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Urban water management 4.0 on World Water Day

Urban water management 4.0 on World Water Day

The future of urban water management is also our future – this was the opinion of seven PhD students from Eawag came to, who decided to write a paper on the subject. 

They shut themselves away in a mountain hut, and pooled their hitherto disparate knowledge from very different pathways and from different fields of study. The question they focused on was: How can an increased amount of information and data change urban water management? In perfect timing for World Water Day, which this year is focusing on wastewater, the article was published in Environmental Science and Technology. The result of this team work – by no means an everyday occurrence – provides an optimistic outlook: much is already possible today, or will be possible very soon, thanks to modern sensor technology, data transmission and data processing. Above all, say the young researchers, it is not essential to spend further billions on excavation works and concrete, as there is still a great deal of potential waiting to be exploited in existing infrastructures and decentralised facilities. This fits well with the theme which the Federal Office for the Environment has chosen for this year’s World Water Day, as the last 10 million francs of the 4.5 billion subsidies for the planning and construction of wastewater infrastructure will be paid out in 2017.

Sven Eggimann et al.: The Potential of Knowing More: A Review of Data-Driven Urban Water Management; Environ. Sci. Technol., 2017, 51 (5), pp 2538–2553. http://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b04267   

How the article came about, and what the young researchers think about urban water management in the digital age – video (6 mins, G,E).

Created by Andri Bryner