In recent years, the island of Gotland has experienced a severe water crisis, negatively affecting tourism and small-scale industries. Water shortages hinder economic development due to strict regulations for building of new houses and the start-up of new business that consume water. Innovative circular water solutions are tested and evaluated in the testbed area Storsudret in southern Gotland.
As a part of meeting the challenge, Gotland has been made one of the demo cases in the EU project NextGen, which aims to boost sustainability and bring new market dynamics throughout the water cycle at the 10 demo cases and beyond. The project will assess, design and demonstrate a wide range of water-embedded resources.
A national funded testbed (2M€ investment + 1,5M€ for evaluation) in the water sector is currently under development in southern Gotland. It consists of an integrated system based on small scale methods like rainwater harvesting from drainage ditches, automatic hatches in large ditches and artificial surface water dams, artificial infiltration for groundwater, construction of groundwater dams for subsurface water storage, wastewater reuse and climate neutral desalination based on solar energy.
An important and critical part of the testbed project is communication and engagement activities with local stakeholders such as farmers and citizens.
Key innovations & actions
– Rainwater harvesting using automatic floodgates to replenish aquifers and monitoring of aquifer levels
– Decentralized membrane treatment of raw wastewater for reuse to reduce volumes treated at the central WWTP (waste water treatment plant)
– Climate neutral desalination powered by solar energy to overcome the carbon footprint drawbacks