POSTED: Thursday December 1st 2016

"Water Connects" - River Danube and Budapest 2024 Olympic Games to spread sustainability message

Budapest 2024 sustainability leaders meet with experts at Water Summit 2016

“We need to encourage bold new ways to innovate the use of our world’s most precious resource.”

Zsombor Barta, Head of Sustainability and Legacy for the Budapest 2024 Olympic Games Bid

The River Danube, an integral feature of the Budapest 2024 Olympic Games, could help to highlight the importance of water and sustainability in sport and in our communities and lifestyles.

The Danube is the longest river entirely in Europe: on its journey from the Black Forest to the Black Sea, it connects more countries and capital cities than any other river in the world.

“The Olympic Games in 2024 in Budapest, with the River Danube at its heart, would help us to spread the sustainability message as widely as possible,” says Zsombor Barta, the Head of Sustainability and Legacy for the Budapest 2024 Olympic Games Bid.

Budapest 2024 has been hard at work to ensure that sustainable infrastructure and applications such as cutting-edge water purification technologies are common themes that run throughout the Budapest 2024 Olympic Games master plan, rather than existing as standalone projects.

Water efficiency also features prominently in new and planned construction projects connected to the Budapest 2024 Olympic Games, most notably in the Olympic Park where geothermal cooling and heating solutions from the River Danube are being explored.

“We need to encourage bold new ways to innovate the use of our world’s most precious resources,” Barta says.

It is fitting, therefore, that Budapest, a major port city on the Danube, is host to the Water Summit 2016, co-organised by the World Water Council and the UN, with the backing of the President of Hungary, János Áder. The primary aim of the summit is to drive forward water-focused resolutions with global agreements.

‘Water connects’ is the theme of this year’s summit. It aligns perfectly with one of Budapest 2024’s biggest sustainability and legacy goals: to use the Olympic Games to encourage Hungarians to reconnect with the Danube. There are several community focused programmes in the pipeline that include riverfront improvements, berthing facility upgrades, biking trails, and pedestrian walkways.

“We aim to inspire the region and lead the way in world-changing sustainability initiatives, such as the Budapest Water Summit,” says Gábor Szűcs, Personal Sustainability Advisor to the President of Hungary and member of the Budapest 2024 Sustainability Advisory Board. “There is a close symbiosis between the River Danube and the city of Budapest. Ensuring that we are at the forefront of ecological policy making and technology is extremely important to us.”

The summit comprises a series of events including a three-day congress of subject matter experts from across the world, a Science and Technology Forum, a Youth Forum and Student Open Day and the Sustainable Water Solutions Expo (focusing on solutions in drinking water production, water treatment and water supply).

A large assembly of scientists, academics and innovators are expected, including a delegation from Budapest 2024, led by Barta.

“We are in the unique position of being a Central European hub,” Barta comments. “Thought leaders from around the world gather here to share their ideas at forums like the Budapest Water Summit, the outputs of which are adopted by the UN Sustainable Development Summit.”

“We are extraordinarily lucky to have access to this concentration of expertise which is helping us to formulate inspirational yet practical sustainability plans for the Budapest 2024 Olympic Games Bid.”

One example of this is waste water technology - after heavy investment in recent years, Hungary is responsible for cutting-edge technology that has already been incorporated into the city's new waste water management plants.

The high quality of drinking water in Budapest has become a main theme of the Budapest 2024 Bid’s waste and resource management plan. Special recyclable containers and public fountains will make cheap and sustainable drinking water freely available, allowing a significant reduction in PET usage.

Recent water quality surveys have shown that Lágymányosi Bay in Budapest (proposed venue for the Triathlon Swimming) and Maty Stream in Szeged (proposed venue for Canoe-Kayak (Sprint)) are both excellent.

As well as being a leader in water sustainability, Hungary possesses considerable geothermal resources. It has been estimated that the country has the largest underground thermal water reserves and geothermal potential in Europe.

Geothermal power in Hungary is currently used primarily in medicinal baths, pools and spas, greenhouse heating, space heating, and industrial process heat. This natural, clean, green energy may well begin to replace dirtier forms of energy in the near future, a process that could be accelerated by sustainability investment as a result of an Olympic Games.

“Sustainability is not just about new technology and investment but also about safeguarding what we have,” notes Barta. “The Danube Flatwater Centre, for example, where rowing will take place, is close to a Natura 2000 site and so we need to take extreme care and extra special efforts to ensure that we leave no footprint on this valuable habitat.”

Like the organisers of the Water Summit, Budapest 2024 also recognises that education has a vital role to play in ensuring the health of the world’s water ecosystems.

“This forum reaches out to young people and students of technology, allowing them to socialise their ideas with experts and entrepreneurs from around the globe,” says Szűcs, of the Budapest Water Summit.

“As a favourite destination for business, sport and travel, Budapest reaches a wide international audience. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to lead by example, encouraging those who come here to think about sustainability in revitalised ways, and take those ideas home.”

- ENDS -

- This year’s Sportcal listings recognise Budapest as the rising star of major global sport events, ranking the city seventh among the top global sport cities and second in the Future Sports Cities Index 2017-2023. Named as European Capital of Sport 2019, Budapest is a high-value city, with an excellent transport infrastructure and a long-term sustainable development plan. The Budapest 2024 Olympic Bid proposes a compact and intimate Games footprint in the capital, and a truly nationwide Games that features sport in six other Olympic cities. Budapest 2024 is dedicated to deliver an on-budget and inclusive Olympic and Paralympic Games in one of the top 20 most peaceful countries in the world. Sports-mad Hungary was one of the founding members of the IOC and has participated in the Games since 1896. Hungary is the only country ranked in the top ten of the all-time Olympic Medal table that has not yet hosted the Olympic Games.

# # #

Keywords · Budapest 2024 · Olympics

Name: Ivan Rozsa
Organization: Budapest 2024

Please refer all questions to the company listed above issuing the press release. SFC will not be able to assist you with any inquiries and disclaims any content in these press releases.