Department Urban Water Management


The Urban Water Management department projects are organised according to four research areas:

Systems Engineering  (Tove Larsen, Max Maurer, João Leitão, Lauren Cook) looks at the engineering options and methodologies to lead urban water infrastructure into a sustainable future.

Source typing and tracking (Christoph Ort, Jörg Rieckermann) The quantification of pollutant loads in wastewater is, on the one hand, a requirement to minimize impacts of pollutants to the environment, and, on the other hand, it also offers a unique opportunity to learn about human lifestyle changes and also to develop early warning systems.

Intelligent Network Operations (Jörg Rieckermann, João Leitão) aims to (i) develop methods to improve data on key variables and states of our wastewater systems, such as, rainfall, flows, and pollutant discharges to receiving waters, (ii) provide better models to assess water and pollutant fluxes, as well as, urban flood risk and aging infrastructure.

Urban Water Observatory (Max Maurer) is a test-bed where modern measurement equipment provides us with a detailed picture about the processes in an urban water catchment.

Projects Systems Engineering

Goal is an improved planning procedure for sustainable water supply and wastewater infrastructure management that links into the existing Swiss governance structures.
An inter- and transdisciplinary strategic research program that strives to develop novel non-gridconnected water and sani- tation systems that can function as comparable alternatives to network-based systems.
The population has a high willingness to pay for reducing risks of wastewater flooding or combined sewer overflows
How can the overall performance of distributed treatment systems be estimated and maintained?
Network condition simulator for benchmarking sewer deterioration models
The aim of this project is to gain more insight about sustainable infrastructure management and to develop tools and methods for complex decision making for infrastructure planning.
Development of systematic but generic methods for the generation of locally appropriate sanitation system options and for the quantification of sustainability performance indicators.
Managing Uncertainty in the Design of Urban Water Infrastructure
Project aim is participative decision support for the long-term transition to innovative wastewater infrastructures.
We aim at facilitating the use of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis in urban water management practice.
We are identifying the challenges of modular infrastructure systems for the Swiss economy and society using the example of urban water management.
Decentralisation changes wastewater quantity and quality that is discharged to the sewer. We investigate the effects of these changes on the operation of existing centralised sewer systems.
We quantify the physical disintegration of faeces in sewers - a stochastic detrition model is developed and calibrated by flow reactor experiments using PIV and image analysis backlight illumination
The ‘Transitions Pathways Generator’ (TPG) model aims at the systematic generation of transition pathways describing technical adaptations of the urban drainage infrastructure.
Improving the environmental benefits of green roofs through system focused experiments and modeling
Urban Blue-Green Infrastructures for Biodiversity
How to design blue-green infrastructure to enhance urban biodiversity?
monitor the impact of urbanization and prepare for an urban living lab

Projects Source typing and tracking

Quantifying micropollutant loads in combined and separate sewer overflows
Estimating public health factors at the community level
Mapping environmental variables in sewers
Advancing estimation of illicit drug use from wastewater samples - the role of in-sewer drug transformation.
High resolution mass spectrometry in the field
Input of plant protection products into surface waters in rural landscapes: What is the relevance of hydraulic shortcuts ?
Application of Wastewater-based Epidemiology to SARS-CoV-2 Detection
Measuring micropollutants in combined sewer overflows with mobile HRMS
Analysis of human excretion products in wastewater as additional, independent indicators for the assessment of epidemiological information

Projects Intelligent Network Operations

Commercial Microwave links for Urban Rainfall Monitoring (CoMMon)
Kanalnetzbewirtschaftung für besseren Gewässerschutz
Assessing influence of model structure deficiencies & input errors on the uncertainty of model prediction
Hexagonal Grids for urban flood modelling
Cost Effective Neural Technique to Alleviate Urban flood Risk
Software tools for hexagonal grids
Urban flood experiments and alternative data acquisition methods
Is your computer model too slow? Use emulators to speed it up!
Alternative data collection and assimilation methods for urban flood modelling
What are the biggest obstacles to a better surface water protection during wet-weather?
We automate tedious evaluations with big-data methods and create the basis for faster and better decisions
Smart monitoring, data sharing and offering transnational access to lab and field facilities to the European Urban Drainage community.
PhD project to develop a new type of sensors based on UV/visible spectroscopy, that will allow real time, non-intrusive and low maintenance monitoring of the COD and turbidity of sewers.

Projects Urban Water Observatory

The Urban Water Observatory (UWO) is a long-term (5-year) initiative of ETH and Eawag to establish a sensor network in Fehraltorf...
Development of self-powered sensored pipes for smart management of water distribution systems
In-Sewer LPWAN - A new LoRa-based synchronous mesh network to help monitoring in-sewer processes
Harvesting Stormwater for Cooling Urban Areas