Water scarcity, excess water in cities and micro-pollutants in the water cycle are challenges for now and the future. In AquaNES, we test constructed Natural and Engineered Systems (cNES) to face these challenges, develop a monitoring programme and a Decision Support System (DSS) for both strategic and operational decisions regarding all design phases of constructing waste water treatment systems.

Goal of AquaNES

The AquaNES project will demonstrate combined natural-engineered treatment systems as sustainable adaptations to issues such as water scarcity, excess water in cities and micro-pollutants in the water cycle. The AquaNES project will catalyse innovations in water and wastewater treatment processes and management through improved combinations of natural and engineered components in practice, one of the major goals of KWR as a research institute. Among the demonstrated solutions are natural treatment processes such as bank filtration (BF), managed aquifer recharge (MAR) and constructed wetlands (CW) plus engineered pre- and post-treatment options. The project focuses on 13 demonstration sites in Europe, India and Israel covering a representative range of regional, climatic, and hydrogeological conditions in which different combined natural-engineered treatment systems (cNES) will be demonstrated through active collaboration of knowledge and technology providers, water utilities and end-users.

KWR in AquaNES

Within the project, KWR has a leading role on one of the MAR demonstration sites in the Netherlands (Waddinxveen) together with HydroBusiness. On this new location all rainwater which falls on roofs of the greenhouses, logistic distribution centre and business parc, is transported and stored in subsurface aquifers. When irrigation water is needed in the greenhouses, the stored freshwater is recovered from the aquifer. One of the challenges is to treat large volumes of water in a short time as occurring at high stormwater discharges. In the Aquanes project various high rate filtration units are tested. Results from the water quality monitoring programme of this and other test sites through the project, will feed into another work package in which KWR has a leading role. In this work package, a water quality assessment framework for cNES is developed. The goal is to develop and implement an innovative monitoring module to demonstrate the treatment efficiency of the several cNES demonstration sites.

Decision Support System (DSS) for cNES

The innovative monitoring module will be part of a larger Decision Support System (DSS), develop in AquaNES. This DSS will integrate existing and new methodologies, tools and knowledge into a fully-fledged and validated platform, providing a unified environment for supporting strategic and operational decisions in cNES. The AquaNES DSS will target the needs of different end-users (water utilities, water and regional authorities, enterprises, technology providers, water managers, system operators, environmental agencies, academic institution and citizens) and will provide support in all decision making stages (system selection and design, system assessment, system operation and monitoring, market penetration and system replication).

The project leading to this application has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689450.