Digital Water City

Berlin, Copenhagen, Milan, Paris and Sofia, European
June 2019-November 2022
€ 5,897,782.70

Digital Water City (DWC) aims to “lead the urban water management to its digital future” by developing 15 lasting digital solutions which cover all kinds of innovative digital technologies such as AI and IoT.  DWC focuses on protecting health, improving cities’ investments and raising public awareness. That is why the digital solutions are designed to range from the sewage treatment to a safe reuse of wastewater and to face all the main challenges of the water service (drinking water, wastewater use and treatment, etc.).

These digital solutions are now being tested in 5 different EU cities: Berlin, Copenhagen, Milan, Paris and Sofia. With the aim of ensuring the applicability to all cities, each activity implemented by the 5 system of solutions, is now being studied on: technical-economic impacts, performances, returns on investments and improvements on inclusivity and health.

A particular system of solutions is the one developed in Milan: the project started on June 2019 and relies on the collaboration between DWC and CAP Holding S.p.A. (manager of the integrated water service of the city of Milan and neighbouring municipalities). This project has two main objectives: 

  • The achievement of safe water reuse for agricultural irrigation
  • The improvement of the management of the water-food-energy nexus

In order to fulfil these goals, with the support of Local and National authorities, Digital Water City developed an interacting system of digital solutions composed by:

  1. Early Warning Systems for safe reuse of treated wastewater for agricultural irrigation: the input data are collected by a network of sensors and then processed through machine learning. This system allows a predictive analysis and generates real-time warnings.
  2. WebGIS Platform for improved decision-making in water reuse: purifiers that supply standard-quality wastewater are mapped to stimulate clear communication between the players of the wastewater reuse chain.
  3. Active unmanned aerial vehicle for analysis of irrigation efficiency: drones’ surveying detection techniques and sensors concur to determine soil water stress in conjunction with atmospheric conditions. 
  4. Match-making tool between water demand for irrigation and safe water availability: this web app allows the involved players to share information and promote smart irrigation to meet the needs of the stakeholders.
  5. Serious game on water reuse, carbon, energy, food and climatic nexus: this gaming app teaches the player simplified information on the subject, who will see the benefits of safe and sustainable water reuse by managing the resources recoverable from urban wastewater.


Digital Water City, part of the Horizon 2020 Programme, leverages on the most innovative digital technologies to guarantee a sustainable future for our cities and an active involvement of their citizens, aspects that fall into the New European Bauhaus (NEB)’s pillars of Sustainability and Inclusivity. DWC’s suggestions also cover two Sustainable Development Goals: 6. Sustainable water and sanitation; 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure. These digital solutions are the key to the flourishing development of water in the circular economy due to the relevance attributed to the monitoring of the whole wastewater treatment chain.

Technical factsheet

  • Date: June 2019-November 2022
  • Funded Co-funded
  • Location Berlin, Copenhagen, Milan, Paris and Sofia, European
  • Value € 5,897,782.70
  • Application category Innovation
  • Related Technical Working Group Community and Sustainability