Efficient water management combines as many functions of water as possible. VITO investigates which combinations are possible and what their economic potential is.

One in six Flemish employees work in a water-intensive sector: energy production, drinking water production, agriculture, the chemical industry, the food industry, etc. Good water management not only focuses on drinkable water and a high water quality, but also on economic opportunities. As a partner to Vlaanderen Circulair, VITO is investigating how we can (re)use water in the best possible manner: by sharing water in ‘smart grids’, by recycling wastewater, by analysing production processes and reducing the need for water, etc.  

Smart consumption

Just like energy, we can consume water ‘smartly’ by aligning supply and demand. Digital water meters and modified prices can convince users to take a shower or turn on the washing machine at times when the industry uses less water. In the WaterVille project, VITO is investigating the options presented by water meters, redimensioning and influencing behaviour. This is done in a special location: DreamVille, where thousands of Tomorrowland festivalgoers stay every year. 

Transport by water

Traffic globally emits lots of greenhouse gases and particulate matter. As a mobility expert, VITO is investigating the transport options of the future. We calculate the economic and ecological cost of transport by lorry, train or boat and map out the use of space. The extensive river network in Flanders offers quite a few possibilities for combining transport with drinking water production and recreation. 

European study

A lot is still to be discovered about the economic value of water. That is why Europe recently launched Blue2Study. This initiative should provide a greater insight into the socioeconomic effects of policy choices regarding water and the marine environment. VLAKWA experts are participating in the study and are also conducting research themselves into the socioeconomic potential of water. A similar VLAKWA study from a few years ago will soon be updated.