Jury and public choose Comsima as winner of BTO Implementation Award

On Thursday, 11 February, the Comsima team was presented with the BTO 2020 Implementation Award from the digital hands of Annette Ottolini, Director of Evides Waterbedrijf and chair of the Joint Research Programme’s Coordinating Consultation Committee. The presentation marked the festive closure of the successful (virtual) BTO Festival Week 2021. This biennial prize rewards the successful collaboration between professionals from the water utilities/Vewin and KWR researchers, which result in the knowledge being applied in practice. Both the jury prize and the public prize, which was awarded for the first time this year, went to Comsima, a model for calculating stresses in water mains. Drinking water utilities can use this model as physical underpinning in their decisions on pipe replacement.

On this, the third occasion the biennial BTO Implementation Award has been presented, a public prize was also awarded for the first time. The Implementation Award spotlights projects that embody two important features of the Joint Research Programme of KWR and the water utilities (‘BTO’ in its Dutch acronym): co-makership, the collaboration between drinking water utilities and KWR, and the application of the research results in water practice. The jury consisted of Gerlof Steen of PWN, Louise Vanysacker of De Watergroep, Ruud Bartholomeus and Milou Dingemans, both CSOs of KWR, and Anne Mathilde Hummelen, manager of the Joint Research Programme. Both the jury as well as the public participating in the BTO Festival Week 2021 awarded Comsima the top prize.



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BTO Implementatieprijs nominatie Comsima


The jury assessed the five submitted nominations along the following criteria:

  • the number of drinking water utilities that have applied the knowledge;
  • the relevance to the drinking water utilities;
  • the collaboration between the researcher(s) and the water professional(s); and
  • the added value for society and the societal interest in the project.

In addition, bonus points were awarded for international interest and dissemination of the project results. All of the submissions were of high quality and the final scores were very close. The public of the BTO Festival Week 2021 could vote on the top-3 highest scoring projects selected by the jury: Comsima, EDWARD and Brainport Smart District

Winner: Comsima

The initial version of Comsima, a model which calculates stresses in water mains, was developed in 2012. Drinking water utilities can use this model as physical underpinning when deciding on which pipes need to be replaced, and when. Over the last few years within the Joint Research Programme, Comsima has been further developed and applied in several cases at drinking water utilities (including Oasen). In 2017, Comsima was applied and validated for the first time with failure data for an entire pipe network of a drinking water utility (PWN). As a spin-off from this project, in 2019 a partnership was created between KWR (developer), Spatial Insight (executing party) and eight drinking water utilities (client). The Comsima team consisted of Arnoud Drevijn and Jurjen den Besten (Spatial Insight), Peter Horst (PWN), Roel Diemel (Brabant Water), Bas Bouwman (Oasen) and Bas Wols, Karel van Laarhoven and Andreas Moerman (KWR).


The jury designated Comsima as the winner because the model is highly relevant for the drinking water utilities, several of which already apply the results in their practice.  Furthermore, no less than eight water utilities took part in the project. The jury particularly commended the team’s persistence over the course of the lengthy preliminary phase, which eventually even led to a spin-off at a commercial player. The winning team received two challenge trophies, one for the drinking water utilities and one for KWR. Take a look at the short film about Comsima. .

Top-3 nomination: Brainport Smart District

In Helmond the development is underway of the Brandevoort district, which should become the smartest and most sustainable district in the world. To this end, within the Brainport Smart District, separate design teams for different aspects of the district worked together, transcending existing sectoral boundaries. Water organisations, the municipality, the province and KWR jointly designed an innovative water system, with targets and indicators for the water ambitions, as well as scenarios showing how the targets can be realised, and a menu of techniques that can be used for this purpose. KWR shaped the process, provided the relevant knowledge and conducted on-demand research. All the parties involved worked together as equal partners in the design teams, and contributed their own knowledge and experience to the development of the circular and climate-adaptive water system district with water. The Brainport Smart District team consisted of Frank Verwijmeren (BW), Ruud van Nieuwenhuijze (BW), Maarten Nederlof (Aa en Maas Water Authority), Maarten de Haan, Isabelle de Bok (Helmond municipality), Dirk van Helvoirt (Aa en Maas Water Authority), Thijs Nooijen (BSD), and Henk-Jan van Alphen, Andrew Segrave, Dimitrios Bouziota and Bram Hillebrand (KWR).  Take a look at the short film about Brainport Smart District.

Top-3 nomination: EDWARD

Within the framework of the Joint Research Programme, KWR developed an algorithm for the forecast of water demand: EDWARD. The goal of the nominated project was to make EDWARD operational at Oasen, so as to automatically update the model forecasts annually on the basis of the latest measurements. EDWARD uses different climate and holiday-staggering scenarios to calculate the future ‘peak factor’. With this peak factor one can determine the necessary capacity of abstraction licences, treatment processes and transport mains. It is, in short, a figure of great consequence. Thanks to the operational model, Oasen always disposes of an up-to-date estimate of the peak factor, based on current KNMI climate scenarios and daily production figures from its supply area. Oasen can use this to underpin its strategic investment plans in its water distribution infrastructure. The team that worked on making EDWARD operational consisted of Bas Bouwman, Jurjen den Besten and Brian Buitelaar (Oasen), and Bram Hillebrand, Gijsbert Cirkel, Mirjam Blokker, Peter van Thienen and Erwin Vonk (KWR). Take a look at the short film about EDWARD.