Enhanced science- and evidence-based decision making in the field of water
Application of new knowledge requires targeted dissemination of its benefits. To do this, the project requires the establishment of an evidence base, which can clearly demonstrate benefits across social, economic and environmental dimensions. The presentation of evidence should take into account the different types of involved stakeholders and decision makers. Outputs such as the "Water Networks 2030: Vision and Opportunities" and "Why apply ICT in Networks" publications, also the results from the survey on the current European state of implementation of smart technologies and the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and workshops associated, will be of relevance and interest to a wide range of stakeholders and provide them with enough information and evidence to understand the need for ICT implementation to obtain a better performance level within their particular area of interest and work.
Utilities, as users, are one of the key roles involved in the systems being developed in all 4 projects included in the WIDEST consortium. While using different approaches, when it comes to the utility perspective, one of the main aims of these projects is to provide tools that allow better decisions making by delivering updated and detailed data, accurate estimations and/or decisions supporting tools. While the impact of these projects' approaches will be significant, it is clear that interaction between the involved projects can help to extract more significant conclusions and results. Actually, this fact appeared clear to the projects’ consortiums even before deciding to create WIDEST as there is an on-going action aiming to set up, at least to some extent, a common framework for executing the Cost-Benefit Analysis in the different projects in order to better extract overall conclusions from all the projects involved in WIDEST. The projects involved in the WIDEST consortium have had different approaches towards DSS and have also reviewed additional approaches not directly involved in them. This fact will allow the execution of an exercise of analysis where the results of the different approaches in different environments can be studied in order to extract conclusions that will:
- Ease the commercial exploitation of the project results (and other DSS too) by having a clearer view of under which conditions and for which cases the different approaches might be more likely to provide the desired results.
- Detect if there are scenarios in which the achieved results are not yet satisfactory and, therefore, there is a need for further research on particular environments.
Another possible related impact is the use of expert systems in the field of water. By the use of the outcomes and tools provided by WatERP project, stakeholders of the water field will be empowered with new and meaningful information which will help the decision making process. Promoting its applications matched with particular stakeholders needs, will leverage its impact beyond its basic possibilities without WIDEST added value.
Application of best management practices and new developments to address needs and opportunities in the water field. Enhanced interface between water and innovation policies
The consortium has vast experience in the field of water technologies, and can help evaluate information from many sources. We have also developed numerous roadmaps with specific recommendations to policy makers that synthesise information from industrial, academic, non-profit and end user perspectives.
Considering future water management demands and challenges, water utilities not only have to face the need to find new water sources, but to provide and maintain the infrastructure required to get that water to users under certain quality requirements, determined by ever more stringent regulations. This calls for the identification of opportunities to solve the issues presented. It’s necessary to consider different aspects, advantages and disadvantages, in implementing new technologies and how they can be applied within the contexts of existing regulation and control and management approaches in water networks. Practitioners, researchers and policy makers require having their own evidence-based opinions on future needs, opportunities and challenges for optimal water network design and operation.
The publications and training and dissemination activities on best management practices considered will provide evidence and inspiration to stakeholders to identify opportunities and needs and contribute to a better use of water resources.
Our Overall roadmap will be analysing and disseminating key issues across three different major topics chosen, assimilating information across these topics, advising about effective implementation of the holistic approach and providing specific analyses and recommendations for policy makers and other readers.
An example of contribution will be provided from the experience and results of the WatERP’s Open Management Platform enabling greater cooperation among water regulators, operators and users which would lead to significant water savings. There is currently a lack of coordination between activities which results in lost water usage opportunities, each actor making decisions without knowledge of the needs or impacts on others located upstream and downstream.
Rapid market uptake of research results in line with the priority areas of the EIP 'Water'
Smart technology has been defined as an enabling factor for all priorities in EIP “Water”, and as is with WIDEST ICT for water impacts sought for some of those priority areas. In our approach, enabling a rapid market uptake of results in this field requires both of a previous adaptation to those that best fit with market needs, and then making them known to the target stakeholders. Besides the continuous monitoring works of the IWO established in WP1, other WPs will focus on developing tools that help R&D results to be best matched with the market. As a result, our Overall Roadmap expects its impact in:
- Fostering ICT for water and ICT standardisation efforts regarding to semantic interoperability and ontologies;
- Contributing to identify gaps/barriers/bottlenecks on existing regulation blocking innovations and smart technologies (EIP-SIP);
- Contributing to the achievement of EIP “Smart technologies” and “Decision Support System and Monitoring” priorities objectives.
- Enhancing implementation, interoperability, economy of scale and standardisation, business opportunities of the already existing solutions on the projects portfolios.
A more integrated community of researchers and users extending across disciplines, countries, organisations and sectors
The proposed WIDEST project will definitely contribute to fostering new partnerships and increasing synergies between different stakeholders and sectors. Involving a broad diversity and extension of countries and sectors, participation of IWA is crucial with its extensive network that reaches out to over 130 countries and across disciplines; including research, practice and policy. The network will support attaining a higher level of exposure and a better quality control of the different activities carried out by our partners in WIDEST. Another important part of this aspect is how stakeholders from very different backgrounds can interact and provide each other with new perspectives and solutions that can later be shared within the global network. In a similar way, with the involvement of @qua thematic network and the WSSTP. In addition, the @qua thematic network has created a collaborative framework at the EU level for sharing, defining and validating interoperability, standards and architecture for ICT solutions in the water domain. The network is developed on the key concept of “level of sharing” and elaborated through broad stakeholders’ consultation, guidelines on ICT for water efficiency management. Following recommendations and requests, the @qua network promotes action for further involvement of stakeholders, including SME’s, at the local and regional level, facilitating cross-fertilisation of ideas and proposals, also with the aim of focusing on specific pilot initiatives to improve the efficiency and impact of ICT solutions in the water sector. These actions provide clearly guidance and major axes for R&D programmes and support the economic activities of the sector. The @qua network is now becoming an international association recognised by the major actors from both water and ICT sectors, in-charge of interoperability, standards and architecture validation.
