KWR takes Vienna, overview from a first time at EGU

This year KWR joined the EGU conference with a full team covering a variety of topics (see table below for an overview of our contributions). Most of our colleagues, including myself, had an early wake-up call on Sunday morning to catch the train to Vienna. This train proved to be a true scientist pilgrimage, starting with the first poster spotted by Mollie and myself at 6 am at Delft Station. From there on, scientists kept hopping on the train. The KWR colleagues in the train were spread across the cars in a sort of divide-and-conquer approach. The 12h journey gave everyone time to prepare sessions and presentations, tackle email boxes, and have very technical discussions. After a quick dinner close to the station, we all went to our hotels for a good night’s rest.

The first day started with a dark grey sky and with our amazement at the size of the venue and the number of interesting sessions (with some of us feeling very stressed in having to make choices on which sessions to attend…). Again we opted for a divide-and-conquer approach. Joost and I ended up together at a session on “Bringing together climate scientists, impact modellers, and economists to build knowledge to effectively deal with climate change” for an out-of-the-box experience. Since this is not my area of expertise, it would be easy to be flabbergasted. And this was exactly what happened right during the day’s first (and by far the best) presentation. This was a talk from Ashish Sharma (UNSW Sydney) entitled “Can annual streamflow volumes be characterized by flood events alone” (Abstract EGU23-10210 ( The simplicity and elegance of the proposed approach inspired me. In short, I’ve learned that while different climate scenarios lead to very different predictions on the average precipitation (and thus a lot of uncertainty), they agree very well on the extreme precipitation values. This means that predictions on the annual maximum flows are quite robust. The authors, therefore, chose to predict extremes of precipitation and link that to extreme event flows, and this ultimately to the total annual river flow for water supply. I’m curious to dive into this and see if and how we can use the same philosophy to predict extremes in future water demand, an input we need for the design of future-proof water distribution networks.

Later in the morning, Amin gave a presentation on “Error-Uncertainty Trade-off Judgment for Ensemble Member Selection of Regional Climate Models and Climate Change Impacts Modelling”. And in the afternoon, Xin got several questions on his poster “Classifying polymers with mid-IR spectra and machine learning: From monitoring to detection”.

On Wednesday, I convened a session on “Water Resources Policy and Management: digital water and interconnected urban infrastructure” (Session HS5.12 (, together with David Steffelbauer (KWB), Riccardo Taormina (TU Delft), Andrea Cominola (TU Berlin) and Nadia Lund (Envidan). Bias aside, this was a very interesting session, addressing a variety (but at the same time a niche) of topics. It started with a keynote on scientific machine learning for speeding up distributed simulations by Roland Löwe (DTU). This was followed by presentations addressing stakeholder engagement, understanding water demand drivers, leakage detection, and heavy on the topics related to hydraulic modelling. Temperature modelling, numerical optimization, testbeds and gamification were addressed on the latter. The poster session in the afternoon was also very inspiring and I was impressed with the quality of the presented work and the dynamic and interactive vibe of the session. Topics ranged from data management ecosystems for decision-making, probabilistic hydraulic simulations, and short and long-term water demand forecasts and optimization (design and location problems for water distribution networks, optimizing chlorination in emergency water supplies and water reuse and service allocation).

Poster presentations.

We ended one of the days with a KWR dinner at a nice restaurant in the city centre, where we had to fight the huge Austrian portion sizes. Conversations flowed naturally from topic to topic, but at some point, touched on “and why do you work at KWR?”. And this, again (recalling IWA Copenhagen here for a moment), proved that attending a conference with your colleagues is much more than the presentations and the networking, but also the realization of how inspiring it is to work with this bunch of intelligent, fun and passionate people.

I’ll keep this post relatively short; for more technical and reflective overviews of EGU, I refer to the posts of our colleagues Karel van Laarhoven, Peter van Thienen and Janine de Wit.

