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July 2019
ICT4Water Quarterly Newsletter

When you are reading this newsletter we are looking back on a successful and inspiring Cluster Meeting. Many thanks to the speakers and the audience who actively participated in the workshops. Also a warm welcome for the projects that just recently joined the cluster.

We are already looking forward with making preparations for our presence at the Amsterdam International Water Week, 3-7 November. More news about this after the summer.

In this newsletter you also find updates from our member projects STOP-IT, Run4Life, INTEGROIL and NextGen, together with announcements from events from our partners.

We wish everybody a relaxing summer and look forward meeting you again at one of the many water-related events or workshops.

The ICT4Water team


Succesful ICT4Water Annual Cluster Meeting

On 11 June the ICT4Water cluster Annual event gathered nearly 100 professionals from the smart water community to work together on the digital transformation of the water sector. The event was organised in Brussels by EASME and combined speeches from keynote speakers with workshops and interactive sessions.

The full-packed day started with keynote speeches from Julien Guerrier (EASME Director) and Cristina Martinez (Deputy Head of Unit Smart Mobility & Living of DG Connect) and success stories from Jorge Helmbrecht, CEO of WatEner and Niklas Wicén, CEO of Aqua Robur Technologies. The first part of the day was closed with a panel discussion.

After that it was time for the audience to participate in one of the many the workshop sessions. First in the Water Innovator's café, where member projects shared solutions and identified possible synergies and complementarities, each covering a specific part of the Water Value Chain.

In the next round, the different Action Groups kicked off, making a start with the execution of the Action Plan. The Action Group Leaders had prepared interactive sessions for each of the Action Groups in which participants discussed and shared results in a smaller setting.

New member projects

The cluster welcomed the ten projects who joined the cluster since last year’s event. The projects are:
H2020 AfriAlliance
: Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate
H2020 Ground Truth 2.0
: Environmental knowledge discovery of human sensed data
Efficient Integrated Real-time Control in Urban Drainage and Wastewater Treatment Plants for Environmental Protection
: Detection and Integrated Assessment of Non-authorised water Abstractions using EO
LIFE SmartWater
: Demonstration of smart actuators to reduce water losses and energy consumption in water supply infrastructures in Europe
: RESilience to cope with Climate Change in Urban arEas - a multisectorial approach focusing on water
H2020 Fiware4water
: FIWARE for the Next Generation Internet Services for the WATER sector
H2020 DWC
H2020 ScoreWater
: Smart City Observatories implement REsilient Water management
: A holistic water ecosystem for digitisation of urban water sector

Read the full Flash Report with presentations on the ICT4water website

All presentations will also be published on the ICT4Water Community Platform (only for members): 

Check also the meeting report on the EASME website:  


STOP-IT meeting highlighted project results

A number of project results were introduced by the STOP-IT partners during the annual project meeting last week in Athens. The Public Warning Notification System, the Smart Lock solution Meklock and the Jammer Detector are only a few to name. The project is now going into the second stage where the developed solutions and tools are being tested at our frontrunner water utilities in order to be verified and adapted to local needs. Training activities are under development as well as an exploitation strategy for STOP-IT results. A first version of the STOP-IT platform that is going to contain all relevant STOP-IT tools will be released in November 2019.

The project partners had the opportunity to meet in a World Café approach in order to discuss the demonstration of technologies at the frontrunner water utilities. This provided space for discussion between the utilities and technology developers in order to ensure a profound understanding of the tools, to plan demonstrations and to provide feedback to the tool developers. It therefore ensured the involvement of the water utilities in the tool development process.

The remaining time of the meeting, which was hosted by project partner ICCS, was filled with presentations about the state of the work packages, work meetings, a conference dinner and a field trip to the Marathon reservoir, hosted by the water company of Athens, EYDAP.

All available STOP-IT results are on our project website for download.


Run4Life at IWA International Young Water Professionals Conference

The 9th IWA International Young Water Professionals Conference was held in Toronto last week of June, attracting over 270 young water sector leaders from around the world to debate the challenges and solutions facing the water sector and the role of young professionals within it.

Eva Martínez Díaz, from Aqualia, coordinator of the H2020 Run4Life project and member of the ICT4Water cluster, offered in her presentation insights about digital disruption in the water utility value chain, and how value can be extracted from the use of the technologies to facilitate that stakeholders along the water chain can be empowered, becoming not only beneficiaries but also drivers of the change, leading to a truly smart water ecosystem.

