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Unique water summer school teaches sustainable water management practices

Valve manufacturers AVK teamed up with Aarhus University and a group of leading Danish water companies earlier this year to deliver a completely unique Water Summer School. PIF was eager to find out more about this world-first project and how it’s equipping the future leaders of the water industry with renewable energy best practices.

Denmark’s impressive renewable energy credentials

As you read this, almost one billion people are getting through the day without access to clean drinking water. Within the next two minutes, at least one child will die from a waterborne disease due to inadequate water supply and sanitation. These are problems that only intensify as populations grow and demand rises.

More than 80 percent of globally produced wastewater is discharged directly into the watercourse without any prior treatment. The cleaning process alone could be used to produce renewable energy; something that more than 2.5 billion people have none or very limited access to.

These grim scenarios are from the reality in Denmark, where highly sustainable water management practices and energy-producing wastewater plants have made the country a global frontrunner when it comes to sustainable water management and meaningful renewable energy growth. Pondering these inequalities sparked an idea at AVK.

A summer School.

Their ambition was to create a place where students from all over the world could be introduced to the environmentally conscious technologies behind Denmark’s sustainable water management practices. A school that focused on preparing the students for solving some of today’s and tomorrow’s massive resource challenges. So they did just that.

First ever Water Summer School

In August 2019, 46 enrollees arrived in Låsby, ready to join the first ever Water Summer School to gain valuable insights into how global water resources can be managed more effectively. The attendees were a mix of representatives from ministries, companies and public institutions, as well as bachelor, master and Ph.D. students. This international cohort came from Spain, Finland, Lithuania, Indonesia, the US, Slovakia, Malaysia, South Africa, Portugal, India, Italy, Norway and Germany.

The Summer School, known as the "Advanced Water Cycle Management Course", was a collaborative effort that, as well as AVK, included Aarhus University, Aarhus University Centre for Water Technology, Grundfos, Kamstrup, DHI, Skanderborg Forsyningsvirksomhed A/S, NIRAS, Aarhus University School of Engineering, AquaGlobe, I-GIS and Aarhus Vand. All of whom took part in the intensive, two-week tuition, contributing with their particular area of expertise.

Renewable energy growth needed to meet future global demand

There are several renewable energy focussed summer schools centred around wind power but none exclusively about water – until now. The water industry will play a key role in managing the world’s limited water resources, which fuels the pressing need for knowledge sharing. By 2030, global energy consumption is predicted to increase by 50 percent, triggering a rise in water consumption of around 85 percent.

All of which raises the case for accelerated renewable energy growth and careful water management programmes, such as those currently found in Denmark.

“In Denmark, we have found a way of using our resources efficiently and carefully, and this knowledge should be given to these students, for them to actively use them in solving today’s and tomorrow’s water challenges”, says global brand manager at AVK, Michael Ramlau-Hansen.

Denmark is a pioneering frontrunner in water management

It’s no coincidence that the concept of a sustainable water management course has been developed in Denmark, where environmentally-conscious water treatment processes are pioneering. “We are frontrunners in many areas, when it comes to water,” explains Ramlau-Hansen.

“Just take non-revenue water, which is a term for produced water that never reaches the end-customer due to pipe leaks or other supply network inefficiencies. In Denmark, this accounts for 6-8 percent. Some places in the world, it accounts for as much as 70 percent. This truly shows the necessity of spreading the knowledge we have. It is, in fact, paramount,” he adds.

For more information, visit www.avkvalves.com/en.

Company Profile

AVK in the UK

The AVK Group is one of the leading manufacturers of valves and fittings within the water, gas, waste water, industrial and fire protection industries worldwide and has 100+ companies globally.

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