International Water Technology

Professor: Harry Futselaar

Water Works Worldwide

Although the quality and quantity of water in Netherlands is considered reliable, in many parts of the world the access to sufficient and safe water is a challenge. This challenge will increase in the coming decades with increasing world population and urbanization and the drive towards greening our economy by a transition to bio-based fuels and raw materials. Within the research group International Water Technology (IWT) students are being trained and are performing applied research and development to get insight into the technological and economic value of water, and future developments in the field of sustainable water technology and durable water management. In short, they enter into their WWW: Water Works Worldwide!

Climate Resilient Cities

In Twente governmental authorities, educational & research institutes and entrepreneurs are working on the realization of a sustainable urban water cycle. In connection to the recognition to the stakeholders and (inter)national students, the Saxion Living Technology focal point, the national top sectors (Water, Chemistry, Energy, Life Sciences), the research group International Water Technology used for her education &-research the motto ' Cities of the Future – Water in the urban environment'.

In the current historically grown structure of the (urban) water systems large amounts of water and energy are being used less optimally, while many nutrients are being destroyed. In the 'City of the Future', the entire water cycle has to be redesigned, so that optimal water (re)use is combined with maximum energy and nutrient recovery guaranteeing the water quality and safety.

In other words, the optimal water resources is managed in a sustainable way by a good urban design, which consists of several water distribution systems from various sources, where water reuse and water-fit-for-use are leading and only a part of the water will be treated to the level of drinking water. Part of this integrated approach is approaching waste water as a source of raw materials for water recycling; and recovery of heat, organic compounds (biogas, bio-based raw materials), nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), (rare) heavy metals; and guaranteeing the quality in relation to the intended use (e.g. removals of micro-pollutants). In the design of the (future) water systems the challenges related to climate change should also be taken into account, such as heavier showers, periods of extreme drought, heat stress, etc., so the realization of the ' climate-proof or climate resilient cities.

Research lines

The education and research within the research group International Water Technology is centered around water in urban and rural environment. In the 'City of the Future', the entire water cycle is redesigned and adapted, so that optimal water (re-)use is combined with a maximum energy recovery, nutrient recycling, and guaranteed water supply, quality and safety.

The research within the Saxion research group International Water Technology focuses on:

1. Water & Energy
• Bio-based energy (anaerobic digestion)
• Oil/gas (produced) water treatment.

2. Water & Materials
• Health & Safety (membrane and sensor technology for EDCs removal)
• Bio-based raw materials (recovery of nutrients, such as phosphate).

3. Water & Environment
• Climate Resilient Cities (sustainable water cycle)
• Sustainable Development Goals (decentralization, PoU/PoE water treatment)
• Capacity Building

Cooperation and financial support

The research within the research group International Water Technology is supported financially by  and performed in part jointly with Pentair X-Flow BV, while Wetsus – centre of excellence for sustainable water technology – provides financial support and  the Centre of Expertise Water technology (CEW) cooperates content wise.


Biography and in augural speech Harry Futselaar


Engineer in Water Cleaning Factory
Harry Futselaar in front of the WECTwente building