Given the collaborative and integrative nature of the WIDEST CSA approach, water authorities, water utilities, and consumers will be interconnected through the web as platform users and data providers. Through its mere implementation, new partnerships would automatically form between European water distributors, water management equipment suppliers and the ICT sector since these entities would either be directly involved as users of the webpages dedicated to the Smart Water Action Group, or indirectly by providing ICT tools and support services as well as water management equipment such as smart meters and sensors or other R&D exploitable results. The new partnerships and increased synergies between the public and private sector that WIDEST would generate is already realised in the consortium that has been formed for this project and is well reflected by the letters of support which accompany this proposal (see APPENDIX I: Support Letters). As another example of impact creating new partnerships to be developed, WIDEST will work with other stakeholders to establish a Smart Water Action Group inside one of the two main EIP related with this call (EIP on water or EIP on Smart Cities), as detailed in the previous section.
Improved public engagement in research and improved public understanding of the dynamic nature of water systems and the role of innovation in the water sector
Section 0 and Table 2.1.a and Table 2.1.b present clear, quantitative indicators and measures of success to quantify potential impact through accomplishing WIDEST main objectives, including peer-reviewed publications, attendance at events WIDEST schedule, attendance at concertation meetings, visits to the website and interactivity in social networks, and uploads to the video channel. Activities in this sense start developing and operating a communications infrastructure with emphasis on accessibility and usability for non-experts. It will take advantage of previous work done in iWIDGET, starting with the e-learning platform developed in this project, and the training course material, expanding it to fit the needs of WIDEST. This project will also actively explore, and link the project web to social networking platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Most of all of the battery of activities planned for this project and described best in WP5, are addressed or affordable to the general public, will be thoroughly designed with the objective of achieving a broad engagement.
In addition, all four projects have as a target the involvement of users in the integrated management platform or the interoperability of these platforms (allowing integration with new tools that might increase the level of participation of users), creating a great opportunity for compiling and analysing experiences related to provide a central node in which all actors involved in the water management take part in the process. Due to this fact, WIDEST will have as a very valuable input the experience with this public in the involved projects and, therefore, the communication between the public and WIDEST will be bidirectional.
Selected contents and themes being of main interest for the public will be offered, like the development of a partnership between householders and utilities that will allow for the integration of demand and supply. Or explaining the impact of increased customer information from smart meters on supplier efficiencies.
The concept of MOOC (Task 5.1) will be another best way to allow public engagement to learn and understand the impact of EIP Water in the water sector. MOOC will be developed as web applications in the form of e-learning platforms. They will be developed around a series of “themes” related to ICT and water. The list of the “themes” to be included in the MOOC e-learning platform will be defined within WP1, initially in T1.1 and updated later through T1.3. An example of a “theme” for a MOOC could be: “Using smart meters to improve water efficiency in households”, or “Water and energy links”. The consortium has experience in the development of such material, having already developed an e-learning platform within iWIDGET (http://www.i-widget-elearning.eu/iWidget/). This platform will be used as a general model for the MOOC, although, obviously the thematic range will be modified and extended, with the guidance and assistance of IWA.
Regarding Public Administrations we will establish contacts with the Water Joint Programming Initiative  that represents a key link with the public sector vision of water needs. The presence of the Water JPI Secretariat in Spain (leaded by Ministry of Economy) will help BDIGITAL as coordinator to establish profitable contacts.
If water authorities and local governments can view how the water is being used among sectors as well as geographically and over time, water pricing and policies could be adjusted according to changing needs and conditions, ensuring that the water sources are protected today and they will be also available in the future. Combined, all of this would directly contribute to Europe’s scientific and technology base and support its transition towards a knowledge intensive economy or “smart growth”, in accordance with the Europe 2020 Strategy.
Integration of the water and waste sectors into the Smart Cities EIP, reinforcing its ultimate goal of contributing to achieving the 3 bottom line objectives (20-20-20)
These targets, known as the "20-20-20" targets, set three key objectives for 2020 : i) A 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels; ii) Raising the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20%; and iii) A 20% improvement in the EU's energy efficiency.
Oriented to this impact, our portfolio of effective ICT for water management technologies of varying readiness will include a detailed study providing a comprehensive knowledge base of the latest water related technological advances. This portfolio and methodology will allow identifying gaps, needs, trends, solutions, barriers and best practices in the ICT for water management. Also will allow to foster knowledge sharing and continuous benchmarking across the EU and Associated Countries to ensure wider application of innovative solutions and further demonstrate their potential to solve water-related challenges. The activities promoting this Portfolio will help to increase the knowledge about current technologies and trends. This knowledge will be acquired by the main actors in the field of ICT for Water and therefore, the application of best management practices and new developments to address needs and opportunities in the water field will be easier. In addition, the promotion of ICT for water management projects portfolios will help to develop a roadmap for effective implementation of the holistic approach of ICT tools through 2020.
As explained above, the “Smart City Connection” Topical Roadmap will focus on city’s water distribution and management systems, monitoring and networking of critical systems and communication with citizens. This is aligned with the priority areas of the EIP on Smart Cities and Communities Strategic Implementation Plan (Sustainable Urban Mobility; Sustainable Districts and Built Environment; Citizen Focus; Integrated Planning and Management; Baselines, Performance Indicators and Metrics; Open Data Governance; Standards; Business Models; Procurement and Funding) and the EIP on Water Strategic Implementation Plan (Flood and Drought Risk Management).