Q&A with Daco Enthoven
Daco J.J. Enthoven Founder, maxxFountain Water Fund
Club of Amsterdam: The Water Industry is known as being a conservative industry. Nevertheless major changes ahead create opportunities for new ventures. Can you briefly describe the key areas of development?
- Increasing consumption: global consumption has increased eightfolf over the last 200 years and is expected to double over the coming 20 years
- Old water and wastewater systems leading to leakage percentages of 50% Increasing water tariffs
- Drivers: Changing regulations and water directives leading to new standards Srtingent directives
- Consolidation in the industry
- Promising technologies including low energy consumption
Desalination projectsWaste water treatment technologiesEnergy recoverySpillage & leaking controlPipeline renovationDesinfection systems
|Membrame technologies including reversed osmosisUV technologiesUltrasound sludge treatmentBacterial waste water treatmentprocess monitoringEnergy recovery|
|Today, there are still almost 1.1 billion people who have inadequate access to water and 2.4 billion without appropriate sanitation. What are the key commercial avenues dealing with this?|
|Increasing privatisationsOutsourcing of services of public companiesRapid expansion of low energy water treatment systems|
Q&A with Linden Vincent
Linden Vincent, Professor of Irrigation and Water Engineering Wageningen University and Research Centre
Club of Amsterdam:Each year 80 million additional people will tap the earth’s water. In the past century, global water withdrawals have increased almost tenfold. Some countries have abundant, untapped stores of water to support growth well into the future. But others are already using most of their water, and major increases in supplies will be expensive. How can developed countries adapt to these changing circumstances?
Linden Vincent: It’s the energy, innovation and loyal commitments of local groups, agencies, and capacities of national states (and how they work with global funding and knowledge agencies, that make people find means to overcome shortages of water – not only money, per capita income or levels of ‘development’ per se.
Among ‘developed’ countries, policies have include transformation of water use patterns (crop diversification and exchange around water rights), to gain more income from available water and thus import good with higher water demands has been one approach (called ‘virtual water’ policies, where water shortages are also resolved through trade and sound political networks). Technological changes have also come: metering and prevention of wastage, reuse of treated wastewater and better control of water disposal are other options. But the most important for changing circumstances is also better dialogue and negotiation with users over their services, and their involvement in choices about future services. Australia and South Africa are both countries where a proportion of the water tariff charged for water goes directly to fund research, and representatives of those who pay for water also help to pay for this research.
‘Developing counties’ have also found ways to share available scarce water better and prevent wastage and theft: there are alternative paradigms to high infrastructure investment and new charges to commercial users. For example, Thailand has had a major programme in the past to diversify its agriculture, which also changed water use patterns. In India, programmes have included watershed management that reduces runoff and environmental degradation, new community institutions that manage local water rights better, and better control of electricity supplies and introduction of smaller decentralised power supply units that may restrict excessive pumping of groundwater.
Rural water has to be shared by growing cities. How can we achieve greater efficiency in the use of water and fair allocation?
Linden Vincent: I think it’s important not to make sweeping generalised statements about stresses between rural and urban water supplies. Growing cities often have to import their water supplies, and it is local areas sharing these abstraction areas, and also absorbed by peri-urban growth, that face the biggest challenges if water is really inadequate for all. Not all rural areas are threatened by growing cities.
Some of the designs and procedures in use in areas with reticulated supplies (piped systems) across urban and rural areas that face water supply limits have included: lower allowances per capita (while ensuring quality is good); rationing access times; changing policies across the year as levels of scarcity change with available water supply, in system modernisation to limit losses and modulate peaks and demands of supply, and education to change consumption patterns (never leave a running tap!) and use water-saving appliances in our homes.
