Smart Water Systems – Tools to build more resilient water infrastructures

Smart Water Systems – Tools to build more resilient water infrastructures
DeustoTech ( is a private non-profit institution of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Deusto for applied research in new technologies. Since 2005 DeustoTech mission is to support the ICT activity in business and society through research, the development of technologies, innovation and knowledge transfer. We focus our activity around TRLs 2-7 and articulate it into four applied fields: Industry, Mobility, Energy and Society, having a fifth, the Chair of Applied Mathematics, as a transversal activity and support for the previous four. We are characterized for working with data of heterogeneous nature, throughout its life cycle and in compliance with ethical principles and humanists who define the University of Deusto. The Host Research Unit counts with a consolidated team leading research in environmental sector, including water.
We are looking for a Science Bachelor or Engineer with interest on environmental issues. Experience on language programming (C++, Matlab, R, etc.) will be required. Master degree at Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, or similar would be valuable. We would also appreciate recognisable experience in research tasks (collaborations with scientific groups, participation in international conferences, publication of research articles, etc.).
  • Chemistry (CHE)
  • Information Sciences and Engineering (ENG)
  • Environmental Sciences and Geology (ENV)
  • Life Sciences (LIF)
  • Mathematics (MAT)
Water resources are getting stressed due to the concentration of people living in urban areas and the effects of climate change. On the top of that, water infrastructures are getting ineffective and operation and maintenance is demanding too much energy. This research proposes to develop new tools to assess the current water infrastructures, both along the water distribution network and integrated drainage system. These techniques allow, on the one hand, improving the operational and maintenance operations, facilitate the water reuse and facilitating the decision-making process. The program includes: • The development of novel and standard ontologies, together with the implementation of interoperability protocols is crucial to make compatible all the information featuring water systems and make it available to different actors. • Artificial intelligent techniques make possible the design of advanced maintenance methods, the implementation of prompt alarm systems, the on-line communication tools, etc. • Agent-based modelling makes possible to emulate the usage of water infrastructures under different scenarios, derived from behavioural patterns, economic activities, etc. • Quantitative Risk Analysis assesses water infrastructure performance under highly uncertain variables such as population movements, distribution of water uses, or the effects of climate change. The new tools will be validated on real case studies following EU recommendations for monitoring and reporting


1 – C. Martin and E. Ayesa (2010). An integrated Monte Carlo methodology for the calibration of water quality models. Ecological Modelling 221, pp. 2656-2667. Indexed in the WoS: I.F. (2010): 1.769. Q3 (ECOLOGY), ranked: 68/130 2 – C.M. Cardona, C. Martin, A. Salterain, A. Castro, D. San Martín and E. Ayesa (2011). CalHidra 3.0 – New software application for river water quality prediction based on RWQM1. Environmental Modelling and Software 26, pp. 973-979. Indexed in the WoS: I.F. (2011): 3.114. Q1 (COMPUTER SCIENCE, INTERDISCIPLINARY APPLICATIONS), ranked: 11/99 3 – A. Donoso-Bravo, J. Mailier, C. Martin, J. Rodríguez, C. Aceves-Lara and A. V. Wouwer (2011). Model selection, identification and validation in anaerobic digestion: A review. Water Research, 45, pp. 5347-5364. Indexed in the WoS: I.F. (2011): 4.865. Q1 (WATER RESOURCES), ranked: 1/78 4 – L. Benedetti, J. Langeveld, A. Comeau, L. Corominas, G. Daigger, C. Martin, P. S. Mikkelsen, L. Vezzaro, S. Weijers and P.A. Vanrolleghem (2013). Modelling and monitoring of integrated urban wastewater systems: Review on status and perspectives. Water Science and Technology, 68(6), pp. 1203-1215. Indexed in the WoS: I.F. (2013): 1.212. Q3 (WATER RESOURCES), ranked: 44/81 5 – C. Martin and P.A. Vanrolleghem (2014). Analysing, completing, and generating influent data for WWTP modelling: A critical review. Environmental Modelling & Software, 60, pp. 188-201. Indexed in the WoS: I.F. (2014): 4.420. Q1 (COMPUTER SCIENCE, INTERDISCIPLINARY APPLICATIONS), ranked: 4/102
1 – EfiNET: Integrated system for the efficient management of the smart water systems Hazitek 2016-2018. UDEUSTO has developed an integrated tool for modelling and simulation of smart water networks that facilitates leakage detection. 2 – EstolZAIN: Decision Support Tool for the optimal operation of integrated drainage system. UDEUSTO has developed an integrated software tool that facilitates the advanced maintenance of sewer systems and predicts urban flooding episodes 3 – H2020 – WASTE WASTE4THINK (Moving towards Life Cycle Thinking by Integrating Advanced Waste Management Systems) – GA 688995. UDEUSTO coordinates this project with the main objective of moving forward the current waste management practices into a circular economy motto, demonstrating the value of integrating and validating several eco-innovative solutions that cover all the waste value chain. 4 – SAVINGFOOD: Pilot activity against food wastage in Gipuzkoa. UDEUSTO designs the protocols for safe and secure edible food donation including cooked food in collaboration with main actors in the donation chain. 5 – TarifAQUA: Decision Support Tool for water tariff design in the region of Biscay (Basque Country). UDEUSTO develops a new software system that estimates water tariffs for municipalities in relation to the water network efficiency.


