A new collaboration uniting 10 countries across the EU is helping to make data more interoperable to connect water stakeholders for improved decision-making.
Called the WATERVERSE, the project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme with the aim to develop a Water Data Management Ecosystem (WDME).
One of the ambitions is to make water sector data management practices and resources more accessible, affordable, secure, fair and easy to use.
A three-year project will be demonstrated across six countries, including Cyprus, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the UK.
WATERVERSE connects 17 partners across 10 European countries, including research organisations, water service companies and technology providers.
Interoperability is key
One of the core aims of the EU project is to ensure interoperability of data. Historically, this has proven a challenge, with different stakeholders protecting multiple legacy systems, often fuelled by cybersecurity concerns.
“We want to prepare data in a standardised and interoperable way where we can ensure it is ready to be used for certain advanced applications using artificial intelligence,” said Siddharth Seshan, Scientific Researcher at KWR Water Research Institute, one of the project partners.
The project will identify, extend and integrate a wide set of data management tools to implement the WDME
“We can enhance the decision making for end-users. There is already a lot of answers available in the data – we need to find a way to connect the dots already with links.”
The project will identify, extend and integrate a wide set of data management tools to implement the WDME. One open-source data exchange tool that will be used is FIWARE, which was funded by the European Council (2011-2016). Its interoperable and standardised interfaces for water sector end-user and solutions providers were previously demonstrated within the Fiware4Water (2019-2022) project.
Creating a water data management ecosystem
The WDME will be an EU-level ecosystem of services and tools that can allow end-users to achieve requirements, whereby the data is prepared, clean, processed, standardised, interoperable and anonymised, if needed.
One case study being coordinated by KWR in the Netherlands is a collaboration with Dutch utility, PWN. To help better understand water quality and quantity of the IJsselmeer, the utility’s primary water source, access to the right data will help with future modelling.
The ambition is to enable PWN to access and bring together data from multiple stakeholders, from the government to the climate agency.
“This is one case that requires an advanced level of data management where we are trying to connect different silos,” added Seshan.
“There needs to be some form of data exchange. How can we create horizontal connections across different systems? The WATERVERSE initiative aims to achieve this across sectors and projects, in a multidisciplinary way.”
WATERVERSE is a three-year project and the kick-off meeting was recently held in Thessaloniki, Greece, hosted by the project’s coordinator, CERTH (Centre for Research & Technology).