Being downstream of major urban and irrigation developments can also bring risks for rural areas. Then projects do have to look into upstream-downstream relationships, to see if they can build new institutions that help people share water in stress periods. There are examples of’ spatial water institutions that operate ‘ad hoc’ to broker actions between upstream-downstream users during scarcity periods (in Bali for example). Elsewhere, there are discussions of how users in upstream and downstream areas might share or trade rights, some do not use rights in bad years and gain more benefits in good years. Australia and Mexico are good examples of countries facing periodic insufficiencies of water, that have worked to build spatial water institutions that can encompass urban-rural dilemmas and weather sequences of dry and wet years between users.
Efficiency is not a magic word, and I do not think it is the most important performance criteria for system operations. Saving leaks and reducing any wastage is important, but technologies will also need some surplus water to run with, and costs and operational needs are important too. Over-high efficiencies can be a sign that there is a problem in a network – that water is not getting through properly to an area!
It is important to actually think about the service you want to provide, and what demand is prioritised to supply. The entitlements that communities feel they have to local water sources are fundamental in determining how water sources can really be shared. Reliability, safety, adequacy, equity and accountability are also other criteria for water supply systems that water users also look for, increase community pride and involvement in their water services, and that people are often prepared to pay more for.
UN-HABITAT estimates that in 2001 there were 924 million slum dwellers in the world and that without significant intervention to improve access to water, sanitation, secure tenure and adequate housing this number could grow to 1.5 billion by 2020. Are there positive scenarios? Can you give as an example? Can you confirm?
Linden Vincent: These estimates are real, and alarming but there are positive scenarios. For eample you can look on the internet for projects in Bangalore in India, Dacca in Bangladesh, and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, to mention only a few cities where agencies, local and international NGOs, civil society groups and UN organisations (like WHO and UNICEF) are working for better water services in slums. Actions can often involve linkages with community representatives, means to recognise the presence of people who may not otherwise have land rights or formal addresses – for example through ration cards, identity cards etc, and ways to cut through bureaucracy to get connections at good prices for groups. These programmes are also integrated with hygiene education in schools and user groups. The poor can pay a lot for their water to be carried in and to get illegal connections, and they will make good connections if they can. Also, there have been some innovative projects to access local water – often mega-cities depend on large reticulated supplies from distant reservoirs that can exclude non-registered users. So in many towns – like Delhi for example -, people have also looked to reuse local water, treat it, or tap local groundwater through tube wells to supply ‘slums’, with water sourced through communal stand pumps. This local provision also can be better supported by local committees.
Sewerage is a bigger challenge, but also people are active to share designs and find new ones – of course historically design from rural Africa on latrine and septic tanks have had a big influence but now engineers from America – particularly Brazil – have looked to see how designs for ‘simplified sewerage’ can serve more densely populated areas. While local designers are central in helping solve problems, international agencies and NGOs like WaterAid, and WHO and the World Bank have helped in stimulation of new local practices as well as transfer and adaptation of known designs locally in slum areas. Again, a lot depends on how the local government sees and accepts urban growth to recognise ‘slums’ and give access to better, recgonised low-cost housing.
One important approach is to see urban growth as inevitable and dynamic, as bringing in migrants that, while they are poor and face many problems, also are vibrant, have local livelihoods that generate income, will contribute their time and labour in support, and are interested to work on their problems for their own future. Slum dwellers are not passive problem groups. There are drivers for change with groups in slums via local action and group representation, and new technological options locally, as well as finding ways to meet bureaucratic requirements to connect to supplies.
news about the future
The Rinspeed designed the Senso concept car with Rinspeed and Bayer MaterialScience.
This project also involves a sophisticated system of sensors developed by the Universities of Zurich and Innsbruck. Smart Surface Technology, a new 3D-formable electroluminescent film from Bayer MaterialScience and Lumitec, uses biometric data and other information to create an appropriate level of light for the driver, thereby having a positive effect on him/her.
Japan has spent decades developing and refining highly advanced fish-farming techniques. Many of those efforts came to fruition when the first consignment ever of farmed bluefin tuna, a fish that fetches extremely high prices, was shipped commercially. In a related development, a major supermarket has announced plans to sell flounder that has been farmed without the use of antibiotics. The technology of fish farming, a practice that offers advantages in terms of food safety and conservation, is advancing rapidly.
