Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


FREEWAT Report Summary

Project ID: 642224
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FREEWAT (FREE and open source software tools for WATer resource management)

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

FREEWAT is an EU HORIZON 2020 project aiming at promoting water resource management by simplifying the application of the Water Framework Directive and other EU water related Directives by means of innovative GIS integrated open source and public domain ICT simulation tools (the FREEWAT platform).
The WFD required an increase in monitoring activities; this in turn led to the availability of time series that allow the implementation of efficient water management tools. At the same time, many water authorities still rely on professionals with limited capabilities on the use of new technologies dedicated to water management. Also, the value of using advanced technologies in water management is often diminished by the fact that stakeholders are not involved in the technical phase of the analysis.
The FREEWAT project aims at improving Water Resource Management by achieving the following specific objectives:
(i) to provide EU Governing Bodies, Authorities and Water Utilities and environmental companies with innovative, free and open source software tools having friendly usability;
(ii) to build knowledge and capacity in the use of scientific software technologies;
(iii) to support the FREEWAT application in an innovative participatory approach gathering technical staff and relevant stakeholders to develop appropriate water policies;
(iv) optimising the use of water resource monitoring data, for the solution of issues such as water availability and quality;
(v) building a web based community of users and developers and innovative companies that will exploit the FREEWAT platform;
The FREEWAT platform (v.0.3) is now a large plugin integrated into the QGIS GIS desktop and it is based on groundwater and solute transport numerical models (from the MODFLOW USGS family) as well as modules for:
- solute transport in the unsaturated and saturated zone;
- water management and planning;
- Observations Analysis Tools (OAT);
- calibration, uncertainty and sensitivity analysis;
- management of water in agriculture;
- tools for analysis of groundwater quality issues;
- tools for the analysis, interpretation and visualization of hydrogeological data.

The FREEWAT platform is now applied to 10 case studies within the EU, 3 case studies in Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine and to a large trans-boundary aquifer in Africa, addressing different issues related to WFD, GWD, other water related Directives and also rural water management.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"After the release of a preliminary Alpha version, a Beta v.1.0 version was released in January 2016. The first stable version (v.0.1) was released at end of July 2016; v.0.2 was at the end of September 2016 and v.0.3 in December 2016. This is now available for training and testing purposes also outside the project Consortium.

Building knowledge and capacity on using the FREEWAT, aiming at improving the professional and digital level of technical and managerial personnel involved in Water Resource Management issues is one of the main pillar of the project.
In an initial first preliminary round of training, trainees gained confidence on the preliminary version of the software instrument and provided the developers with feedbacks on functionalities. A total of 97 participants (from 55 Institutions and 20 countries both EU and non-EU) took part to the self-training activities; among them, 42% came from the research and academic world, while 58% from other institutions. A basic course was given at IAH 2015 in Rome on September 2015 (
From May 2016 to end of July 2016 one week training was then delivered at the premises of each case study partner by the FREEWAT Steering Group, with specific objectives of: 1) to demonstrate all the platform capabilities and its potential application to each case study, 2) to serve as testing phase, 3) to serve as the basis for building capacities at national level. The course included lectures on the different modules of the FREEWAT software platform and exercises. Participants provided several suggestions and feedbacks , incorporated in the release of FREEWAT v0.1.
A total of 99 persons (excluding MSc and undergraduate students) from 50 institutions and 17 different countries both EU and non-EU participated in the different Training of trainers courses; among them, 37% came from the research and academic world and the rest from other entities. The present version of the Training material is available on request

The application of the FREEWAT platform to case studies to solve selected issues for the implementation of the WFD, Groundwater Directive (GWD) and to rural water management issues will serve as test for demonstrating FREEWAT platform functionalities in the real world.

Securing the uptake of scientific/technical knowledge throughout the policy cycle is of utmost importance for FREEWAT to reach an impact. Deliverable D6.1 Evaluation grid for “needs/tools”presents a list of needs/priorities related to software for water management issues with the aim to gain exhaustive information from relevant stakeholders in the water sector in Europe and beyond.
Active participation of stakeholders in the use of FREEWAT and in the analysis of the water management scenarios is at the core of the FREEWAT project in order to: i) to demonstrate the benefits of applying the FREEWAT platform also to a non-technical audience; ii) to guarantee a more thorough FREEWAT distribution; iii) to help increase the numbers of FREEWAT users; iv) to ensure enhanced science- and participatory approach evidence-based decision making by using the results of the FREEWAT application.
Dissemination, Communication and Exploitation activities general objectives are that of raising awareness among stakeholders about the project aims and objectives and of ensuring maximal exploitation of project results.
Two large open workshops were held in cooperation with other EU co-financed projects and initiatives:
21st April 2015, Pisa (Italy) Advantages Of Using Numerical Modeling In Water Resources Management And Managed Aquifer Recharge Schemes
30th September 2016, Paris (France) Fostering inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work (SDG#8) through ICT job creation tools for ensuring water security (SDG#6)."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

FREEWAT is aiming at having an impact on digital Europe, on society and technology, by facilitating water resource management. This assumption is based on the following technology and innovation needs:
1. of ICT tools and technologies to boost the application of the WFD and water related Directives;
2. of creating coordination and synergies among ICT tools produced and establishing a common set up in their application;
3. of having free and open source tools, GIS integrated and capable to perform spatial and temporal analysis on water quantity and quality issues;
4. of ICT tools for the analysis of the conjunctive use of surface water and ground water, and more in general to evaluate the impact of climate change on water resource;
6. of effectively using data provided by the extensive monitoring required by the WFD;
7. of capacity building within the EU water sector;
8. of including participatory approach in order to step forward from solely technical approaches to deal with very complex water related issues;
9. of supporting adequately scientific research results in order to foster their real scale application and uptake by policy makers.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top