The global event ‘for young water leaders by young water leaders’, offered several technical paper sessions, topical workshops on Sustainable Development Goals and stakeholder engagement, soft skill learning sessions and networking opportunities, allowing attendants to increase and enhance knowledge exchange to become ready to address the myriad of complex, multi-faceted water challenges the planet faces today.

Click here for more information on the conference.

Click here for more information on the Run4Life project.

December 12, 2019

EU Water Innovation Conference

The EU Water Innovation Conference 2019 (EUWIC) will be held on December 12, in Zaragoza, Spain. It will carry the theme: "Accelerating action to tackle water pollution and enhance EU preparedness to water-related climate change impacts" #EUWIC

The 5th EIP Water conference will be preceded and followed by an increasing number of side events as well as site visits on December 11 and 13.

More info about this event can be found on the EIP Water website.


INTEGROIL project concludes the demonstration phase with sucessful results

The main objective of the INTEGROIL project is to demonstrate a decision support system for a novel integrated solution aimed at water reuse in the Oil & Gas sector, although the INTEGROIL solution is expected to be applicable in other industrial sectors (

For this purpose, a pilot plant (1,5 m3/h nominal capacity) with five different technologies (Dissolved Air Flotation –DAF-, membrane bioreactor –MBR-/ceramic ultrafiltration, Catalytic Wet Air Oxidation –CWAO-, Advanced Oxidation Proceses –AOP- and Reverse osmosis -RO-) was constructed and demonstrated in two representative sites of the oil sector.

The abovementioned technologies were effectively arranged by means of a novel decision support system (DSS). The DSS consists of a reconfiguration algorithm that activates/deactivates processes as a function of inlet water characteristics and reuse water quality to be obtained. It uses the final water requirements to estimate
the optimal process configuration from an economic and environmental approach. In addition, machine learning techniques have been implemented in order to obtain models that predict the performance of each of the processes.

For instance, DAF predictive model has been implemented and outlet turbidity has been continuously calculated as a function of the inlet water quality (temperature, inlet turbidity) and the process operational parameters (coagulant dosage, flocculant dosage, recirculation flow and saturation pressure).

Apart from providing inputs to the DSS for the selection of the optimal treatment scheme, the models defined have further  facilitated the optimisation of each technology performance, since the effect of each variable has been quantified. As result, not only the optimal treatment scheme is defined by the DSS, but the optimal operational conditions per process can be envisaged thanks to the application of digital technologies.

The DSS was integrated in the PLC and SCADA of the pilot plant and run autonomously during the demonstration phase (Figure 1) ensuring the production of cooling water from refinery wastewater, one of the reuse application with stricter water quality parameters.

Figure 1. Decision support system (DSS) integrated in the pilot plant SCADA.

For more information check the project website

International Conference

Smarter Catchment Monitoring, Cleaner Waters

september 4-6

London, UK

Find out more

Dutch aquifers bank rainwater to help farmers avoid going bust

Climate change is increasing the risk of water shortages across Europe, but researchers in the Netherlands are hoping to ease pressure by generating a steady supply of clean water and heat from deep underground reservoirs known as aquifers.

In the west of the Netherlands there is a sea of greenhouses covering 4,500 hectares. Known as the Westland, this indoor farming hub is home to 670 horticulture companies growing a wide variety of flowers and crops, from aubergines and tomatoes to cucumbers. Water is crucial to growing these plants inside, but despite being in a country famous for rivers and canals the region still faces shortages.

“We had a very dry summer,” said Klaasjan Raat, a water resource management expert at KWR, a Dutch sustainable water institute. “We had a lack of fresh groundwater which not only poses a risk to farmers, but also damages nature.”
Westland pioneers a lot of sustainable water technology and researchers will now trial a new concept known as water banking, which deposits precipitation collected over the area during wetter periods and stores it in aquifers for a not-so-rainy day. The project is led by Raat who says this approach could help Westland balance demand in a climate change future where less rainfall is expected.

“If pumping is balanced over time, and over an area, you maintain the quality and amount of water in that aquifer,” he said, but points out that Westland is currently “over-drafting”, meaning it withdraws more water from ground reserves than what is put back in. This is a long-term liability for the greenhouse farmers, warns Raat, but water banking could help them break-even; or even make a profit.

“Rainwater that falls on the greenhouses [periodically] is not sufficient, but on average in the whole area [of Westland] over the year it is,” he said.
Raat will recruit a group of horticulturalists over 100 hectares and incentive them to pump their excess rainwater into the ground reserve. Together with other local stakeholders, like the regional water authority, he is developing a pricing mechanism that will financially reward the farmers who deposit water into the aquifer and charge those who withdraw too much. He hopes it will be a self-containing system that finances itself.