Overview of our contribution at EGU23 (presenting colleagues in bold)

Exploring the Value of Natural Language Processing for Urban Water Research

Ina Vertommen, Xin Tian, Tessa Pronk, Siddharth Seshan, Sotirios Paraskevopoulos, and Bas Wols

Classifying polymers with mid-IR spectra and machine learning: From monitoring to detection

Xin Tian, Patrick Bäuerlein, and Frederic Beén

Water resources policy and management: digital water and interconnected urban infrastructure

Convener: David Steffelbauer, Ina Vertommen, Nadia Kirstein, Riccardo Taormina

First practical applications of low-data, low-assumptions background leakage determination using mCFPD

Peter van Thienen, Lydia Tsiami, and Peter Schaap

VlinderNET – a tool for Probabilistic Hydraulic Water Distribution Modelling and Visualization

Mark Morley, Peter van Thienen, Ina Vertommen, and Mollie Torello

Drinking water temperature model for urban environments validated with measurements from real-life distribution networks

Joost van Summeren, Andreas Moerman, Mirjam Blokker, and Pan Quan

Optimizing a water distribution network design on water age. Comparison between implicit and explicit approaches

Djordje Mitrovic, Karel van Laarhoven, and Bram Hillebrand

Numerical optimization of drinking water distribution network design: ideas and questions provided by practice

Karel van Laarhoven, Bram Hillebrand, Djordje Mitrovic, and Ina Vertommen

Piloting a Water Data Management Ecosystem to Enable an Efficient and Resilient Decision Support System for the IJsselmeer

Siddharth Seshan, Dave Ebbelaar, Joris Ebbelaar, Eric de Vos, Mollie Torello, Koen Zuurbier, and Lydia Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia

Stakeholder Engagement Risks and Opportunities to pilot a Water Data Management Ecosystem

Mollie Torello, Siddharth Seshan, Lydia Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, and Suze van der Meulen

Burst detection in water distribution systems with LSTM

Konstantinos Glynis, Zoran Kapelan, Martijn Bakker, and Riccardo Taormina

Water Distribution Network performance and device placement location schemes assessment under multiple hydraulic transient generative scenarios

Panagiotis Dimas, Dionysios Nikolopoulos, Nikos Pelekanos, Dimitrios Bouziotas, and Christos Makropoulos

A probabilistic framework to assess resilience in regional water systems – exploring the impact of circular water strategies

Dimitrios Bouziotas, Dionysios Nikolopoulos, Panagiotis Dimas, Jos Frijns, and Christos Makropoulos

Hydrological consequences of controlled drainage with subirrigation

J.A. (Janine) de Wit, M.H.J. (Marjolein) van Huijgevoort, J.C. (Jos) van Dam, G.A.P.H. (Gé) van den Eertwegh, D. (Dion) van Deijl, and R.P. (Ruud) Bartholomeus

Monitoring of drought in the Netherlands in an online portal

Marjolein van Huijgevoort, Esther Brakkee, Gé van den Eertwegh, Erwin Vonk, Dion van Deijl, and Ruud Bartholomeus

Water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus governance: methodological aspects of the assessement of supportive and restrictive contexts

Isabelle La Jeunesse, Caro E. Mooren, Stefania Munaretto, Frank Hüesker, Claudia Cirelli, Ingrid Canovas, Eva Sievers, and Kaoutar Mounir

Circular approach for industrial water management via water balance and LCA: A poultry slaughterhouse case study

Chuan Jiet Teo, Thomas Wintgens, and Johann Poinapen

Error-Uncertainty Trade-off Judgment for Ensemble Member Selection of Regional Climate Models and Climate Change Impacts Modelling

Amin Minaei, Wazita Scott, Robert Sitzenfrei, and Enrico Creaco

From Correlation to Causation: Discovering the Drivers of Urban Water Demands in the Contiguous United States

Wenjin Hao, Andrea Cominola, and Andrea Castelletti

Data Scarcity in Critical Infrastructure Network Modelling: Impacts on Model Performances and Mitigation Strategies

Roman Schotten, Evelyn Mühlhofer, and Georgios Alexandros Chatzistefanou