The focus of the Alternative Water Resources (AWR) Cluster is the definition and development of diverse solutions in order to cope with emerging concerns in the water supply sector, which are mainly related to the increasing divergence between water resources and demands all over the world (see Table 1). The cluster’s goal is to provide a platform for discussion and collaboration that allows relevant specialists from across sectors to come together to share best practices and develop strategies for the final aim of ensuring water availability and demand balance with an integrated, portfolio-thinking approach.
In this context, approaches based on alternative water resources would firstly be seen as possible solutions for improving water supply guarantee. This way, a variety of technologies that improve conventional solutions – including rainwater harvesting, desalination, water reuse, water loss reduction and water conservation – are covered under the umbrella of the cluster. However, resources demand balance should be conceived as a part of service provision so it cannot be analyzed individually. Thus, water solutions need to be drawn up from an integral water service analysis. When analyzing intrinsic and emerging problems in the water sector, the overlaps between the different water specialists underline the need of these integral solutions. Some proposals such as novel assessment methods for quantifying and improving system reliability, techniques that include risk as a tool for decision making, or new criteria for renewal policies, between others, are needed (see Table 2). By focusing on a comprehensive understanding and global water issues, the AWR Cluster tries to cover a broader spectrum of solutions than single specialist groups alone. As mentioned before, it cannot be focussed only on alternative resources but in comprehensive and integrated New Water Solutions.
The AWR Cluster Chairman, Francisco Cubillo, wishes to create a collaborative workspace between the IWA’s related knowledge areas with a common purpose: providing new water solutions to preserving and enhancing the global water supply service guarantee. This team of experts will review intrinsic and emerging concerns in the water field in order to develop new proposals across sectors. The cluster will highlight new opportunities of innovation to create these holistic solutions. This way, a new meeting space for promoting the integration of water experts from different specialist fields with this common objective will be launched.