Aquifers are helping farmers elsewhere in Westland too, but this time in supplying a cleaner source of heat. Industry at the nearby port of Rotterdam produces waste heat that is used to warm water in large pipes before it is pumped into even deeper underground reservoirs where it is stored as thermal energy, ready to be tapped into when the demand is there.


By 2020, these pipes will send the stored heat to 350,000 households as well as 1,000 hectares of greenhouses at Westland. Martin Bloemendal, a geothermal energy expert at Delft University of Technology and KWR, is developing a way to help optimise the performance of the ‘heat roundabout’ for Westland, which he says is crucial for the greenhouses because they also need higher temperatures to grow their crops.

“We have different sources of heat that are readily available during the warmer periods, like waste, geothermal and solar heat,” he said. “But in winter there is not enough so they [greenhouses] need additional heating.”

If the greenhouses don’t have a renewable source then burning fossil fuels often fills the gap, but storing excess heat during summer diminishes this need because it gives access to thermal energy throughout the year.

The heat storage project for Westland and the water banking pilot will soon act as demonstration sites to inform other European countries about making the most of their water resources. This is thanks NextGen, an EU project looking to help sustainable solutions like these create a circular economy for water.

Find out more

Harvesting energy and water from sewage gives northern Europe a sustainable edge

A new wastewater treatment plant in England will trial an approach that could help more European countries reuse higher amounts of water and generate cleaner energy too.

Climate change is increasing the risk of water shortages across Europe, but if societies made the most of every drop the 100 million people facing water stress would be much better off – and may even have a new source of energy.

In Redditch, England, a new wastewater treatment plant will use a combination of micro-filters and bacteria to turn sewage into reusable water and generate methane from the separated waste. The recovered methane could then be used to power the entire process.

Peter Vale, technical lead of the plant at Severn Trent Water, a water utility company in England, said: “It fundamentally changes the energy balance of sewage treatment – we switch from being energy-intensive to maybe energy-neutral or even energy-positive.”

The technology that makes this possible has existed for a few years, but it has never been applied to northern Europe because the bacteria do not like the colder climate. But by recreating their ideal environment within the process, colder countries could soon utilise the technology.

The new wastewater treatment plant will be built in the coming year and act as a demonstration site for other northern European regions looking to learn how to better harvest energy from wastewater. Once it is up and running it will treat up to 500,000 litres of sewage a day, which Vale says is equal to around a thousand households.

“It does open up the possibility of more use of the treated effluent [wastewater] because you use the membrane [a barrier that blocks contaminants] and that effectively disinfects it,” said Vale.

The clean water these plants create can be reused for agriculture, industrial use or processed further for human consumption and that translates into less water needed to be taken from the environment.

An EU-wide project called NextGen will use Redditch’s new wastewater treatment plant as a demonstration site to help other regions reduce their need to extract. But greater uptake of reuse technology in Europe, and beyond, requires a change in how wastewater and its by-products are perceived.

Each year, 40,000 million cubic metres of wastewater in the EU is treated, but only 964 million cubic metres is reused.

Vale says clean energy helps spur interest into water reuse technology, but scaling up such solutions needs better legislation that can reframe treatment plants as a source of new materials rather than waste by-products.
For instance, government subsidising materials like treated water and recovered fertilisers could see them become more attractive alternatives to conventional options.

Clogged policies

For this to happened standards on water quality need to be implemented so the public and private sector feel confident that products coming from treatment plants can be applied, for example, in growing our food.

According to Sergiy Moroz, senior policy officer for water at the European Environmental Bureau, an NGO based in Brussels, the standards required for reclaimed water are currently being negotiated in Brussels and once adopted should help uptake of water reuse.

“However, there are challenges with implementation of broader water policy in the EU. We’ve had legislation on the books for 19 years,” he said, warning the delay of implementation at a national level is adding pressure to Europe’s existing supplies. “Only 40% of our rivers, lakes and groundwater are at good status – they are facing both pollution problems and over extraction problems as well.”

Climate change will see droughts become more frequent and exasperate the situation further, which Moroz says makes it imperative that member start to “prepare and adapt” to deal with the complex and interlinked issues the environment faces.

Better government support will help water reuse address part of this challenge, but Moroz adds that we cannot focus on efficiency alone because society needs wider management strategies that protect and restore freshwater ecosystems where our water comes from – and how much we take from there.

Read more about NextGen on

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The projects in the ICT4Water cluster received funding from the European Union’s LIFE or Horizon2020 research and innovation programme.