WaterClimateHub as a hotspot for local and international cooperation

With the Blue Deal, Flanders is taking concrete steps to becoming a role model for water resilience. By rolling out innovative regional solutions, Flanders can inspire the international water sector.

Water stress has amplified in recent years as a result of the rapidly changing climate and the extreme rainfall and drought our planet is experiencing. This phenomenon is playing out across the world and naturally also in Flanders. Due to the high population density here, increasing consumption and paved surfaces, the pressure on our limited water supply is amongst the highest in the world. Flanders is in the same category as Morocco, Spain and some Middle Eastern countries.

A systemic approach

The Water Climate Hub was launched in 2021 to accelerate the integration of cleantech and innovation into the water sector. This holistic, systemic approach takes into account societal and economic aspects to reduce the risks associated with water management solutions.

Digital water lies at the heart of this approach, where smart metering systems with digital twins and data analytics are leading to more efficient water consumption. There are several key areas of application.

WaterKlimaatHub - Digital Water

From water risk to water resilience

Both industry and agriculture are facing grave short-term water issues. To respond, we need a chain approach addressing the accumulation of pollutants such as salts, nutrients and micro-pollutants ('Grip on pollutants'). We must also focus on introducing water efficiency measures, practical water usage and circular principles ('Do more with less water').

Holistic climate adaptation

In the long term, we need scenarios and climate adaptation measures on varying temporal and spatial scales. That is why we are focusing on the value of ecosystem services and new financing models ('Value water, ecosystems and citizens') and also on coupling opportunities between water and energy. We must monitor key trends such as the hydrogen economy and sustainable agriculture ('Leveraging water and energy transition').


National and international collaboration in open innovation

Collaboration is the key to innovation and this is also true for the water sector. In light of this, the WaterClimateHub is joining forces with academic partners and other leading organisations, such as VEG-i-TEC, CAPTURE, Flanders Food, Blue Cluster, Aquafin and AquaFlanders. This collaboration between solution providers and water users is providing vital inspiration and leading to the launch of new initiatives.

International partnerships are essential in the pursuit of the 'Sustainable Development Goals' and that is why we are strengthening the connections to and from the Flemish water sector. An example of this is our leading role in international activities such as the recently launched European partnership 'Water4all' and the co-creation of the common 'Fluid Crew' brand for the water sector. We are also active in the Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Community (GSTIC). We are putting Flanders on the map as a strong player in the water sector.


Katrien Van Hooydonk
Strategic Partnerships and Internationalisation @WaterKlimaatHub