Greens of the Future: new insights into smart water management

As part of the Smart WaterUse user group, Greenyard gains unseful insight into the latest water management technology – for future use in its own installations.  

Water is an extremely scarce commodity. But it is a vital resource in fruit and vegetable production. We constantly ask ourselves how we can use water as efficiently as possible to reduce waste. Smart water use is an important and integral part of Greenyard's commitment to sustainability. So, becoming a participant in the Smart WaterUse project was a logical step. Through participation in the project, Greenyard is helping Flanders Food and its partners to identify the water risks in Flanders and equip companies to deal with future water shortages.  

Tackling water scarcity in Flanders 

The urgent need for initiatives to mitigate water scarcity was demonstrated in a recent study report published by the World Resource Institute: Belgium is ranked 23rd among countries experiencing the greatest water stress of the 164 countries surveyed. In terms of risk, the situation in Flanders is even more acute than in Wallonia, due to the region's greater population density and higher water consumption for agriculture and industry. These findings prompted the launch of the Smart WaterUse project in 2020. The objective: to help Flemish companies assess and address their water and drought-related risks and manage their water resources in a smarter, more sustainable way. 

Benchmarking usability 

Flanders Food and Centexbel brought together a collective of organisations and knowledge institutes in the sector to lead and support the Smart WaterUse project, including Fevia, VITO and UGhent. “To ensure that results and tools developed from the research efforts are really useful, a ‘user group’ was formed from companies active in the food, textile, aquaculture and tourism sectors," says Frédéric Rosseneu, Business Development Manager and coordinator of research activities at Greenyard. “Joining this project was a logical extension of our commitment to water management." 

Online Water Barometer 

Frédéric Rosseneu and his colleagues have been involved since October 2020 in the Smart WaterUse project, which runs until the end of 2023. The team is currently testing a prototype of the Water Barometer, an online tool developed by project partner VITO to help companies manage their water use and provide information on the risk of drought. “Users gain insight into their water management, the risks of their existing water resources and the alternative water resources near their sites at a glance," explains Frédéric. “Based on these data, the tool suggests concrete measures that can enhance water management. In the long run, the Water Barometer tool will even include simulations, so you can assess which measures will lead to the optimal results." The feedback from Greenyard and other members of the user group is used by VITO to keep the Water Barometer as low-threshold as possible – so that everyone can get started with the tool right away. 

Knowledge sharing creates new insights 

The Water Barometer is not the only project under way as part of  the Smart WaterUse initiative. The project group is also researching alternative water sources, introducing companies to technology that can monitor water consumption and investigating water management legislation. 

“We regularly share our experiences and knowledge with the initiators and other members of the user group. It's a win-win situation for all the stakeholders: the project group learns from our practical feedback and we have a finger on the pulse of the latest technology. This could be extremely useful for new water purification plants at our sites in Sint-Katelijne-Waver and Westrozebeke", concludes Frédéric.  

Keen to learn more about our water management efforts? Download our sustainability report