Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


INTCATCH Report Summary

Project ID: 689341
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INTCATCH (Development and application of Novel, Integrated Tools for monitoring and managing Catchments)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2017-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Water is the fundamental element to the health and wellbeing of the human population and the environment. Under present legislation, both in the EU and beyond, most countries monitor water quality to protect the environment and, ultimately, human health and wellbeing. It is, however, difficult to be sure we are getting the right monitoring information and doing so under existing approaches requires analysis of large numbers of samples for many chemicals. In Europe, more than one billion euros a year are spent on testing water quality and still many water bodies are not meeting the highest standards, which may be acting as a barrier to sustainable growth and improving quality of life. It is this disparity between the expense of assessing water quality, and failure to reach the highest quality in our rivers and lakes, that INTCATCH is addressing.

INTCATCH will deliver innovation in water quality monitoring to take on many of the challenges faced in improving water quality in our rivers and lakes. INTCATCH aims to bring together, validate and exploit a range of innovative monitoring tools for river and lake water quality into a single efficient and replicable business model that is fit for European waters in the period 2020-2050. INTCATCH will do this by developing efficient, user-friendly water monitoring strategies and systems based on innovative technologies that will be able to provide real time data for important conventional and non-conventional parameters. This will introduce a novel, cost effective and feasible approach to manage the pollution pressures that remain as the improvements to the environment progress in the future, moving the water and environment sectors towards SMART Rivers. In SMART environments, water quality will be monitored in real time, identifying and evaluating inputs, and treating runoff with innovative technologies that minimizes the pollution load discharged to rivers and lakes. The approach will focus on engaging stakeholders, communities and citizens in assessing the quality of their local water bodies. This is important for society because increasing pressure on financial resources are putting pressure on regulators, and a SMART environment, with real time data available to local people will enable more effective control over water quality.

The aim of INTCATCH is to use innovative monitoring tools to increase the involvement of stakeholders, and use citizen science, to help improve water quality in Europe over the period 2020 to 2050. The approach used in INTCATCH aims to make a breakthrough in enabling wider society to lead their environmental monitoring and move more towards local environmental justice. The specific objectives of the project are related to affordable technologies, products and tools that will be developed and demonstrated, validated and marketed, with the aim to deliver a reduction in the carbon footprint and the energy demand by associated with water quality monitoring resulting in overall cost savings compared with conventional monitoring approach.

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

The work carried out during the reporting period has laid foundations for the validation and demonstration activities to be undertaken in the later parts of the project.

The scientific deliverables that this reporting period covers are outlined in Table 1. The two deliverables from WP2 (Innovative approach towards water quality monitoring) have focussed on identifying what it is that INTCATCH should be monitoring in terms of important water quality indicators and catchment characteristics. As INTCATCH aims to increase the involvement of stakeholders, and use citizen science, to help achieve good status of water bodies in Europe, D2.2 has assessed how stakeholders engage with the environment and how the INTCATCH tools and approach can make best value of this.

Table 1. Overview of the five scientific deliverables which have fallen within the reporting period between months 1 and 18, with the link to specific objectives described in Section 1.2

Work Package Deliverable Title Month Link to Objective

WP2 D2.1 Report on current monitoring strategies and tools 9 1, 8
WP2 D2.2 Report on the social dimension 12 1
WP3 D3.1 Set-up of integrated platforms 14 1
WP7 D7.3 Connection to DSS 12 2, 5
WP9 D9.1 Indicators and life cycle inventories 12 9

In parallel and in collaboration with the WP2 team, WP3 (Innovative sensors and technologies, their integration and validation) focussed on the tools that will be used in the future activities of INTCATCH during work in Italy and the UK, and then in Greece and Spain. In that context, D3.1 has assessed the sensors and other approaches that are available to the INTCATCH project to meet the requirements for monitoring set out in D2.1, with some consideration for the social aspects (D2.2).
The two other deliverables are from WP7 (Data management system and visualization techniques) and WP9 (Environmental and economic sustainability). The deliverable D7.1 is technical, and describes the interface between two software components used by INTCATCH, the Water Information System (WAIS) and the Decision Support System (DSS). Developing the methodology for selection of indicators for the Life Cycle analyses was the focus of deliverable D9.1, which has involved close cooperation with WP2 and WP3.

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)

The INTCATCH project is about innovation and demonstration, in relation to water management at both the local and catchment scale. A range of tools are being developed as part of the project, which include a decision support system, data collection, storage , retrieval and visualisation tools, along with water quality monitoring systems. Approaches to monitoring will demonstrate robotic and autonomous boats, a mobile genomics laboratory and sensors for metals and pesticides. The project has also installed a state of the art treatment system, with activated carbon and UV-light, on a combined sewer discharge outlet (Figure 1).

The progress beyond state of the art is in integrating these tools within a framework of engaging stakeholders, including citizen scientists and enabling them to become involved in water quality monitoring. The mobile app, developed for engagement of citizens, is shown in Figure 2. The toolkit, with the decision support system, will focus on developing effective monitoring strategies and where appropriate, interventions to improve water quality.

It is expected that validation activities on urban rivers in London, rural rivers in East Anglia (UK) and on Lake Garda (Italy) will allow effective strategies for using tools to be developed throughout 2018. Further demonstration activities in Spain (the River Ter) and Greece (Lake Yliki) will show the effectiveness of the approach and allow development of the final business plan to sell products and expertise to stakeholders. To date the project has engaged a range of stakeholders and citizen scientists, and has assessed the requirements for monitoring which have informed on tools being made available on the boat platforms.

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