"Fiware4water" : an innovative digital solution for water management

21/04/2022

Since 2019, OiEau has been coordinating the European project "Fiware4water", whose ambition is to create an open collaborative digital platform to simplify data exchanges between the various water stakeholders.

On the occasion of the World Creativity and Innovation Day, Sonia Siauve, Innovation project manager at OiEau and specialist in the digitalisation of the water sector, answered our questions.

 

1) How do you see innovation and new technologies playing a crucial role in the coming years to strengthen water management? What are the main challenges?

Water is a very precious and fragile resource. Protecting all resources and ensuring their sustainable management is already a guarantee of peace in many parts of the world. The current and future impacts of climate change, as the IPCC experts recently reminded us, as well as the expected increase in global water demand, are challenges that can be met with new technologies.

2) How can you define "smart water"?

When I hear or read "Smart Water", I think of "intelligent and more agile management of water resources". This concept is very much in vogue, but it is not simply a fashionable effect, it is a real revolution that is underway. The water sector is indeed fragmented and lagging behind in the development of new technologies such as the creation of digital twins of basins or the development of management models and applications based on "machine learning" or artificial intelligence.

OiEau has developed an e-book "Digital water for non-experts" which, through short video interviews of various stakeholders, perfectly explains the concept of smart water. (https://www.oieau.fr/pub/F4W-Digital-Water_non-Expert/31/).

3) How does OiEau, through the "Fiware 4 water" project, fit into this dynamic? What is the interest of such a platform for the water sector? How can it create a new innovative ecosystem for water services?

OiEau has been involved for a very long time in european and international research, innovation and demonstration projects related to all the fields of water management, at the service of a multiplicity of stakeholders (politicians, managers, researchers, industrialists, associations, citizens) and at various scales.

Since 2019, OiEau has been coordinating the H2020 "Fiware4Water" project, which gathers 14 partners, and whose objective is to demonstrate the technical feasibility of using the FIWARE IT environment to help accelerate the digitalisation of the water sector. In concrete terms, FIWARE is an IT platform that offers a library of free, standardised and secure functionalities enabling anyone with IT skills to develop customised tools, i.e. to meet an expressed need.

The project, which will end in May, has already made it possible to create and deploy on 4 European sites a reference architecture dedicated to the water sector called "FIWARE4Water".

It has enabled the development of applications that meet the needs of the managers involved. One of the added values of this platform is that it allows the creation of custom applications or the addition of functionalities to existing management systems.

4) Does the platform have to evolve in line with the smart city?

The FIWARE ecosystem includes functionalities in its IT architecture, which a community of developers is working to improve via their global network of i-Hubs (as part of the Mundus programme).

In certain areas such as telecommunications or urban transport, FIWARE is already being used extensively by cities, particularly those involved in the "Smart Cities" initiative.

There is no doubt that the very good results obtained during the Fiware4Water project will encourage these cities, in the very near future, to also use FIWARE technology for the intelligent and integrated management of water resources.

5) What are the first visible results of the project? What are the perspectives?

The project achieved its main objective by demonstrating the feasibility of using FIWARE for the water sector.

The functionalities offered by the platform have enabled the development of applications that are now operational and provide answers to the needs expressed by managers working at different stages of the water cycle: raw water supply, production and distribution of drinking water, wastewater treatment and involvement of citizens in a conscious and sustainable consumption approach.

For more details : Fiware4water | Fostering a Digital Single Market for Smart Water Services