Implementation of sustainable and smart energy-efficient urban water systems

European Call(s)

CE-SC5-04 (Building a water smart economy and society)

LC-SC3-SCC-1 (Smart Cities and Communities)

SC5-11 (Digital solutions for water)

CE-SFS-24 (Bioeconomy cities: integrated systems valorizing biowaste)

Name of the organisation

ENEA – Italian national Agency of new technologies energy and sustainable economic development

Description of the organisation

ENEA has around 2700 staff employees distributed in its 9 research centers all over the national territory.

Main areas of expertise

ENEA holds multidisciplinary competences and great expertise in managing complex research projects, including projects related to water management, wastewater treatment, waste and by-products valorization. Since about 30 years, ENEA is being carried out, in national and international project contexts, activities related to: water saving in residential buildings; smart water metering systems; sewer systems modelling; implementation of waste water treatment technologies (providing on-site process monitoring, analytical characterization, process modelling, design and assessment, lab/bench/pilot scale construction and operation); renewable energy production from wastewater and organic substrates (conventional and innovative anaerobic digestion reactors); raw matter recovery from wastewater; environmental impact assessment; basin-scale surveys and studies.

Contact Person

Luigi Petta

Looking for: Partner(s) - Coordinator

Partners/Coordinator to be involved in the implementation of measures aimed at developing a sustainable and smart urban water system, which are able to cover different roles, including: technology providers; technology implementation at full-scale urban level; process monitoring, assessment and validation; development of a smart water monitoring network and modelling; big data management and decision support systems development; evaluation of innovative economic and governance mechanism; socio-economic assessment.


Austria - Belgium - Bulgaria - Croatia - Republic of Cyprus - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Malta - Netherlands - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - UK - Iceland - Liechtenstein - Norway

Main Objectives:

The main objective is the implementation of a sustainable and smart urban water system, through the development of advanced digital solutions aimed at monitoring, modelling and real-time managing water distribution, wastewater drainage and treatment infrastructures. Specific attention will be given to smart water metering and water saving solutions, urban drainage modelling, urban flooding control and prevention systems, sustainable low carbon and energy efficient solutions in municipal WWTPs. The latter will be implemented by applying pilot and full scale best practices (processes, technologies, operational strategies) towards a zero-energy scenario in the wastewater sector, as for instance: optimization/control of existing activated sludge processes; introduction of innovative nutrient removal processes; improvement of primary sewage sludge separation units; increasing methane production through excess sludge mechanical pre-treatment; combined digestion of biosolids (organic wastes, agro-industrial by-products and residues) in the existing anaerobic units; implementation of biomethane production systems. Specific dynamic models supporting DSS will be developed, and LCA and socio-economic assessment will be applied, supporting the identification of the optimal scenario to be implemented in existing WWTPs.


The main challenge determining the overall impact of the project consists in the improvement of water governance effectiveness by delivering safe, sustainable and energy efficient water systems. The implementation of full scale water management measures will demonstrate the feasibility of innovative systems, processes, technology and tools aimed at facing the following challenges: reducing the impact of urban water systems on natural water resources, through the application of water saving and water reuse measures; increasing urban safety and resilience respect to climate-change driven phenomena (e.g. urban flooding) through advanced monitoring and modelling tools coupled to real-time decision support systems; reducing GHG emissions through the demonstration of energy efficiency measures, especially in wastewater treatment sector, also providing positive impact on water management costs for water utilities; improving the overall sustainability of wastewater treatment sector, through circular economy approaches; increasing the level of compliance of EU Urban Wastewater Directive; development and uptake of water efficiency standards in urban areas, including the promotion of interoperability between water and energy sectors.

Previous EU experience:

TowEf0 (FP7), Aquafit 4 use (FP7), Adnatur (LIFE+), EMWater (EuroAid), Sustain Water Med (SWIM), Aquasave (LIFE), GoBioM (POR-FESR 2014-2020), +GAS (POR-FESR 2014-2020), GST4Water (POR-FESR 2014-2020)