Water Alliance and industry association ENVAQUA have decided to join forces even more intensively after several years of intensive cooperation and to continue together under the name Water Alliance. Goal: to support Dutch water and environmental technology companies even better in developing mutual cooperation and innovations. Together the two organizations want to work hard to meet social challenges and find global markets for their products and services. The new organization has a combined constituency of two hundred members.
Climate change is not going to pass. And water shortages will increase globally. But there are more societal challenges, such as the presence of medicine residues and biocides (agents to control harmful organisms) in water. The energy transition and the transition to a circular economy will also require major efforts. Developing and marketing smart water and environmental solutions is therefore more urgent than ever. With the knowledge structure we have in the Netherlands, there is a great opportunity for Dutch business. With this in mind, Water Alliance and industry association ENVAQUA have decided to join forces.
"We had been convinced for some time on both sides that merging could be a very good thing" says Water Alliance director Hein Molenkamp. "All the knowledge and talent in both organizations, as well as those of both constituencies, could be better utilized and mobilized this way. And so we just went ahead and did it."
"Simply put: we have become twice as big," explains outgoing industry manager Ignaz Worm. "And with that we hope to gain more influence, in the sector and in The Hague. The knowledge we carry in our expert groups, coupled with the international network of Water Alliance is a golden combination."
Molenkamp: "That's right. ENVAQUA has a wealth of knowledge in the form of eight expert groups. These are groups in which active members/entrepreneurs are represented from their own specialism, from themes such as circular water to industrial water, but also waste management, legionella, swimming pools and other topics around water and environmental technology. The bundled knowledge this provides is enormous. As Water Alliance, we add to that all the benefits of the innovation ecosystem of WaterCampus Leeuwarden, not to mention our international network. We have been engaged in national and international marketing for over 12 years, at trade shows and conferences, all over the world. As Water Alliance, we have also developed an international network of cluster organizations related to us that meet regularly and also link companies together. This brings Dutch companies into the picture in places like the U.S., Canada, China, Singapore, but also Europe. Together with the knowledge and network of ENVAQUA and the cooperation with the FME (the entrepreneurial organization for the technological industry) we can achieve even more within that network."
Members like it, according to a survey. "A good development," says Joost Edens, chairman of the Resource Recovery Expert Group. "Together we can make a firmer fist with the new Water Alliance. That's important. What plays a role in Resource Recovery is that legislation in the Netherlands is very strict, which sometimes delays innovations. For example, legislation makes it difficult to use waste in a production process just like that. You have to apply for it and then you end up in a slow process. We can now lobby more firmly, to speed up things like that."
"More members also means more input of knowledge. That is important for an expert group," says Egbert Leiting, chairman of the Expert Group Legionella. Leiting thinks lobbying power in The Hague is an important reason to join forces. "We are in numerous consultative groups, but we do not always manage to reach the decision makers at all times. With help from the lobbying professionals of ENVAQUA and the Water Alliance, we can do better."
Nicole Janssen, chair of the Industrial Water Expert Group, also sees the opportunity. "In our group there are relatively many larger industrial companies. They represent a lot of knowledge. After all, a lot of measurements are taken in industry. As knowledge carrier of all that data, we also want to be facilitators for other expert groups. That you double in membership through the merger and can therefore share more knowledge in the sector is only positive."
The merger officially took effect January 1, 2023. The headquarters of the "new" Water Alliance is the Water Campus Leeuwarden.