Next Event: Wednesday, March 30
Ecological House of the Future
| Ecological House of the Future|
Architect, Eugene Tsui (AIA, NCARB, APA, Ph.D.), has been called, “the seminal architect of the 21st century”. Why? Through many years of research and application Dr. Tsui has developed an all-encompassing applied philosophy based upon the profound study of nature’s processes, organisms, structures and materials at a multitude of levels, from sub atomic particles to the kineseology of insect and animal anatomy, to the ecological relationships of living habitats, and then applies this knowledge to the design and construction of our built environment. The results are a dimension of design unlike anything in previous history.
Eugene Tsui: “The world has far too few dreamers and far too many ambitious conformists. If we are to fulfill our destiny and become all that we can become as individuals in the family of humanity, then we must listen to our inner voices and consider the source of our life on earth. We must never forget that as we heighten and deepen our understanding of ourselves and of nature, so shall we raise and strengthen the consciousness of the whole of humanity.”
Impressions from the Summit for the Future 2005
The Hidden Messages in Water
by Masaru Emoto
The Hidden Messages in Water is an eye-opening theory showing how water is deeply connected to people’s individual and collective consciousness. Drawing from his own research, scientific researcher, healer, and popular lecturer Dr. Masaru Emoto describes the ability of water to absorb, hold, and even retransmit human feelings and emotions. Using high-speed photography, he found that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward it. Music, visual images, words written on paper, and photographs also have an impact on the crystal structure. Emoto theorizes that since water has the ability to receive a wide range of frequencies, it can also reflect the universe in this manner. He found that water from clear springs and water exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns, while polluted water and water exposed to negative thoughts forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. Emoto believes that since people are 70 percent water, and the Earth is 70 percent water, we can heal our planet and ourselves by consciously expressing love and goodwill.
Office of the Future
| Ars Electronica Futurelab|
The Ars Electronica Futurelab is developing prototype components for everyday use in the telematic office of the future. The primary objective of this multi-phase research project is to integrate currently available technologies into ergonomically and beautifully designed scenarios. An integral part of this is subjecting conventional concepts and visions to tests of their viability. Objects and pieces of furniture have been custom-designed for the purpose of evaluating these concepts and visions, and thus offer exhibition visitors a demonstration of current possibilities.
Digital Corporation Finland: Office of the Future
Finland is about one and a half times the size of Britain with a population of five million. Technically it is advanced, having more homes connected by cable network than anywhere else in Europe, and the highest density of mobile phones.
Digital is one of the world’s leading computer manufacturers. Their office in Helsinki was originally designed along traditional lines, with dedicated office space surrounded by high partitions. It was overcrowded, and people could neither see nor talk to each other.
The Office of the Future is modelled on a television news room. The centre is busy and exciting with information flowing round giving a creative atmosphere. There are quiet pools, and ‘the best four person conference room’ – a garden swing. Participation in the design process and a free flow of information to and from the project team were critical in making a success of the project.
The metamorphisis room. A room where anything can be changed.
Martela-Lab can quickly be transformed. In less than an hour the room can be converted from an open-plan office to a cellular office or conference room. By moving walls and ceilings, and changing colors and lighting, you can create a number of brand new rooms.
“The lab is a brand new concept and we feel it’s fun to offer our customers this service. We also believe that the lab is a great help and benefit for architects, a crucial target group for us. At this time the lab is only available in Stockholm, but if it works well we may also build labs in our other countries within the Group,” says director of marketing Bengt Flint Persson.
Club of Amsterdam Agenda
|Club of Amsterdam Season 2004/2005|
|February 23, 2005||the future of the Service Industry|
|March 30, 2005||the future of Water|
|April 27, 2005||the future of Branding|
|June 1, 2005||the future of Robotics|
|June 29, 2005||the future of Philosophy|