In the Horizon 2020 project B-WaterSmart funded by the European Commission, KWR collaborates with 36 partners (research institutes, water utilities, technology provides, SME) to accelerate the transformation to a water-smart economy and society in European coastal regions, building on the vision of Water Europe. The project focuses on systemic innovation (from city to regional scale) in six living labs in Alicante (Spain), Bodø (Norway), Flanders (Belgium), Lisbon (Portugal), East Frisia (Germany) and Venice (Italy). These cases are complementary on scale, type of water use, sectors and water-related challenges.

The regional projects result in technologies for water reuse and resource recovery, and smart data applications for both efficient and safe water allocation and use of resources (water, energy, nutrients). The outcome is a water smartness framework that assesses how the cases contribute to a water-smart economy and society that manages all available water resources so to avoid water scarcity and pollution, increase resilience to climate change, appropriately manage water-related risks, and recover all valuable substances.

Integration of data leads to ICT solutions

KWR leads the work package on the development of water-smart application and data. The result is a series of applications and tools are demonstrated in each regional case study. Two ICT solution toolkits integrate the data for

  1. monitoring, negotiation and decision support, and
  2. water cycle modelling and assessment solutions.

Together these toolkits provide a holistic overview of water smartness at the water cycle scale, building on the results of the individual cases. The project also delivers a water-smartness assessment dashboard tested in the living labs. The tools aim to be interoperable and transferable. Furthermore, the project builds on FIWARE technology to enable interoperability and exchange across sectors, which is critical for systemic change.

Living Lab Flanders: from a linear to a circular water system

In collaboration with De Watergroep, Aquafin, Stad Mechelen, Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt, en Vito, KWR collaborates in the Living Lab Flanders.

Flanders faces water challenges due to a combination of high drinking water demand due to the dense population, high irrigation water demand for agriculture, groundwater overexploitation, water quality deterioration, and water scarcity due to droughts and climate change. Transforming the regional water system from linear to fully circular by integrating the urban and natural water cycles, is critical for securing a freshwater supply for all sectors. Especially after the droughts of the last several years (e.g. 2017-2020), there is strong interest to explore alternative water sources and work towards a more robust, water-smart system.

Infographic waterstromen

Water reuse infographic

IB-WaterSmart assesses the regional water system and its potential for water-smart solutions. These include closing water cycles, increasing resilience and integrating the existing natural water system as a nature-based solution while ensuring safe reuse close water cycles.. At a local scale, technical demonstrations are developed based on alternative sources and effluent reuse for drinking water, and storm water management and reuse for irrigation. The experiences from the demonstration sites are used to identify the potential for the valorisation of the applied technologies at a larger scale at those locations, as well as at other locations. The assessment of the regional water system for Mechelen and De Watergroep will enable systemic innovation in the region and form the basis of a roadmap for a smart water management in Flanders in 2040.


B-watersmart is a H2020-project involving 36 parties

B-WaterSmart is a four-year Horizon2020 project in the framework of the EU-programme “Water in the Context of the Circular Economy’. In this project 36 parties consisting of water utilities, industry, SME, technology platforms, local and regional governments and research institutes collaborate. The project builds on a broad portfolio of previous research and innovations s and European networks. The project is a collaboration of the ARC partner.

BTO-partner De Watergroep participates as problem owner with regards to drinking water for the case and living lab Flanders. The goals of B-WaterSmart are closely linked with ULTIMATE and WaterMining in which KWR also participates. The H2020 projects contribute to goals on creating a circular economy in Europe.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 869171 -B-Watersmart.