The majority of waterworks in Denmark are organized as cooperatives.
The Association of Waterworks in Denmark
The majority of waterworks in Denmark are organized as cooperatives. Therefore, the consumers themselves own and operate the water supply, and all members have an influence on the operation, administration, pricing and future development of the waterwork.
Danske Vandværker is the Association of Waterworks in Denmark. Our purpose is to promote the views and interests of the water cooperatives to the public, the authorities and the politicians. Through the membership of Danske Vandværker the water supplies receive:
- Legal advice of any kind regarding water supply.
- Insurance for the waterworks.
- Access to special expos, where a broad range of companies within the water sector present the newest technology in the industry.
- Access to special courses, educations and training programs.
- Information about water supply via web, magazine, e-mail and web-tv.
- Assistance and advice on accounting.
Facts about the water supply in Denmark
- There are approx. 1.800 water cooperatives in Denmark that are members of our organization.
- They account for about 40% of the total amount of water abstraction in Denmark.
- Two million people receive water from a consumer-owned water company.
- Half of all properties in Denmark receive water from a consumer-owned waterwork.
- The number of households connected to a waterwork varies from 10 and up to 20,000.
- The average size of the waterworks’ supply area is 400-600 households.
- They typically cover a village, a minor township or a number of households.
Strategy, mission and vision
Towards 2025 we are working on new ways to benefit our members by strengthening our organization.
We want to:
- Be known as the leading democratic, member-based association for waterworks.
- Leave our mark on the green transition, innovation and digital solutions through national partnerships and local networks.
- Contribute to higher quality requirements for our water supply and continue to strengthen competencies within the industry.
- Make it attractive to engage in the local water supply.
We educate and advise water cooperatives. Furthermore, we work to preserve their political and professional interests. By doing so, we create the best conditions for our waterworks to deliver high-quality drinking water for their consumers. Both now and in the future.
Four strategic tracks
Based on the identified opportunities and challenges, we created four strategic tracks and targets that we will be working to achieve towards 2025. Click on the buttons below to learn more about each track.
Track 1: Support for cooperatives
The cooperative ownership is unique. As a Dane, you have the opportunity to influence your local waterwork and be part of making decisions about waterwork operations, administration, pricing and green development. The opportunity to influence the water supply is important to protect and preserve.
Quality drinking water has to be a consumer issue. The decentralized structure ensures local support and engagement. Cooperatives can also work as a stance against privatization, which has caused poorly maintained infrastructure and waste of water.
Danske Vandværker aims to increase the awareness about water cooperatives and support members in making it attractive, for various parts of the population, to join the local waterwork.
Goals for 2025:
- A minimum of 75 percent of waterworks follows “codex for good board participation” and have completed the board evaluation. In addition, the number of participants on board courses has increased by 200 per year. Furthermore, the boards have had an increase in diversity, measured by age and gender.
- With the purpose to create public awareness about cooperatives, two new partnerships have been made.
- An annual campaign targeting members have been completed, so that the members can help promote cooperatives in their interaction with consumers.
- A data basis has been established and benchmarking has been implemented on water cooperatives in the shape of a year industry report.
- Danske Vandværker is perceived as the members preferred partner when they consider establishing administrative and operational communities.
Track 2: Quality conscious and competent water supply
Danske Vandværker takes accountability for the water supply of the future. Our objective is for the consumer to trust the water they are drinking.
We cannot control where contamination occurs, however, our water cooperatives control how the contamination is handled. Therefore, we strive to ensure a high level of knowledge about subjects such as water treatment and collaboration between waterworks.
We want to play a key part in the discussion about high-quality and competent water supply.
Goals for 2025:
- Before 2022 is over, all agreements about BNBO in areas near water cooperatives are over. In addition, the government has banned the use of pesticides in private households. Furthermore, a political focus on preserving our groundwater has been created.
- All waterworks have completed quality education and quality leadership has been established. In addition, all waterworks are able to present at least a five-year plan for investment.
- All waterworks has developed a contingency and cybersecurity plan. Also, 80 percent of waterworks have completed an emergency preparedness course.
- Our members perceive the municipal inspection as competent and regular – every third year as a minimum.
- A political minimum requirement regarding duration, content and quality of courses about operation and hygiene has been enacted.
Track 3: Stronger operation and dialogue through digitalization
The new reality is digital. We need to bring in new tools continuously if we want to be effective in our operation and communications.
We need to use data intelligently and base our knowledge on data. In addition, we need to organize it in new ways, that create overview and actions.
We have to support, that digital solutions are brought into the waterworks, where they can help optimize the operation and create a more efficient daily life, which also aids the green transition and dialogue with consumers.
Goals for 2025:
- All members have an adequate website.
- To optimize operations, while creating value for consumers, at least one digital waterwork project has been completed.
- The association’s website has been optimized so that it is simpler while providing a higher degree of functionality and self-service.
- An industry solution for cybersecurity has been established.
- There have been at least 10 yearly courses with digital content.
Track 4: Green transition – now and in the future
With a focus on sustainable production and distribution of drinking water, Danske Vandværker aims to fulfil the goals set by the water sector about an energy-neutral and climate-neutral water supply by 2030. Our energy- and CO2-print gradually needs to be reduced.
We can do so by using energy-efficient solutions and sustainable materials and planting more forest. Using sustainable solutions must pay off for the waterworks.
We want to build a green image among consumers and opinion leaders to create awareness about water being an energy and climate-friendly solution and that Danish waterworks is part of the green transition.
We take part in strategic alliances, that can strengthen the green transition. We want to distance ourselves from cost reduction and refocus on innovation, digital and green solutions.
Goals for 2025:
- By the end of 2023, 95 percent of membership waterworks have handed in their yearly energy data along with an analysis, that includes suggestions for improvement.
- Based on the 2020-baseline the waterworks have reduced their total energy and climate impact by 50 percent.
- In their investment plans waterworks have clear objectives for how to optimize their pipelines with regards to reducing water and energy waste.
- In at least 25 percent of BNBO’s reforestation has been planned as a way to ensure better groundwater, nature and climate.
- The association have entered two new partnerships or strategic alliances, that help promotes green transition.