Water innovation in action: €50 million for new research projects

Water innovation in action: €50 million for new research projects

A summary of the 11 resource-efficiency research projects that will receive a total of €50 million in EU funding is presented here:


(Biometal Demonstration Plant for the Biological Rehabilitation of Metal Bearing-Wasterwaters, EU budget contribution: € 2.9 mln,): Heavy metal pollution is one of today’s most prominent environmental problems which threatens human life. BIOMETAL DEMO project will try to demonstrate the feasibility of the application of novel biotechnologies for the treatment of metal polluted wastewaters though the development of two pilot plants set up within two metal-polluting industries, a mine and an electroplating company.

Project coordinator: Contactica S.L., Madrid, Spain


 (Demonstrating Integrated Innovative Technologies for an Optimal and Safe Closed Water Cycle in Mediterranean Tourist Facilities, EU budget contribution: € 4.1 mln,): DemEAUmed aims to involve industry representatives, stakeholders, policy-makers and diverse technical and scientific experts in demonstrating and promoting innovative technologies for an optimal and safe closed water cycle in Euro-Mediterranean tourist facilities, leading to their eventual market uptake. Reduction of fresh water consumption in hotel installations, green and recreational areas, etc. will be achieved by using alternative water sources, such as treated groundwater, treated rainwater or the reuse of treated grey waters and/or wastewaters.

Project coordinator: Acondicionamiento Tarrasense Associación, Terrassa, Spain


(Innovation Demonstration for a Competitive and Innovative European Water Reuse Sector, EU budget contribution: € 6 mln,): The ability of Europe’s communities to respond to increasing water stress by taking advantage of water reuse opportunities is restricted by low public confidence in solutions, inconsistent approaches to evaluating costs and benefits of reuse schemes, and poor coordination of the professionals and organisations who design, implement and manage them. The DEMOWARE initiative will rectify these shortcomings by executing a highly collaborative programme of demonstration and exploitation, using nine existing and one greenfield site to stimulate innovation and improve cohesion within the evolving European water reuse sector.

Project coordinator: FundacióCTM Centre Tecnològic, Manresa, Spain


(Demonstrate Ecosystem Services Enabling Innovation in the Water Sector, EU budget contribution: € 6 mln,):The project aims to demonstrate and promote innovative solutions to water-related challenges with a focus on water quality and water scarcity. DESSIN also wants to demonstrate a methodology for the valuation of ecosystem services (ESS) as catalyser for innovation in water management. The project will be particularly focused on urban areas and will be able to demonstrate how innovative solutions integrated in the water cycle can increase the value of the services provided by freshwater ecosystems, thus generating additional incentives and arguments for their market uptake and practical implementation.

Project coordinator: IWW Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wasser Beratungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany


(Innovative Model and Demonstration Based Water Management for Resource Efficiency in Integrated Multitrophic Agriculture and Aquaculture Systems, EU budget contribution: € 6 mln,): INAPRO wants to mobilise industry, member states and stakeholders to promote a new and innovative technical and technological approach right up to an Aquaponic system which allows a nearly emission free sustainable production, and contributes remarkably to global food security for the 21st century. Considering that traditional Aquaponic systems, combining aquaculture and hydroponics, have a great potential in saving water, energy and recovering nutrients from wastewater by value chains, the project aims to achieve breakthrough solutions which will allow these systems to be brought closer to the market

Project Coordinator: Forschungsverbund Berlin E.V., Berlin, Germany


(Demonstrating Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Solution to Water Scarcity and Drought, EU budget contribution: € 5.2 mln,): Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region are facing the challenge of managing their water resources under conditions of increasing scarcity and concerns about water quality. The availability of fresh water in sufficient quality and quantity is one of the major factors limiting socio -economic development. MARSOL will aim to demonstrate that innovative water management strategies such as the storage of reclaimed water or excess water from different sources in Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) schemes can help cope with this challenge, by increasing water availability and therefore improving water security.

Project coordinator: Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany


(Demonstration of Innovative Solutions for Reuse of Water, Recovery of Valuables and Resource Efficiency in Urban Wastewater Treatment, EU budget contribution: € 5.3 mln,):The project aims to demonstrate solutions that support the transition from a treatment plant for urban wastewater to a production unit of different valuables. So far, waste water treatment plants are usually regarded as facilities to avoid emissions from wastewater. Current research and development shows that these plants can be converted and upgraded into production units to provide energy, nutrients, water for re-use and possibly other valuables. This is achieved by improved resource efficiency in the plant as well as new technologies and business models that allow the re-use of resources from the incoming water.

Project coordinator: IVL Svenska Miljorinstitutet A.B., Stockholm, Sweden


(SmArt Water Management with Integrated Decision Support Systems, EU budget contribution: € 2.2 mln,): The need for providing high quality water to citizens and to reduce damages produced by floods and droughts has motivated research and development of many software-based decision support systems (DSSs). However, despite the notable technical advances, most of the water infrastructures in Europe are still managed by expert operators based on traditional best practices but with little support from these new smart tools. The objective of the SAID project is to include the final users and the SMEs in order improve the production and deployment of more smart water management systems in Europe.

Project coordinator: Abeinsa Business Development S.A., Sevilla, Spain


(Demonstration of Integrated Smart Water Supply Solutions at four sites across Europe, EU budget contribution: € 6 mln,): European water utilities face many problems related to their 3.5 million kilometres of distribution networks. Large parts of water distribution networks have to be rehabilitated requiring investments of € 20 billion/year. Prioritisation and optimisation of investments is needed urgently. In many countries, water quality needs improvement in order to reduce health risks and resources for water production, and distribution must be used more efficiently. The SmartWater4Europe consortium wants to tackle this challenge by developing and demonstrating integrated solutions for smart management of water distribution networks.

Project coordinator: Vitens N.V., Utrecht, Netherlands


(Water Public Innovative Procurement Policies, EU budget contribution: € 1 mln): WaterPiPP is about exploring new public procurement methodologies for the European water sector, where the innovation potential is blocked by a number of bottlenecks and barriers. Public procurement represents around 19% of the EU’s GDP, an important lead market for innovators in particular in the water and climate change sectors. Innovative procurement of products and services can be used to support the development and commercialisation of new solutions that improve the quality and efficiency of public services with better value for money.

Project coordinator: Office International de l’Eau, Paris, France


(Water and Energy Advanced Management for Irrigation, EU budget contribution: € 5.2 mln,): Agriculture accounts on average for 30% of total water consumption in Europe, and as high as 70% in several Southern European countries. In recent years, most efforts to reduce consumption have focused on water efficiency without paying attention to energy, resulting, in some cases, in a significant increase in energy consumption, both per irrigated surface and per volume unit of water. WEAM4i wants to help reduce energy consumption by developing a water and energy smart grid for irrigation and a decision-support system ICT platform.

Project coordinator: Meteosim S.L., Barcelona, Spain


Since 2007, the EU budget has financed close to 500 environment research projects, with more than 7,000 participants, from 126 countries and with an SME participation rate of 17%. This societal challenge continues to be supported under the present research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.

Horizon 2020 is the EU's biggest ever research and innovation framework programme with a seven year budget worth nearly €80 billion. In 2014 the total EU research budget, including these items and administrative expenditure, will be around €9.3 billion, rising to around €9.9 billion in 2015.

Under the first Horizon 2020 calls for projects around €165 million is expected to be provided to projects in the focus area 'Water'. Water is fundamental to human health, food security, sustainable development and the environment. It is also an economic sector of growing importance for Europe with a turnover of some €80 billion a year, making it an invaluable source for growth and jobs. Specific actions under this focus area will include bringing innovative water solutions to the market, harnessing water research and innovation results for the benefit of industry, policy makers and citizens in Europe and worldwide as well as integrated approaches to water management and climate change.

For an overview of EU water policy:


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