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iWIDGET technology could help identify the source of leaks. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

European countries pool expertise to save water

Intelligent water monitoring systems could soon be in place across Europe thanks to iWIDGET, a €5 million European Commission project that will use cutting edge smart-metering technology to improve water use efficiency.

The project aims to improve understanding of the potential that smart-meters have to reduce waste and bring down the cost of water in households and businesses. 

The project which will run for three years is led by Professor Dragan Savić, Founder and Co-director of the Centre for Water Systems at the University of Exeter.

Professor Savić said: “As weather patterns become more extreme, we need to do all we can to make the best use of our water resources. Last year an environmental drought was declared across much of the UK and other European countries. Yet, at the same time, large amounts of water were lost both through leakage and, in some cases, excessive use.

The iWIDGET technology could help reduce the amount that water companies have to spend on identifying the source of leaks. We would hope that would have implications for customers’ bills. The water industry is moving towards installing meters in all homes. Smart meters could be very effective in encouraging people to use water more efficiently. The ability to see which appliances use the most water and how overall use compares to the neighbours is a great incentive to use water more carefully. It could help people save money and do their bit for water conservation.”

The iWIDGET project brings an integrated approach to water resources management. The project will contribute to delivering a sustainable, low-carbon society, helping progress towards the Europe 2020 targets on Climate and Energy. This approach will be developed by researching, developing, demonstrating and evaluating a fully integrated ICT-based system of techniques and technologies. Such a system will encourage and enable householders and water suppliers to understand and manage down their demand as well as minimise wastage in the supply chain.

iWIDGET stands for “Improved Water efficiency through ICT technologies for integrated supply-Demand side manaGEmenT”. The partnership assembled to deliver the iWIDGET project is a combination of key players in the field:

  • Leading ICT companies (IBM)
  • Business leaders (SAP)
  • Technology developers (UPL)
  • Standardisation organisations (HR Wallingford - OpenMI Association)
  • Water companies (AGS/Águas de Barcelos, Portugal; and Waterwise and Southern Water, UK)
  • Top scientists in water management and social sciences (University of Exeter, Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, I.P., Portugal and National Technical University of Athens)

Together the iWIDGET consortium brings a clear understanding of the market, the technological state-of–the-art hard and software, new research and development in data mining and management, analytics, decision support, scenario modelling, standards interfaces, visualisation, water conservation modelling and social simulation. The project will also obtain input from householders through two case studies and input from the broader water industry through its Advisory Panel.

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Date: 11 March 2013

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