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Revolutionizing Drinking Water Production in Flanders

30 October 2023

Innovating Water Solutions: The B-Watersmart Project in Flanders, Belgium

In the heart of Flanders, Belgium, a remarkable initiative is shaping the future of drinking water production. With water scarcity on the rise and changing water quality due to drought and seasonal variations, the Blankaart - Diksmuide faced significant challenges. The water reservoir's increasing salt concentrations demanded a solution that could adapt to fluctuating water quality while minimizing water loss. Enter B-Watersmart, a European project that's making waves in the world of water technology.

B-Watersmart: A Collaborative Endeavor

B-Watersmart is a consortium of 35 partners spanning six regions across Europe, all working together to further optimize water reuse and water management practices. In Flanders, this endeavor is a collaboration between De Watergroep, Aquafin, the City of Mechelen, the Vegetable Cultivation Testing Centre, and VITO. Their mission is to tackle the growing challenges faced by water sources in the region.

Challenges at Blankaart - Diksmuide

The Blankaart reservoir, like many other water sources, has encountered significant challenges in recent years. Rising salt concentrations due to increased drought have required the implementation of advanced technology to remove these salts. Additionally, the variability of incoming water quality, attributed to both drought and seasonal shifts, called for a water treatment system that could adapt seamlessly to these fluctuations while ensuring continuous drinking water quality. Minimizing water loss was another crucial consideration for this project.

Innovative Solution: CCRO

To address these challenges, the project chose an innovative solution: Closed Circuit Reverse Osmosis (CCRO). Unlike traditional Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems, CCRO is a closed cyclic dynamic system. It continuously circulates water across membranes, effectively concentrating salts over time while producing high-quality drinking water on the other side. This approach significantly reduces water loss and optimizes water treatment.

Project Results

The results of the pilot project are nothing short of impressive. The system's efficiency increased to an astounding 95%, minimizing water losses and ensuring consistent water quality. Even as salt concentrations in incoming water increased, the facility adapted automatically to maintain a continuous supply of safe drinking water, irrespective of the water source's quality.

CCRO Technology in Action

Here's how the CCRO system operates:

  1. Water Preprocessing: Incoming water is stored in a 2000L tank, where it undergoes preliminary adjustments, including pressure and acidity, to ensure optimal plant operation.
  2. Fine Filtration: The water passes through cartridge filters for a first round of fine filtration, which safeguards the RO membranes.
  3. Pressure Enhancement: High-pressure pumps raise the water pressure to a range of 10 to 17 bar, preparing it for the RO membranes.
  4. Reverse Osmosis: The water is pushed through the RO membranes at high pressure, with an overcirculation pump circulating water over the membranes to concentrate the salts and produce drinking water.
  5. Continuous Monitoring: Sensors continuously monitor water quality to ensure that it meets safety standards.
  6. Buffering: The produced drinking water is stored in a buffer tank for water quality measurements.
  7. Salt Concentration Removal: At the end of each cycle, concentrated salts are removed from the system via a separate pipe, preparing the system for a new cycle.

Conclusion

The B-Watersmart project's success demonstrates how innovation can overcome challenges in the water industry, making it more efficient and resilient in the face of environmental changes. It's a promising step toward ensuring a sustainable future for drinking water production in Flanders and beyond.

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