Biotechnology to treat heavy metal pollution in waste water, new 'Aquaponic' systems combining aquaculture and hydroponics in agricultural production and smarter management of water distribution networks are just three of the 11 projects.
The projects involve 179 partners from research organisations and private companies (including more than 70 SMEs), across 19 European countries.
European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Water is probably our most precious resource and managing it is one of our greatest challenges. These projects will help find innovative solutions to some of today's most pressing problems, such as maintaining water quality and tackling water scarcity.”
The €50 million in funding comes from the 2013 'Environment' call of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). This brings total funding for water-related projects under FP7 (2007 to 2013) to more than €1 billion.
Securing safe and plentiful water supplies will remain a key objective under Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation funding programme launched on 1 January. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn added: "Horizon 2020 is more than any previous EU research programme focused on research issues that make a real difference in people's lives. At the same time, the goal is to develop technologies that also create new market opportunities for industry."
The projects announced today and future research under Horizon 2020 will also contribute to the aims of the European Innovation Partnership on Water (EIP Water). Launched in May 2013, the group brings together public and private sector as well as civil society to help speed up innovation in the area.
Under the first Horizon 2020 calls for projects, published 11 December, around €165 million is expected to be provided to projects in the focus area 'Water'. In addition, efficient use of water will be addressed through other actions, such as the proposed public private partnership for a Sustainable Process Industry (SPIRE).