water management — Efficiency in the process industries,” that covered various case studies from the E4 water initiative, a consortium dedicated to promoting efficient water management in the European chemicals industry.

Swinner and Groot discussed how these studies’ findings are applied across the industry to improve water management. Swinner emphasized that collaboration across many sectors, including municipal bodies and neighboring industrial sites, is necessary to implementing water-management best practices. She cited an example from a Solvay site in the so-called “Chemical Cluster” in the Port of Antwerp that experienced issues with water scarcity, despite a large amount of nearby water — the problems stemmed from the quality of the water, not the quantity. In order to obtain water of adequate quality, the site was using drinking water for industrial purposes.

As part of the E4 initiative, and with close synergy with industry partners in the Cluster, the site was able to decrease drinking-water usage by an estimated 30 %. In another example, from Aretusa, Italy, a common groundwater source was being used for municipal, recreational and industrial purposes. Through an E4 project initiated in the early 2000’s, the site was able to collect water from a local wastewater-treatment plant and recycle it as cooling-tower makeup water, freeing up additional groundwater for other uses. In addition to collaborative resource use, risk assessment, fund prioritization and identification of recycling opportunities were also discussed as means for properly integrating an efficient water-management plan.