This €5.2 million project, funded by the Horizon Europe programme with the aim to develop a water data management ecosystem (WDME), is helping to make data more interoperable to connect water stakeholders for improved decision-making.
This three-year collaboration uniting 10 countries across the EU aims to make water sector data management practices and resources more accessible, affordable, secure, and fair.
WaterVerse connects 17 partners across 10 European countries, including research organisations, water service companies and technology providers. Its kick-off meeting was hosted by its coordinator, CERTH (Centre for Research and Technology) in Greece.
Interoperability is key
Historically, ensuring interoperability of data has proven to be 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 it is ready to be used for certain advanced applications using artificial intelligence (AI),” said Siddharth Seshan, scientific researcher at WaterVerse’s partner, KWR Water Research Institute.
“We can enhance the decision making for end-users. There is already a lot of 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 set of data management tools to implement the WDME. One open-source data exchange tool that will be used is FIWARE, which was funded by the European Council from 2011-2016. Its interfaces for water sector end-user and solutions providers were previously demonstrated within the Fiware4Water project from 2019-2022.
Creating a WDME
The WDME will be an EU-level ecosystem of services and tools that allow end-users to achieve requirements, whereby the data is prepared, clean, processed, standardised, interoperable and anonymised, if needed.
One case study being coordinated by KWR in the Netherlands is a collaboration with Dutch utility, PWN. To help better understand water quality and quantity of the IJsselmeer, the utility’s primary water source, access to the right data will help with future modelling. This aims to 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 this across sectors and projects, in a multidisciplinary way.”