A Trip to Catalonia and the South of France: A Testament to Global Innovation in Water Technology

January 12, 2024
Bryan Stubbs

Cleveland Water Alliance's Growing Global Impact

I recently returned from an exhilarating trip to Barcelona and Montpellier, where the Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA) was warmly received, confirming our growing global reputation. Our journey spanned across numerous discussions, meetings, and site visits, all centered around water stress, industrial water use, and cutting-edge water technology. The high interest in CWA's testbeds and our potential role in helping companies enter the North American market was evident and truly exciting.

Day 1: Exploring Innovations in Barcelona

Our trip began with a visit to Aigües Manresa, the water company for Manresa and surrounding municipalities in Spain. Accompanied by Lucia Gusmaroli and Aina Amengual from the Catalan Water Partnership, we explored their operations as part of the Satwater project. Here's a glimpse of our visit:

Day 2: University of Barcelona and Emerging Companies

We met with Lucia again at the University of Barcelona, engaging with four innovative companies that are a part of their water cluster.

The companies included:

Their groundbreaking work is worth noting. And I enjoyed meeting and learning from these emerging companies.

Day 3: A New Perspective in Montpellier, France

A journey by train took me to Montpellier for dinner with Maxence Malaquin, CWA’s European representative. The international reception at Aqua Business Days was a great kickoff to our visit, introducing us to water efforts from Africa - including Uganda, Ivory Coast, and Morocco.

Day 4: Diving Deep into Water Technology Trends

The conference day was packed with insights on water reuse, technology in processing and shipping fresh fish, and advanced water quality monitoring. Particularly striking was the urgency of these technologies due to the drought in Southwest France and Spain.

Key Meetings: Connecting with Innovators

  1. Agile Water SAS: A French company specializing in international turnkey projects in the fields of drinking water, sanitation, and irrigation.
  2. Microbia Environment: Focused on in-situ and satellite data analysis for water challenges.
  3. Sarl Sustainable Development: An SME working on water quality measurement and fat waste recovery technology in reducing food waste in restaurants.

These discussions revealed France's rising impactful ecosystem in water technology, with many innovators showing strong interest in partnering with CWA to enter the North American market.

A Thought-Provoking End to Aqua Valley Business Days

The final presentation at Aqua Valley Business Days was given by Virginie Raisson who focused on the impacts of climate change. Raisson is a French analyst and researcher on international relations who runs LEPAC, a laboratory for geopolitics and foresight. She emphasized the role of consumer behavior in mitigating climate impacts, a crucial takeaway for all of us.

Day 5: Visiting Groundbreaking Sites

We concluded our time in France seeing much of the tech we talked about at the conference in action. Our site visits were enlightening.

  1. Predict Services: A company using large-scale data to predict climate events.
  2. A golf course utilizing Chem Doc Water’s technology for irrigation with reused water.
  3. Chem Doc Water: A tour of their manufacturing facility, showcasing their role in distributed water reuse.

Reflections and Future Collaborations

This trip was not just about witnessing innovations but also about forming lasting collaborations. The interest in CWA's testbeds and the eagerness of companies to launch their operations in North America with our support is a testament to Cleveland Water Alliance’s global impact.

As Executive Director of Cleveland Water Alliance, I am more convinced than ever of our crucial role in fostering global partnerships and innovation in water technology. This trip has laid a solid foundation for future collaborations and has reinforced our commitment to leading the way in sustainable water management.

Bryan Stubbs
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Bryan Stubbs

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Bryan Stubbs is the Executive Director & President of Cleveland Water Alliance

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