Enter the WaterVerse: EU collaboration to unlock water data sharing

The WATERVERSE project, a new collaboration uniting 17 partners across 10 European countries, is helping to make data more interoperable to connect water stakeholders for improved decision-making. One of the ambitions is to develop a Water Data Management Ecosystem (WDME) and make data more accessible, affordable, secure, fair and easy to use. WATERVERSE is a three-year project and with demo cases in six countries, including Cyprus, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the UK.

Interoperability is key

One of WATERVERSE’s core aims is to ensure data interoperability. Historically, this has proven a challenge, with different stakeholders protecting multiple legacy systems, often fuelled by cybersecurity concerns. “We want to prepare data in a standardised and interoperable way where we can ensure it is ready to be used for certain advanced applications using artificial intelligence,” said Siddharth Seshan, Scientific Researcher at KWR Water Research Institute, one of the project partners. “We can enhance the decision-making for end-users. There are already many answers available in the data – we need to find a way to connect the dots already with links.” The project will identify, extend and integrate a broad set of data management tools to implement the WDME. The project will incorporate FIWARE, an open-source data exchange tool funded by the European Council (2011-2016). Its interoperable and standardised interfaces for water sector end-user and solutions providers were previously demonstrated within the Fiware4Water (2019-2022) project.

Creating a water data management ecosystem

The WDME will be an ecosystem at EU level. It will incorporate services and tools that can allow end-users to achieve requirements. The WDME will prepare the data, clean, process and standardise them, make them interoperable and anonymise them if needed. One case study, coordinated by KWR,  is a collaboration with Dutch utility PWN. To help better understand the water quality and quantity of the IJsselmeer, the utility’s primary water source, access to the correct data will help with future modelling. The ambition is to enable PWN to access and bring together data from multiple stakeholders, from the government to the climate agency. “This is one case that requires an advanced level of data management where we are trying to connect different silos,” added Seshan. “There needs to be some form of data exchange. How can we create horizontal connections across different systems? The WATERVERSE initiative aims to achieve connection across sectors and projects in a multidisciplinary way.” WATERVERSE is a three-year project, and the kick-off meeting was recently held in Thessaloniki, Greece, hosted by the project’s coordinator, CERTH (Centre for Research & Technology).