Digital Water City: Leading Urban Water Management to its Digital Future (DWC)

Leveraging the Potential of Data and Digital Technologies for Urban Water Management

European cities face major challenges to achieve the desired level of sustainability in the management of urban water systems. Digital technologies such as mobile devices, real-time sensors, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cloud solutions have the potential to improve the management of water infrastructures significantly. In addition, they can improve the quality of services provided to citizens as well as the level of awareness and collaboration between utilities, authorities and citizens.

DWC’s main goal is to boost the integrated management of waters systems in five major European cities – Berlin, Milan, Copenhagen, Paris and Sofia – by leveraging the potential of data and smart digital technologies.

Under the leadership of Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin gGmbH (KWB), 24 partners from 10 European countries will develop and demonstrate the benefits of a panel of innovative digital solutions to address major water-related challenges. These include the protection of human health, the performance and return on investment of water infrastructures and the public involvement in urban water management. Areas of application of DWC digital solutions range from groundwater management, sewer maintenance and operation, wastewater treatment and reuse to urban bathing water management.

The solutions are developed in close collaboration between municipalities, utilities, research institutes and innovation players from both digital and physical spheres. DWC integrates the development of digital solutions in a dedicated guiding protocol to cover the existing gaps regarding governance, interoperability and cybersecurity.

In Berlin, several innovations will reduce the environmental impacts of the sewer network focusing on illicit connections, combined sewer overflows and optimize the maintenance and planning of water wells . An Augmented Reality application visualize the groundwater flows for the public and highlight the relevance of drinking water resource as hidden part of the water cycle.

In Paris, DWC aims at improving the bathing water quality in the river Seine for the Olympic games of 2024 using innovative sensors for bacterial measurements in the river and machine learning to forecast the contamination risk at the official bathing places.

In Sofia, the main objective is to improve the management of the sewer network and reduce operational costs using a smart sewer cleaning technology.

In Copenhagen, the aim is to reduce environmental impacts and flooding through forecasting, real-time control of sewer network and wastewater treatment plant.

The main focus in Milan is the achievement of  safe waste water reuse and efficient distribution for agricultural irrigation

The large scale assessment and communication of the benefits provided by the digital solutions in the five cities will serve as lighthouse, raising the awareness of other European cities and opening new market opportunities for European technology providers.


Selected publications produced in the DWC project are available here.


Berlin: Improve infrastructure performance and reduce environmental impacts

  • Machine learning algorithms for the proactive maintenance of drinking water wells
  • Advanced monitoring technologies to track illicit sewer connections within the stormwater network
  • Augmented Reality for the visualisation of groundwater flows and communication with the public

Paris: Improve bathing water quality for the 2024 Olympic Games

  • Real-time sensors to identify microbial loads in the river
  • Machine learning algorithms to forecast the contamination risk at the official bathing places
  • Bathing water quality app to communicate with the public

Milan: Achieve safe water reuse for agricultural irrigation

  • Automated quality control featuring multi-parameter sensors and a GIS matchmaking platform for safe irrigation from water reuse
  • Drone application to increase irrigation efficiency
  • Visualisation of the water-energy-CO2-nexus by means of a Serious Game

Copenhagen: Enhance flooding protection and pollution control

  • Advanced sewer flow forecast based on sensors and numerical weather model
  • Real-time control of sewer networks and treatment plants for stormwater management
  • Web visualization platform for data interoperability and decision making in the Copenhagen urban area

Sofia: Optimise operational costs and investments in sewers

  • Network of low cost temperature sensors for real-time measurement of sewer overflows
  • Smart sewer cleaning technology with camera to reduce operational costs


Project partners


Press and Media

  • Wasser ist ein wertvolles Gut – nicht nur in Berlin. Mit smarten Methoden soll nun die Gewässerqualität verbessert werden.
  • Verbundprojekt entwickelt digitale Tools für besseres Wassermanagement

    Digitale Technologien können das Wassermanagement vereinfachen. Im Rahmen des Verbund- Vorhabens Digital-Water. City (DWC) soll nun erforscht werden, welche digitalen Tools möglich sind und wie diese funktionieren. Das teilte das Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (KWB), das gleichzeitig Initiator und Koordinator des Projekts ist, Ende vergangener Woche mit.
  • Wird Wasser jetzt digital?

    Einladung zu Pressegespräch am 5. September 2019 im CityLAB Berlin
  • Die Digitalisierung der Wasserver- und –entsortung bietet viele Chancen. Ein Interview mit Edith Roßbach, Geschäftsführerin am Kompetenzzentzrum Wasser Berlin.
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