50 million European citizens, 18% of the European population, live in countries affected by water stress problems; forecast variations in rainfall pattern trends, due to global climate change, add to this already serious situation: according to the EEA, 16 to 44 million additional people will suffer water scarcity in Southern Europe by 2070. The importance of the problem is recognised at the European level, as proven by the strong common European position at the recent Fifth World Water Forum (March 2009) and by the 2007 Communication of the European Commission, urging the Parliament and national governments to do more regarding water scarcity issues. Current water supply systems (water pipelines, desalination plants, tank vessels) require permanent infrastructures, high investment costs, high energy consumption, with maintenance issues that could not be easily addressed by small-medium communities and for temporary water supply.
REFRESH aims at realising an innovative green product/service for the transportation of fresh water by sea, by developing a cost effective and energy-efficient solution based on the use of a modular concept of recyclable flexible plastic barge towed by tugboats. The primary application will be in supplying fresh-water to Mediterranean coastal small cities and islands with less than 300.000 inhabitants (a situation which interests about 45 million of European citizens). 65% of these communities, that double in size during summer with tourist presences, are affected by increasing water scarcity due to several factors as climate change, growing urbanisation of coasts, tourism, sea water intrusion in aquifers. For these communities REFRESH will represent the most effective solution for fresh-water supply since traditional technologies as water pipelines, desalinisation plants and large water vessels are unpractical solutions under technical and economical points of view.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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