The Bridge between Vatten 2023 and Underhållsmässan 2024

The maintenance backlog in water and wastewater was the big topic at Vatten2023 and hence we are taking the issue further with the water industry at Underhållsmässan on 12-15 March 2024, when the maintenance specialists will be there as suppliers, academics and contractors.

On 24-26 October, Vatten2023 took place at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre. Politicians, civil servants, entrepreneurs, academics and students came together to discuss how Swedish society’s water supply can continue to be a robust asset, rather than a fluctuating risk. Because the risks are there, and they are high if access to clean water is taken for granted.

– The Swedish maintenance backlog is large, the sustainability issues are many, and the security situation is so acute that we gathered the entire industry around the water supply, says Annika Persson, business manager at Vatten2023.
During the opening session, both industry representatives and parliamentary politicians called for broader collaboration and agreed that long-term strategies need to be planned with more types of infrastructure in order to achieve successful outcomes.

– We often take things for granted. For those of us living now, putting a plug in the wall or turning on the tap has always worked, says Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd, CEO of the Swedish Construction Federation. But the truth is that it’s not that simple any more, because the Swedish water infrastructure is facing a gigantic maintenance backlog.

– If we do not have functioning roads, electricity networks or water supply, there is a risk that societal functions will break down, and we cannot strengthen the competitiveness of industry, Pia Sandvik, CEO of the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries (Teknikföretagen), points out. We have a gigantic maintenance and investment backlog in Sweden right now, in all areas, and the water supply risks becoming the next major infrastructure crisis. At the same time, we have an enormously competent and competitive industry that has plenty of solutions. We have the technical expertise, and we will continue to develop it, together with the ongoing research and the collaborations and innovations it leads to.

During Vatten2023, Novus presented the survey, ‘The Temperature of Water in Sweden’. In the survey, heads of municipalities and departments in 237 of the country’s 290 municipalities were asked how great a priority the water issue is in the municipality, what are the maintenance needs and what resources are required to carry out any investments in the water infrastructure. The report also examined how far Sweden’s municipalities have come with their water service plan, which must be drawn up by 1 January 2024.

9 out of 10 municipalities need maintenance and investments in water services

In the survey, 88% say they have a very or fairly high need for maintenance and investment and 83% say that maintenance and investment in water services is a fairly high, or very high, priority. At the same time, 45% say they do not have or do not know if there is a budget to cover the need for these investments.

You can read the full report on the Vatten2023 website: Temperature of Water in Sweden report.

To support work on the maintenance backlog, the Swedish Maintenance Association is now forming a water and wastewater group in its network. If you are interested in meeting specialists in strategic maintenance and the sustainable solutions of the future, come to Underhållsmässan, the Swedish Maintenance Fair.