Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Sustainable and integrated urban water system management

Article Category

Article available in the following languages:

A comprehensive approach to improve urban water management

Changing climate conditions are set to pose major challenges to future water supply and quality, placing pressure on European urban water systems (UWSs). EU funding has supported a drive to help meet related manpower and innovation application needs.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

Cooperation among academia, industry, water authorities and policymakers will help break new ground in the technological innovation and policy formulation needed to address future UWS management challenges. The project SANITAS (Sustainable and integrated urban water system management) was established to support such cooperation and empower the next generation of UWS management professionals. Specifically, it targeted the development of new knowledge, tools and technologies to more effectively meet current and future challenges in UWS management. The research team tackled wastewater quality through the improved design of wastewater treatment systems and by providing policymakers with better information. The designs are more economical and energy efficient and reduce by-products (e.g. greenhouse gases, sulphide, methane and micropollutants) that are harmful to both the environment and city sewerage infrastructure. Training objectives focused on the technical and complementary skills that UWS management professionals require. The approach also helped scientists to connect their work to the policy realm through better communication of policy inputs based on research outcomes. SANITAS produced a comprehensive report, 'From science to policy', on the potential impact of its work on EU environmental policy. The 15 SANITAS research projects were devoted to topics such as energy costs, energy optimisation, system improvements for reduced emissions, modelling of new processes, and decision support tools for UWS designs and operations. Some research projects evaluated current and future policy frameworks or formulated new policy scenarios. SANITAS organised four training weeks in different European cities. A final project conference, titled 'Towards a sustainable and integrated urban water management in Europe and beyond: from science to policy', was held in Barcelona in September 2015. Project outcomes have also been presented in webinars and workshops, through newsletters and a series of technical reports, and at international conferences. The project's vision and targeted efforts are helping to create a critical mass of excellence, a group of dynamically skilled professionals who can drive innovation in water use management. Policy and technical innovations advanced during SANITAS will help to improve the quality of treated wastewater and also position Europe as a leader in related policy and water security concerns.


Water use management, urban water systems, SANITAS, wastewater

Discover other articles in the same domain of application