CORDIS - EU research results

Climate-resilient management for safe disinfected and non-disinfected water supply systems

Project description

Adaptation of drinking-water supply systems under climate change conditions

The safe and affordable supply of drinking water in the EU under the pressure of climate change is a key priority. With rising water temperatures and increasing heavy rainfall events, higher amounts of organic substances and microorganisms will also be present in raw water. Well-established processes that have so far guaranteed high drinking water quality will have to be changed and adapted, in particular processes for disinfection and for removal of organic substances. The EU-funded SafeCREW project will develop new methods for monitoring, quality assessment, treatment and distribution of drinking water. Moreover, it will derive guidelines for drinking water management and integrated risk assessment for water suppliers and authorities. One focus will be the investigation of previously unknown disinfection by-products and the further characterisation of already known ones and their formation.


Safe and affordable supply of drinking water (DW) in the EU under the pressure of climate change is a key priority. Despite long-term experience with the reliable operation of disinfected and non-disinfected drinking water supply systems (DWSS), a number of challenges around microbial stability, the (future) need for disinfection and the consequences of disinfection by-products (DBPs) formation for human health remain open, directly deriving from climate change impacts such as increasing water temperature and higher levels of natural organic matter (NOM).
SafeCREW aims to support the novel EU DW Directive by generating advanced knowledge and developing tools and guidelines for disinfected and non-disinfected DWSS and addresses improved comprehensive water quality characterization, novel treatment solutions to actively respond to identified threats, and the management of distribution networks to avoid water quality deterioration up to consumers.
Novel data sets on the occurrence and concentration of so far unknown DBPs will be created, and commercial actors stimulated to further develop tools for DBP quantification and mitigation.
Transferable tools will be provided to end-users (water utilities, national/EU regulators, researchers, SMEs), including: (I) reliable methods to evaluate microbial stability, characterise NOM, detect DBPs and account for DBP human health toxicity, (II) protocols to select proper materials in contact with disinfected water, (III) monitoring and modelling tools, also exploiting machine learning, for real-time optimisation of DWSS management, and (IV) an integrated risk assessment framework to guide future interventions which ensure that both disinfected and non-disinfected DWSS can continue providing safe DW in the face of climate change.
SafeCREW will increase the preparedness of the EU water sector to challenges arising from climate change and will support the EU’s leading position in science-based policy making for DW consumer protection.


Net EU contribution
€ 790 000,00
53123 Bonn

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Nordrhein-Westfalen Köln Bonn, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 790 000,00

Participants (9)

Partners (1)