Belgian case studies

Tielt business park, ©Photo: WVI

Introduction

The Belgian cases consists of different demo sites that focus on making industrial and residential areas more water and climate-resilient. More precisely, the case looks at two business parks where the role of water and climate is researched, and one residential area where sustainable living is the main goal.

Rainwater collection is a legal obligation for industrial companies and for households.

However, reuse is currently limited and unevenly distributed (low demand for application for most companies, higher demand than supply). The demo sites implement a wide range of measures to reuse and up-cycle water to sweet process water for cooling, industry, irrigation and household uses in a multi-stakeholder partnership set-up.

The main challenge is the development of water pricing mechanisms for secondary water. This mechanism is not available yet and is needed for the sustainable management of the actual ongoing investments in the demo sites.

Context

Belgium is characterized by high water stress and a high degree of urbanization and urban sprawl. Collective, decentralized water systems can be part of the solution.

Leading water policies:

  • The Decree of Integrated Water Policy (Flemish transposition of the European Water Framework Directive) must ensure that water resources and water quality are safe guarded, and that the impact of floods and droughts is minimized.
  • The Blue Deal program of the Flemish Government funds projects that work on structural solutions for water scarcity and drought in Flanders .
  • The Rainwater Ordinance imposes measures on constructors to prevent rainwater from being drained immediately.

Challenges:

  • Valuing societal benefits from collective, decentralized systems and integrating them in robust business cases is difficult.
  • There are no structural financing strategies in place for these projects (currently highly dependent on subsidies).

METHODOLOGY & EXPECTED RESULTS

Residential area in Peer (Agnetenpark)