"Smart Water Management for Sustainable Society"

© DWIH Tokyo/iStock.com/Dimitris66

These four projects with German participation were selected in the Joint Call on “Smart Water Management for Sustainable Society” (2019) . They are beginning in spring 2020 and last for three years.


Innovative UV-LED Applications to Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Systems for Sustainable Water Management in Future Communities (InLEDapp)

  • Project Coordinator: Dr. Jutta Eggers, DVGW Technology Centre Water, Karlsruhe
  • Partner:
    • Prof. Dr. Blaha Ludek, Masaryk University, Czech Republic
    • Dr. Kumiko Oguma, University of Tokyo, Japan

This project aims to prove the applicability of highly innovative and sustainable technology (UV LED system) for chemical-free and efficient water treatment (drinking water / wastewater) and a comparison with conventional treatment. Citizens, societies, agriculture and industries will increasingly need innovative solutions to meet the need for using water in a more efficient and effective way. Innovative thinking and smarter use of innovation, such as that generated by InLEDapp, have the potential to bring new solutions quickly and efficiently to the market while responding to the needs of end users in urban, rural and industrial areas. The systems will be operated in the field including waterworks, community water supply systems, wastewater treatment facilities and industrial applications. The field test will be conducted in Japan. The results will include treatment performance and maintenance frequency. The research strength of each country will be matched in complementary and interdisciplinary manners, creating synergies to develop a future society with sustainable water use and management.

Soil Eco-Technology to Recover Water Storage in disturbed Forests (SoilWater)

  • Project Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Jan Frouz, Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
  • Partner:
    • Dr. Werner Gerwin, Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany
    • Dr. Kazumichi Fuji, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Japan
    • Dr. Peter Surda, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia

In terrestrial ecosystems, soils control water storage distribution and quality, they supply water to vegetation as well as to groundwater recharge. Recharge and its quality are crucial for watercourses and consequently sources of water used by human society. Soil ability to hold water depends largely on soil organic matter. Widespread decrease of soil organic matter and soil compaction is responsible for a reduction of soil water holding capacities and consequently for increasing problems with water supply for vegetation and other components of the landscape. There is extensive evidence, that these disturbed soils have large abilities to store carbon if sufficient organic matter is supplied. However, much less is known about how the soil carbon storage corresponds with improvements of soil water and river water supply and its quality. There are several site-specific eco-technologies proposed for reclamation of degraded soils, but the applicability of technology or knowledge is not fully tested under some ecological conditions. Knowledge gaps limit technology exchange between countries. Main objective and scientific output of this project will be the formulation of indicators for the ability of soils to store water harmonized and shared between European and Japanese researchers; more thorough understanding of the relationship between basic tree properties (leaf traits) and soil water retention and how they are influenced by other soil properties (pH, clay contents); set up practical guidelines how to improve water storage in disturbed forest soils. The project will benefit from a network of experiments in Europe and huge datasets of water budgets and quality including forest stream water quality monitoring in Japan.

Removal of Obstacles in Widespread Application of Membrane Technology: Toward Smart Water Management in Future Cities (RealMethod)

  • Project Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Andrea Iris Schäfer, KIT Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Partner:
    • Dr. Katsuki Kimura, Hokkaido University, Japan
    • Dr. Benoit Teychene, Université de Poitiers, France
    • Dr. Ismail Koyuncu, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey

Water is indispensable for human life and therefore needs to be managed in a sophisticated and smart manner in a sustainable society. More than half of the global population lives in urbanized areas, and this proportion is expected to increase in the future. Thus, water management in urbanized areas will become more important in the future. At the same time, however, we are facing emerging problems such as deterioration and fluctuation in source water quality that are partly caused by climate change. It is difficult to cope with those problems by using conventional water treatment technology. Membrane technology has a great potential for dealing with such problems. Yet, membrane technology has not gained universal popularity due to its drawbacks including membrane fouling (permeability decline). Also, control of micropollutants such as steroid hormones by membranes is difficult unless high-pressure membranes (nanofiltration) or reverse osmosis, which are energy intensive, are used. Fouling and micropollutants removal remain the major obstacles for widespread application of membranes. This project aims to make membrane technology more applicable by developing efficient decision tools for operators and developing innovative materials and processes to make membranes more reliable regarding emerging contaminants.

Framework for Organisational Decision-Making Process in Water Reuse for Smart Cities (SMART-WaterDomain)

  • Project Coordinator: Dr. Serrena Caucci, UNU-FLORES, Dresden, Germany
  • Partner:
    • Prof. Dr. Fukushi Kensuke, UNU-IAS, Japan
    • Dr. Wieslaw Fialkiewicz, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Poland
    • Dr. Ales Farda, Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
    • Prof. Dr. Tatiana Kluvankova, Slovak University of Technology, Slovakia
    • Dr. Nijole Kazlauskjene, Nature Research Centre of Lithuania, Lithuania

The re-use of wastewater (WW) on an agricultural and industrial scale offers a potential solution to address growing water stresses but the effective uptake is often hindered by complex factors ranging from technical capacity through public acceptance and lack of available data and monitoring tools to justify its implementation. To date, research has mainly focused on efforts to enhance WW treatment technologies across multiple re-use purposes rather than focusing on its diffusion into applications across wider society as part of a smart water management strategy. To this end, the project aims to provide a framework of organisational decision-making processes for companies and utilities to facilitate the uptake of water re-use practices in their operations. The project will test assumptions regarding technical feasibility, legal provisions, political assessments and sustainability benefits for the environment, economy and society. Project’s innovation is to serve as a technology and know-how bridge among the IT, the industry and the community addressing the gap between theoretical technical capabilities and actual application in socio-political and cultural environments. With pilot studies in multiple countries the project will engage in utility operational framework development with critical stakeholders across European countries and Japan to produce a digital decision support and monitoring tool that utilises real-time data and climate change projections. This tool will help to implement strategies that increase acceptance of water re-use practices for the local economy and society.

For questions, please contact the project teams directly.