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Knowledge category: Projects

Accelerating Water Smartness in Coastal Europe

Updated on 13.04.2023

The B-WaterSmart project aims to speed up the transition to water-smart economies and societies in coastal Europe and beyond, avoid water scarcity and pollution, and increase resilience to climate change. B-WaterSmart will adopt innovative business models, frameworks, technologies, and tailored solutions for efficient water reuse, nutrient recovery, and resource allocation.

Acronym: B-WaterSmart
Countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain
Project website:
Start and end date: 01.09.2020 - 31.08.2024
Budget: 17 432 120 EUR
Funding source: Horizon 2020

More information

To achieve this transition to a water-smart economy and society, B-WaterSmart will adopt a large-scale systemic innovation approach to select, connect and demonstrate tailored solutions for multiple users and sectors. It will further create new business models based on circular economy and water-smartness. The project will deliver a new framework for evaluating gains in water-smartness and sustainability at different scales. It will also demonstrate a range of promising technologies for water reuse and nutrient recovery as well as smart data applications for more efficient resource allocation and use. The project will apply a large-scale systemic innovation approach to select, connect and demonstrate a tailored suite of technology, management and smart data solutions for multiple users and sectors, and create new business models based on circular economy and water-smartness.

B-WaterSmart brings together six cities and regions as living labs with high ambitions to address water-related challenges and opportunities. The coastal areas involved are: Alicante, Spain; Bodø, Norway; and Venice, Italy. The districts are Bodø, Norway; and Lisbon, Portugal. The industrial zones are East Frisia, Germany; and Flanders, Belgium. These cities and regions were selected for their complementarity of scale, users, sectors and challenges, and for the opportunities of mutual learning, replication and upscaling through a network of followers that are already mobilised. We built each case around the actual problem-owner (for example water utility and municipality), a research partner, innovative solution providers and market-uptake partners (six of which are SMEs), complemented by partners with specific crosscutting expertise (social sciences & humanities, IT, business development, water sector outreach).
The project will apply a participatory approach for the co-creation and implementation of solutions through local Communities of Practice and a joint innovation alliance of problem owners. It will develop recommendations for suitable governance models, regulation and policy instruments. Furthermore, the project will also deliver a novel framework to assess gains in water-smartness and sustainability at different scales.

For the apps, B-WaterSmart builds on FIWARE technology to enable interoperability and exchange across sectors, which is key for systemic change. All cases have defined criteria and target values to achieve by the project end by 2040 and can build on synergies with other funds.

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

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 in scale, type of water use, sectors, and water-related challenges. The regional projects result in a range of promising technologies for water reuse and resource/nutrient recovery, and smart data applications for both efficient and safe water allocation and use of resources (water, energy, nutrients) in real systems, at multiple scales. 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.

Horizon programme(s) and/or topic(s)


  • H2020-EU.3.5.: SOCIETAL CHALLENGES - Climate action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials (Main programme)
  • H2020-EU.3.5.4.: Enabling the transition towards a green economy and society through eco-innovation
  • H2020-EU. Developing integrated approaches to address water-related challenges and the transition to sustainable management and use of water resources and services


  • CE-SC5-04-2019: Building a water-smart economy and society


€ 17 432 120 (EU contribution: € 14 975 184.15)

Responsible organisation and contact details

IWW Rheinisch-Westfalisches Institut Fur Wasser Beratungs-Und Entwicklungsgesellschaft MBH
Contact the project:

Project consortium partners

  • Water Europe
  • Oldenburgisch-Ostfriesischer Wasserverband
  • DMK Deutsches Milchkontor GMBH
  • Envirochemie Gmbh
  • Laboratorio Nacional de Engenharia Civil
  • Camara Municipal de Lisboa
  • Aguas Do Tejo Atlantico SA
  • Adene - Agencia Para A Energia
  • BF Software LDA
  • Instituto De Ciencias Sociais
  • Cetaqua
  • Centro Tecnologico Del Agua
  • Fundacion Privada
  • Aguas Municipalizadas De Alicante
  • Empresa Mixta
  • Fundacio Eurecat
  • Universidad Nacional De Educacion A Distancia
  • Turbulent, KWR Water BV
  • Vlaamse Maatschappij Voor Watervoorziening
  • Vlaamse Instelling Voor Technologisch Onderzoek N.V.
  • Proefstation Voor De Groenteteelt
  • Aquafin NV
  • Stad Mechelen
  • Veneziana Energia Risorse Idriche Territorio Ambiente Servizi - Veritas Spa
  • Engineering - Ingegneria Informatica SPA
  • Energia Territorio Risorse Ambientali - Etra Spa
  • Hydrotech Engineering SRL
  • Depuracque Servizi SRL
  • Sintef AS
  • Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet NTNU
  • Bodo Kommune
  • Nordkontakt AS
  • Techni AS
  • Kruger Kaldnes AS
  • Institute Of Communication And Computer Systems
  • Adelphi Research Gemeinnutzige GMBH
  • IWW Rheinisch Westfalisches Institut Fur Wasserforschung Gemeinnutzige GMBH

CEAP2 key product value chain

digital tools facilitating CE transition

Territories involved

large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000

predominantly urban regions, intermediate and predominantly rural regions, refer to TERCET typology NUTS 3 region

Intra-territorial areas

e.g. commercial, residential, service, industrial