25 April 2017
The EU Roadmap to Smart Water Management: The WIDEST project and the ICT4WATER cluster


By Dr Lydia S. Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia1, Gabriel Anzaldi2, Sander Smit3 and Aude Glenisson4
Spring 2017

Water and energy are intimately linked and this relationship is often referred to as the Water-Energy Nexus. The understanding of this Nexus has provided the evidence that saving water saves energy. This encompasses Water Management at two levels: at water utility/operator and at household level, where about 18-30 per cent of final energy across Europe is attributed to home use.

The success of the application of smart technologies in the water domain coined the concept Smart Water Management, which currently is the most efficient way to reduce energy consumption in water supply and distribution networks at both utility/operator and household level. Consequently the Smart Water sector is thriving, with an expected global growth from USD 8.46 Billion in 2016 to USD 20.10 Billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 18.9%.

For the past five years the European Commission (chiefly DG Connect) has been continuously funding several Research and Innovation Projects, related to this domain. Prompted by DG Connect, they have formed a cluster for ICT and Water Management: the ICT4WATER cluster (www.ict4water.eu). Currently 22 EU funded projects have joined this cluster, bringing together over 200 institutions and businesses.

The ICT4WATER cluster is a hub for innovative activities related to ICT for Water Management, organizing/participating at major exhibitions and scientific events and disseminating results through major channels. For the past two years it has been supported by the WIDEST (www.widest.eu) project, a Coordination and Support Action promoting an interconnected ICT for the Water Community.

Moreover, on the request of the EC, Marcin Stachura (m.stachura@mchtr.pw.edu.pl) has drafted, based on the inputs the cluster projects and relevant reports, the Roadmap 2016 on Emerging topics-and technology in ICT and Water management which is closed linked to the policy on EC Digital Single Market : https://ec.europa.eu/digital-singlemarket/en/news/emerging-topics-and-technology-roadmapict-water-management-august-2016. The document presents the main gaps and challenges that need to be addressed in the future development of the ICT for water management sector: Big Data, Data Infrastructures, Links with Smart Cities, Water-food-energy nexus, Standardization. The report proposes a technology roadmap, which suggests the creation of a borderless Digital Single Market for water services to foster the transition of ICT technologies in water sector from pilot scale to wide market uptake.

Currently the ICT4WATER cluster is contributing to the DG Connect "Action Plan to Digital Single Market" (to be delivered at the end of 2017), which will take as reference the previous work and forum of actors/experts related to the ICT4Water cluster, where synergies were very fruitful for project development and knowledge sharing/progress between stakeholders and experts. It will identify the gaps and propose an action plan of concrete actions relating to R&D and possible regulation in the area of ICT and water; it will enhance emerging water issues (current and future trends) in terms of data management, interoperability and standardization including the investigation of the ICT GHG Footprint; it will define classification/justification of problems and solutions; it will identify cost/benefit estimates of problems and solutions and synergies between the proposed solutions and with other related sectors (e.g. circular economy, transport, energy and smart cities).

Contact details:
1. Centre for Water Systems, University of Exeter, UK (L.S.Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia@ex.ac.uk)
2. EURECAT, Spain (gabriel.anzaldi@eurecat.org)
3. BM-Change (sander@bm-change.nu)
4. European Commission, DG CONNECT: aude.GLENISSON@ec.europa.eu