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Digital Water: becoming the new norm

  • Digital Water: becoming the new norm

About the blog

Dr Yiannis Kompatsiaris
Project Coordinator at aqua3S.

Published in:

SWM Monthly  frontpage
ACCIONA
Idrica

Themes

Even though the water sector has already taken some steps towards its digitalization during the last years, there are still a lot of issues to be tackled that will further improve water’s quality and security. Towards this direction, new low-cost sensors are being introduced that can provide effective and timely identification of substances in the water, thus contributing to proactive crisis management solutions. To address these issues, new standards are being drafted acting as guidelines for the water companies that comply with them to ensure the distribution of high-quality potable water. Within this context, a group of 5 EU funded projects, focusing on water safety and security, has been formed called DigitalWater2020.

Goals and objectives: DW2020 core members are aqua3S, Digital-Water city, FIWARE4Water, NAIADES and SCOREwater, each of them focusing on a different aspect of water security. The projects are looking to bring together the fragmented water sector in an attempt to exchange information, discuss the outcomes of each project and how they can be utilized, and address in an interoperable way today’s challenges. They also aim at creating collaborations that will assist with managing and protecting water resources. The first step towards digitalization realized by the DW2020 members is the adoption of the FIWARE platform and its application to all or part of their pilot use cases. FIWARE is an open-source initiative that defines a set of standards for context data management in order to facilitate the development of Smart Solutions for several domains including Smart Cities, Smart Industry, Smart Agrifood, and Smart Energy. Furthermore, the involved projects are closely cooperating for the development of data models. These data models handle the different types of data used or produced related to water quality and which will be used by the FIWARE platform.

aqua3S aims to create standards to support water authorities to follow a common path towards strategies to ensure high quality potable water

aqua3S: aqua3S aims to create much-needed standards to support water authorities in their endeavour to follow a common path towards strategies and methods that will assist them in ensuring high-quality potable water for their citizens. To do so, aqua3S is creating new, innovative sensors for enhanced threat detection and will combine them with already existing market sensors that are currently in use and have proven to be efficient. To enhance and validate the collected data, aqua3S is also collecting information from UAVs and satellites, as well as focused social media posts that are reporting a relevant event. All this interconnected data is then projected into a single, interoperable platform that can raise alerts in case of anomaly detection, classify this anomaly under certain types of crises based on its severity level, forecast how water distribution networks are going to perform under various scenarios, based on previous experience, and utilize this information to model the actions that should be taken in such events.

A blink into the future: If DW2020 succeeds to deliver standardization processes for operations and technology used in the water sector, as well as to create a user-friendly and interoperable platform that will be commonly used by water stakeholders, then water will have finally stepped into the digital era. Drinking water will be as safe as ever and the way will be paved to an interconnected and secure water sector. However, a great gap on the “security” of critical water infrastructure will be created as this digitalization will inevitably lead to a necessity for higher level and more complex security techniques against man-driven cyberattacks. Such an attack on an interconnected sector could have a tremendous effect on societies, be it in financial or human resources. Even though DW2020 is taking this aspect into serious consideration, this could encourage future researchers to delve into more detail on how to counter this issue and be able to fully enjoy the advantages of Digital Water.

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