Digital solutions for water: linking the physical and digital world for water solutions
Modern information and communication technologies (ICT) have provided today’s society with a vast array of innovative capabilities to solve several challenges related to resource efficiency, climate change and sustainable development. Harnessing this technology within the water sector creates a more intelligent means of managing and protecting the planet’s water resources and lays the foundation of a water-smart society. However, several challenges related to interoperability and standardisation, collection, protection and sharing of data between users, services and infrastructures, intelligent smart metering, integration with other systems, ICT governance and public awareness and acceptance, are hampering the potential of those technologies.
Actions should develop and test new, robust and cybersecure systems, linking the physical and digital world to ensure tailored, water-smart solutions, to exploit the value of data for the water sector and to foster higher information transparency and accountability. They should cover various water management areas, cycles and value chains, based on an integrated approach of all water resources and water bodies. Actions should combine different types of advanced data and digital technologies in a multidisciplinary environment, including mobile technology, clouds, artificial intelligence, sensors, open source software and analytics. Aspects such as optimisation, prediction, diagnosis, microsystems, micro-/nano-sensors, modelling and visualisation tools, data management plans, assessment and real time monitoring for water quality and quantity, integrated water management, open data policies, enabling institutional frameworks, health issues, vulnerability to changing water conditions and disaster warnings and risk management should also be considered. Actions should capitalise on knowledge acquired through previous FP7/Horizon 2020 projects.
Actions should seek to bring together research and innovation players from the digital and physical spheres to address jointly challenges and opportunities, including regulatory and legislative barriers, data protection issues and opportunities for investments in different application sectors. Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 5-7. The participation of social sciences and humanities disciplines is crucial to properly address the complex challenges of this topic. To assure applicability and wide deployment of the innovative water technologies in different conditions (including different water resources, economic, social and regulatory settings) involvement of market take-up partners and/or end users from a wide range of different European regions is strongly encouraged.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The project results are expected to contribute to:
- the interoperability of decision support systems through the identification and use of ICT/water vocabularies and ontologies in view of developing or improving ICT/water standards;
- improved decision making on water management, related risks and resource efficiency through increased real-time accuracy of knowledge;
- maximising return on investments through reduced operational costs for water utilities, including reduced costs for water monitoring, improved performance of water infrastructures, and enhanced access to and interoperability of data;
- enhanced public awareness on water consumption and usage savings;
- market development of integrated and cyber-resilient ICT solutions and systems for smart water management, and opening up of a digital single market for water services.
- the implementation of the objectives of the EIP Water, especially, reducing the environmental footprint of the main water-dependant activities and improve their resilience to climate changes and other environmental changes.
- Socio-economic science and humanities
- Open Innovation
- Open Science