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Water Conference: Speeding up to a water resilient Europe. Fast tracks for an EU Blue Deal

Dec 05, 2023
Join us at the Water Conference in Leuven on March 12th and on a 'behind-the-scenes' visit of the unique natural restoration project of the Schulensmeer on March 11th. Both events are organized by Flanders.

LogoWater Conference, March 12th

Water resilience is a critical concern within the EU, with countries and regions having to deal with drought, water scarcity, and increasingly severe floods.

During the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council, our 1-day conference will provide valuable perspectives and insights on water resilience in Europe.

The Water Conference features presentations and in-depth panel discussions covering:

Short Program (starting at 9AM)
  • Welcome and opening speech by Mrs. Zuhal Demir, Minister of Justice & Enforcement Environment, Energy, and Tourism
  • Key-note speech by Prof. Patrick Willems, professor on water engineering at KU Leuven: ‘Changing risks of hydrological extremes’
  • Outline the future towards a water resilient Europe!
    searching for accelerators at EU level and at regional level
    • European Commission - Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director-General of the Environment Department of the European Commission (tbc)
    • European Economic and Social Committee - Pietro Francesco De Lotto, President of the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) of the European Economic and Social Committee
    • European Committee of the Regions - Karl Vanlouwe, rapporteur EU Blue Deal European Committee of the Regions
    • Italian Region Emilia-Romagna - Aki Ishiwa, Policy officer
  • Panel discussion: Evidence based pathways to a water resilient Europe: actionable knowledge for decision makers
    • A preview on the State of Water 2024 report (European Environmental Agency)
    • VITO / VLAKWA - Dirk Halet, Strategic Coordinator at VLAKWA & Chair Research and Development Platform at Commission Integrated Water Management Flanders
    • Water Europe  - Hans Goossens, President Water Europe
    • BOSAQ  - Jacob Bosaer, CEO Bosaq
    • Ragn-Sells Group  -Pär Larshans, Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Towards a water smart society: a discussion amongst Europe’s most prominent water stakeholders
    • Europe Water Association - Wendy Francken, President
    • SUMAQUA - Vincent Wolfs, general manager and business developer
    • SWECO -Isabel Putseys, CSO & Expert Climate & Water planning
    • Water Coalition / Living Rivers Europe - Claire Baffert, Senior water Policy Officer - WWF European Policy Office
  • Closing remarks by Mr. Bernard De Potter, Water Director Flanders: Water resilience in a transboundary context
Afternoon events
  • Boots on the ground: site visits to demonstration projects on water resilience
    • Water in the City
    • AB INBEV
    • JustNATUREproject
    • Smart Water Control on Campus Arenberg
    • Restoring wetlands: Mechels Broek

Detailed program Water Conference 12th of March»

Behind-the-scenes visit, March 11th

Conference participants are also invited to a ‘behind-the-scenes’ visit of the unique natural restoration project of the Schulensmeer. It’s a prime example of how with joined forces a major natural water retention project was executed.

Schulensmeer is not a natural lake but was created in the early 1970s-1980s for sand extraction. Although the Schulensmeer and the surrounding Schulensbroek have grown into a beautiful nature reserve in the past decades. This was executed within the Life Delta project, financed by the European Union. Our project engineers will inform you on some of the many actions during the project’s lifetime, amongst others:

  • Restoring a more natural water balance, including the surrounding landscape and developing and restoring reed marsh and wetlands
  • Excavating the sand deposits
  • Enhancing the amenity value of the area by establishing hiking trails, angling facilities, etc....

This visit will take place on March 11th between 13.00h and 17.00h. VMM has organized bus transport from Leuven.

Registration and information

Behind-the-scenes visit of the Schulensmeer, March 11th

  • only for conference participants
  • 13.00h - 17.00h
  • VMM has organized bus transport from Leuven

Water Conference, March 12th

More information?

 A joint organization by Watercircle, Vlakwa, European Water Association, Minaraad en Vleva.



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