– water sector – circular economy – mathematical modelling – decision support tools – awareness raising
The candidate will work on a highly interdisciplinary group where all the previous knowledge will be worked on. The candidate will collaborate with researchers of different background (mathematicians, engineers, chemists, and social scientists) and be in touch with people from water industry as well as public utilities and administrations in order to achieve the objectives of the project.


The topic is a cross-sectional topic covered in calls of several H2020 programmes: Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials, Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies – Space, Food security, sustainable agriculture… and the bioeconomy programme. See for example: ● LC-CLA-15-2020: Understanding water-energy-food nexus and streamlining water related policies ● LC-CLA-13-2020: Climate resilience of coastal cities ● LC-SPACE-24-EO-2020: Copernicus evolution: Mission exploitation concept for WATER ● LC-SPACE-25-EO-2020: Big data technologies and Artificial Intelligence for Copernicus ● FNR-07-2020: FOOD 2030 – Empowering cities as agents of food system transformation Other European programs related to the proposal are: ● Bio-based Industries for Development and Growth in Europe according to SIRA Agenda ● PRIMA partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area ● LIFE Programme: Environment and Resource Efficiency Finally, there is a long list of water policies related to water: Water Framework Directive (1), Drinking Water Directive (2), Flood Risk Directive (3), as well as the Water Reuse Strategy (4) and EU Climate Action (5). 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)


The smart operation and efficient management of water resources is related with efficient use of resources, with the concept and circular economy (water reuse) as well as with important topics related to the economy of water and the development of new governance models where local clustering structures become relevant. In this line, we identify the following key stakeholders in Europe: ● Public Water Utilities (CABB, Aguas de Txingudi, Aguas de Gipuzkoa, etc.) ● Private Water Operators (FCC AQUALIA, INIMA WATER, etc.) ● Universities (UGent, NTUA, SUEZ, SACYR AGUA, etc.) ● Research Centres (TNO, VITO, DTU, etc.) ● Water Engineerings and Consultancy Firms (SEIPA, WELLNESS TELECOM, VirtualWare, DHI, ISLE UTILITIES, etc.) ● Policy makers (URA, Confederaciones Hidrográficas, Regional Governments) ● Networks, Clusters and International Organizations (AEAS, IWA, WssTP, etc.)


The results of the project will be directly incorporated in GeoWorldSim, the multi agent simulation platform developed by the hosting institution. The platform is currently used by different stakeholders (research institutions, SMEs and large enterprises and public authorities) in several projects that covers all stages of the research spectrum (from a pure research context to commercial environment). The results of this project will enlarge the portfolio of features that GeoWorldSim which will be disseminated as a whole or with respect to the different applied sectors. The results will be presented to relevant stakeholders completing all the water value chain. For example, the results will be presented to: – water utilities and operators (Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia, Aguas de Gipuzkoa, EMASESA, Canal de Isabel II, etc.) – water governance bodies (URA, Confederaciones Hidrográficas, etc.) – user associations (farmer unions, city councils, food industries, etc) – water related consultancy firms (FactorCO2, Isle Utilities, etc.) – water engineerings (DHI, AQUALIA, AKTOR TECHNICAL, etc.)


While the classic water and wastewater (ww) management relies on water utilities that centrally manage the entire water cycle, this research provides the tools and methods to enable the circular economy of water. The project proposes the development of several digital services that optimise the operational settings along ww infrastructures and provide a wide perspective of integral water cycle. The impact of the results will be assessed in terms of environmental health and overall positive performance. New markets, financial instruments and business models facilitated by strategic agendas of Europe will ease the uptaking of the results.


One of the University of Deusto key duties is to be fully aware of problems within the institution itself and the society we belong to. For this reason, the project will include specific steps to boost integration and real equality of opportunity for men and women with specific support needs. Timely specific action is required to enable them to enter higher education in equal conditions and ensure their full integration in the university community. DeustoTech, as one of its institutions, is included into this service of social action and inclusion. The main aims consist of achieving full normalisation, equal opportunities and gradually adopting the steps needed to ensure that the University of Deusto is an inclusive educational institution. Furthermore, the University of Deusto provides them with guidance and support on the transition to the labour market jointly with special job centres and companies at large.