CLAIRE - Controling Water in an Urban Environment

Water is one of the biggest challenges that humans face. Either, there is too little water, too much water or the quality of the water is poor. As a consequence, water is the subject in 4 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals1 (Climate action, Clean water and sanitation, Life below water, Life on land) and indirectly a driver for the goals of Zero hunger and Good health.

The interesting part of these problems is that water is neither “good” nor “bad”, but having the water at the right place at the right time and in the right amount and quality is challenging. Management of water is the key solution to many of the problems, which the UN SDG are addressing.

The existing methods used within this field are often based on passive strategies, where engineering designs and solutions rely on the evaluation of different scenarios based on a worst-case approach. However, our claim is that with a digital approach it is possible to measure, control and regulate water intelligently using active strategies. In this way, water can be managed to cause much less flooding and instead be used for the benefit of nature and humans. 

The research within water engineering and management is not utilising the full potential of digital methods to optimise the resources within present-day water management.

Water utilities and municipalities, which have the water management responsibility, do not have adequate tools for holistic water management. Water systems are complex and distributed with processes on different scales. Observations from water systems are sparse, and will inevitably be an incomplete representation of the full system providing only partial basis for resource optimization.

By combining computer science and water engineering both research disciplines will benefit from the interdisciplinary collaboration. For the field of computer science, the collaboration is a unique opportunity to test, develop and enhance methods for safety and optimality on challenging incomplete real-world data from complex natural systems. For the field of water engineering, this collaboration is a unique opportunity to push the boundaries for holistic water management.

With CLAIRE we want to extend the state-of-the-art into a new level of excellence, where the risks are high – but the rewards are equally high. 

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The project is funded by
the VILLUM Synergy programme