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Niels Møller Jensen explains how TOPSOIL has impacted national policy

17 December 2021 - Published by Jens Uvijn

Herning Water Company, Sunds

Niels Moeller Jensen is CEO of the Herning Water Company in Denmark. He is also a key stakeholder in the TOPSOIL project - the catchment area of Lake Sunds is central to the Danish pilot. As part of the TOPSOIL Policy Week, Niels provides some highlights of the importance of the project in this area in an interview: “More frequent heavy rains and flash flooding poses a problem in our flat landscape. The sewers in Sunds town are old and leaky, so the system also works as drainage. Repairing leaks has led to groundwater levels rising and flooded basements – which is obviously not good. There are also big issues with clean groundwater entering the treatment facility – through the cracks – leading to more work and expense.”

Transparent & trusting transnational exchange

Participating in the TOPSOIL cooperation has helped the water company to find some solutions through a transparent and trusting transnational exchange. Specifically, the access to enough data to create a hydrological model has been a huge advantage, according to Moeller. The hydrological model was used to test a range of potential solutions, such as lowering the water level of Lake Sunds, establishing ditches and creating a number of central groundwater pumping stations.

Impacting national policy

“We also researched the introduction of a third pipe - a drainage pipe - to secure the groundwater at a fixed level. The model calculations showed this to be best solution for this issue from a social-economic perspective”, Niels explains. “These particular TOPSOIL results have had an important impact on national policy, resulting in a proposal to legally amend the current situation for the utilities sector so that we can also manage drainage water.”

Expanding on results

Looking to the future, Niels is eager to expand on the work done within the TOPSOIL project and the catalogue of inspiration it has delivered for stakeholders. “We’ve now established a working group consisting of representatives from KL (the municipal branch organization), our regional organization DANVA, The Ministry of the Environment, and The Ministry of Climate, Energy and Facilities. Together we’re fine-tuning the proposal for legal amendment so that the water utilities can create, own and manage a third pipe. It’s a new opportunity and we’re really happy with this result. Our Ministry has promised the process will be a speedy one,” he concludes.

 Watch the full video below: