Department Urban Water Management

Urban Water Observatory - Research Foci

In this long-term experiment we want to develop novel analysis concepts and efficient techniques to monitor system dynamics in a medium-scale urban catchment in real-time.

Method development is primarily motivated by research-related aspects with experimental character (‘test-bed’) to increase process understanding at urban water interfaces. But the initiative is also driven through real-life challenges in day-to-day operation of urban water networks (e.g. ensuring operational stability and reliability, providing infrastructure for real-time applications, reducing overall efforts).

Concrete key questions we want to answer are:

  • Is it possible to deploy robust, low-cost sensor technology to obtain spatially differentiated information, e.g. for a more reliable system operation or an improved calibration of process models?
  • How can we quantify emissions of emerging substances also for highly dynamic situations (storm events) to complete matter fluxes?
  • How can we efficiently integrate decentral data acquisition units (logger), innovative remote signal transmission technologies and cloud solutions to have area-wide access to data in real-time?
  • How can a flexible data warehouse help to make data accessible for all stakeholders and to minimize the maintenance effort for sensors in the same time?

Students from ETH Zurich are directly involved in setting-up the observatory and, in future, they will have the opportunity to examine practice-relevant questions with most recent analysis methods. Thus, this initiative actively promotes the mutual cross-stimulation between science, university education and engineering practice.

The project is realized by Eawag, Dept. SWW as a leading actor, but in close collaboration with valued research and industry partners:

  • The municipality of Fehraltorf as owner and operator of the infrastructure
  • The University of applied sciences (ZHAW), Winterthur, Dept. InES as development partner
  • Various industry partners dealing with sensor, transmission technologies, supply of technical parts, e.g. DecentLab, LoriOT




Prof. Dr. Max MaurerTel. +41 58 765 5386Send Mail
Dr. Frank BlumensaatTel. +41 58 765 5626Send Mail
Andreas ScheideggerTel. +41 58 765 5053Send Mail