7 September 2022

“The Blue deal water saving investments” is a measure for investments in water saving, drought relief and groundwater recharge. It concerns investments in technologies that do not meet the strict European requirements for eligibility for the Ecology Premium Plus (EP+) and the Strategic Ecology Support (STRES), but do make a significant contribution to the drought problem. This subsidy is co-financed by the NEXT Generation EU Recovery Fund has ended in the meantime. And yet you can still enjoy the benefits!

Counteracting water stress in Flanders  

Water is a precious commodity. Dealing with water carefully is not only financially interesting, but also an absolute necessity from the point of view of sustainability, given the water stress in Flanders. The reasons for the water scarcity in Belgium are the high population density, the relatively limited presence of surface and groundwater with few inflowing major rivers and the limited reuse of water.    

The Flemish coalition agreement places emphasis on increasing resilience to drought, among other things through circular water policy and the active use of resilient space with (additional) nature to mitigate climate change. The Flemish Government is expanding this policy with an ambitious ‘Blue Deal’ for which 75 million euro has been made available. This will be financed with EU funds from the European Recovery Fund NGEU.  

Calls for water-saving investments  

In this context, VLAIO organised a call ‘Blue Deal – water saving investments’ in 2022. This call was addressed to small and medium-sized enterprises and aimed at saving mains, ground or surface water through a wide range of measures.   

In total, 12 projects could be supported:   

  • A total investment of EUR 4.6 million in water-saving measures.   
  • After analysing the projects, a total aid of 207,912 euros was granted to them.  
  • The rest is provided by the companies themselves  

In total, these projects represent a water saving potential of over 8,517 m3 per year. The lifespan of most investments is typically 15 to 30 years, which brings the total realised water savings over the entire lifespan to some 127,000 to 255,000 m3 of water.  

New in autumn 2022  

The Blue deal water-saving investments is a measure for investments in water saving, drought relief and groundwater level restoration. Although the call has closed, you can still reap the Blue Deal benefits in the autumn of 2022.

The call makes it clear that companies can save water in many different ways. However, sometimes companies do not have the time or the technical knowledge to map their water use and identify possible water saving measures.   

The launch of the new water scan is a first step in this direction. By drawing up a water balance, a water scan visually maps out the water consumption of a company. If appropriate, this can also be substantiated via flow measurements. In addition, the water scan provides concrete suggestions for saving water by means of water-saving appliances, the use of alternative water sources or water reuse. In a water utilisation plan, these suggestions finally come together in a concrete and economically underpinned step-by-step plan with which the company can set to work.  

Free water scan for SMEs  

Around the end of 2022, all SMEs that:   

  • Are not legally obliged to have a water scan performed;  
  • And consume at least 500 m3 of water annually   

will be able to request such a water scan free of charge.   

An expert from one of the selected study bureaus will visit the company to get an overview of the water management. Some three weeks later, the company will receive a report with a detailed water balance and concrete suggestions for water savings.  

Contact one of our FI Group consultants: they will analyse your project, advise you on available subsidies and guide you from application to successful implementation.  

FI Group has 20 years of experience and wants to support you in understanding and exploiting the available R&D+I opportunities. Our experts are at your disposal to analyse your project and together with you determine the next steps. 

Yvette Poumpalova

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