Water issues: involvement and conscious attitude

If you only notice the quality of water when it flows from your tap, then you definitely do not deal with the management of water resources. However, as an expert or as a consumer, everyone is involved in these processes. Awareness in this issue should be part of the culture for the efforts of experts to gain success and effectiveness, and for consumers to receive high-quality drinking water and a favorable environment.

Innovative solutions for sustainable water resources management are generated by a complex system. Behind these buzzwords stands a very specific work of scientific institutes, laboratories, enterprises, which, in response to changing and developing conditions, study, invent, test, and implement. This is how the informational and practical field of knowledge and technologies is formed for the qualitative solving of the challenges associated with the treatment and usage of water as a resource. The BSR WATER project not only systematizes and accumulates thematic information, but also introduces something new – the cooperation model for the water-sludge-energy nexus, a pallet of solutions for nutrient recycling, a set of recommendations for sustainable stormwater management.

Shaping information through a structured system increases its applicability, which means that it increases the chances of successful solving of specific issues. In the Water Hub – one single place bringing together examples of solutions – you can either choose one of them or offer something new, based on other implementation examples and shared experiences. Exchange of information and experience is the basis for the development of any field.

As part of the BSR WATER project, a two-module Study Tour will be organized to show real examples of solutions, including those posted in the Water Hub. On 7-9 June 2021, experts will visit the Saint Petersburg Flood Prevention Facility Complex, South-West wastewater treatment plant, and the stormwater runoff system of the Western high-speed diameter of St. Petersburg. On 13-15 September 2021, a visit to the complex of municipal sewage treatment plants and coastal protection facilities is planned in Kaliningrad region. Due to COVID restrictions, the study visits will only happen in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, however, an online tour to stormwater solutions in Poland is also planned within the lecture part. The Water Hub has already accumulated and continues the collection of cases, which the Study Tour will demonstrate with the comments of local experts. This is how the expert exchange of information and experience works, ensuring the development of industry and thematic knowledge in general.

The exchange of information not only in the “expert-expert”, but also in the “expert-citizen” framewosk is important as well. As already mentioned, we all affiliate with the same water management processes – just from different sides. Someone invents, someone applies it in the work, and someone consumes with all the ensuing consequences. The industry’s efforts to “find solutions to problems” will be in vain if consumers are not aware of their role in the water cycle every minute of every day. Indeed, without exaggeration, our life is permeated with the results of the water use, whether it is cooking (in households and agricultural sector), wearing clothes (industrial use of water) or even writing this very text (server cooling systems). The Water Hub collects examples and expert information, and it’s able to disseminate information about achievements and ways and even, in fact it is very important too, about problems that experts are facing in the pursuit of achieving high water quality.

An example of such dissemination of information through the “expert – citizen” system and expanding the audience will be a thematic station organized about the BSR WATER project and the Water Hub at the International environmental education campaign "Clean Beach". The campaign has been held since 2014 within the framework of cooperation between Russia, Finland and Estonia. Its goal is to involve population into environmental education activities, to form the environmental consciousness of the young generation and active citizens, to develop environmental volunteer movement and international cooperation in the field of environmental protection. Moreover, it’s a part of Russia's contribution to the implementation of the HELCOM Regional Marine Litter Plan, the main objective of which is to significantly reduce the flow of marine litter.

Usually, the campaign events are attended by about 500 participants – students of specialized universities, representatives of organizations and interested citizens of St. Petersburg. The program includes an environmental educational quest and time to clean up the area from litter. As part of the quest, participants learn practical information about the principles of separate waste collection, the uniqueness and vulnerability of biological resources, practical environmental-oriented actions available to everyone (energy saving, water saving at home, etc.). Behind the seeming simplicity and accessibility of this information, there is a huge work by experts, science and industry.

The circulation of information allows to apply and implement innovative solutions, while the end users (each and every one of us) form their conscious attitude to natural resources and the environment in general. Experts analyze, science studies, industry creates, and the consumer consciously enjoys and contributes to the friendly and stable environment at their level.