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Copernicus Assisted Lake Water Quality Emergency Monitoring Service

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WQeMS (Copernicus Assisted Lake Water Quality Emergency Monitoring Service)

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2022-03-31

Water is the elixir of life on Planet Earth, being equally fundamental for humans and ecosystems. It nourishes our ecosystems, powers the industry, supports the food production and makes the life on Earth possible. A major global challenge is to sustain its drinking quality at sufficient quantities. To this end, the Sustainable Development Goal 6 set by the United Nations, stresses the need for access to clean water and sanitation for all people. At an EU level, the Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the most significant directive concerning the protection and management of water bodies accompanied by the Nitrates Directive and the Drinking Water Directive.
Among the water sources (standing, running, ground and sea water) that the industry uses to produce drinking water, the surface standing water (being a major contributor) offers a unique opportunity to showcase Copernicus monitoring services. WQeMS aims to provide an operational Water Quality Emergency Monitoring Service (WQeMS) to the water utilities industry in relation with the quality of the ‘water we drink’. Sentinel data (i.e. Sentinel -2 and Sentinel-1) will be exploited for quality monitoring at a finer spatial resolution level, following validated processes with in situ data. This is achieved through the Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS).
Activities focus on monitoring of lakes valorized by the water utilities for the delivery of drinking water. The energy and resources footprint along with the risk management of the water production process is related to the solid and dissolved materials that the pure water carries within. Purification, filtering and special treatments for chemicals and micro-pollutants, as well as the residues’ amounts are directly affected by the water quality.
Generated knowledge shall support existing decision support systems (DSSs). WQeMS will develop a prototype of a new candidate EMS Service Component, designed to exploit EO, non-EO, social media and crowdsourcing capabilities to generate new products for the EMS Portfolio.
- The legislative framework, international considerations and the European Framework Directives have been acknowledged, establishing the operational framework conditions.
- The ethics’ aspects have been integrated in the procedures of interactions, data acquisition and handling across the consortium and towards Third Parties.
- Stakeholders/users in the pilot areas have been identified, contacted, and have shared requirements, expectations, in-situ data, knowledge and experience.
- Entrusted Entities have been contacted as a result of the liaison activities and are being consulted, while the Advisory Board regular meetings acknowledged progress and revealed open issues.
- Target variable geospatial maps have been assessed as part of the feasibility study.
- Service products have been registered following the MoSCoW approach (Must - Should - Can - Won't have) for each use case and pilot area, and a progress monitoring strategy is established.
- The young researchers' community has established a number of additional research lines to follow beyond the current state of the art.
- The architecture of the platform was defined, specifying its functionalities, layers and components (i.e. backend, middleware, frontend). The development of the software components started leveraging the ONDA-DIAS cloud infrastructure.
- Meta-data characterization of the WQeMS service components covered earth-observation (EO) and non-EO semantics, while maintaining international norms of domain semantics.
- An alerting module is being developed as an app to fetch in situ sightings of any issue from social media or users' personnel in the field or even Third Parties, able to trigger initiation of the services.
- Regular communication of the initial activities and expectations has been undertaken through a dedicated website, projects' social media ports to the world, newsletters, and participation in numerous events.
- Competing services and competitors have been identified towards benchmarking. Copernicus, water utilities’, and water quality geospatial services market reports have been analysed.
- Business model canvas are outlined and some preliminary information about preferred service is collected.
- Background/foreground IPRs were reviewed and updated, innovation aspects are analysed, and individual/joined exploitation plans are further elucidated.
As water companies look to secure water production and cut costs, some of their processes are still at a very early stage of development. As an example, the management of changes in raw water quality at the plant intake is still based on empirical knowledge and is triggered by few local data (principally monitored at the plant intake). WQeMS main ambition is to provide frequent, wide-area-covering across the water body and accurate estimates for selected water quality variables. This has to be performed utilizing Copernicus products and services. In this context, activities move around I) the exploitation of the sources of information available, II) the workflows to be set in place, III) semantics and uncertainty across the production and services lines, and IV) the technological enablers for the realization of the WQeMS. Service components directly relate with climate risks (e.g. floods, droughts, leading to raw water availability and quality changes), and population exposure risk (e.g. health security, caused by fluctuation of the drinking water quality or living environment degradation).
WQeMS supports drinking water managing authorities and key production actors in the sector to comply, among others, with the EU Water Framework and Drinking Water Directives. Focusing on open surface reservoirs used for drinking water production, it provides frequent information about quality status of surface waters (in terms of chemical or floating material concentrations). The project envisages to further support EU policy implementation across existing DSSs, and actions to develop adapted Water Safety Plans (e.g. for the identification of risks). It will facilitate the information flow to the water authorities (end users), thanks to inclusion of co-design and co-creation procedures from the first day. By communicating exactly what is required and, in the way it is required makes possible to timely inform about an emergency across different devices or receptors. This enhances additionally social acceptance of and trust to common practices in water monitoring at the local, national, and EU levels.
Water utilities - involved in the project - already identify that WQeMS will tackle existing drawbacks in the operating system and provide them an advantage to exploit emerging market opportunities and establish a higher competitiveness in the field and global market. WQeMS will follow ex ante standardization procedures to allow for data and workflows interoperability with the Copernicus Services, while compiling outputs towards existing systems in the preferred formats and modes. This modular and adjustable way of development will allow easier adaptation by other water treatment facilities and managing authorities following the project lifetime.
Positioning of WQeMS towards EMS and the market
WQeMS banner
WQeMS flood event