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Advancing urban water runoff management: 1 year progress

The D4RUNOFF consortium met in Paris on September 28-29, 2023, to celebrate the first year of the project and share the progress made.

The gathering commenced with a service blueprint workshop involving all 13 project partners. One of the main outcomes of the project will be the development of an AI-assisted management platform to support water management stakeholders, such as water utilities and public authorities, in planning, operating, and monitoring the risks of urban infrastructures. This platform will also aid in designing effective strategies, particularly using hybrid Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) to manage and mitigate urban runoff events.

As part of the project’s exploitation activities, this workshop allowed us to visualize the relationships between the users who will be using this platform and the processes in the backend. In other terms, it clarified how partners need to organise and structure their actions for the users in the frontend, based on the type of user (e.g., water utility, policymaker, citizen). These discussions led to many fruitful insights and laid the foundation for further platform development.

Each work package leader then presented the progress made so far. An important result of the project is the development of novel detection methods for characterising urban runoff pollutants. This work has progressed well, with the development and validation of workflows for runoff analysis, and ongoing analysis of runoff samples in the three case study sites: Odense (Denmark), Santander (Spain), and Pontedera (Italy).

Other highlights included the ongoing development of novel sensors for identifying and monitoring Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) and new pollutants. This aims to provide a deeper understanding of the pollution aspects associated with urban runoff and their real impact on the environment. Additionally, a multi-criteria methodology for designing cost-effective mitigation hybrid solutions, combining new and existing NBS and water infrastructures (i.e., blue-green-grey solutions), is being developed.

Finally, the progress being made in the three case study sites and the NBS under study to be implemented and tested were also presented.

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Watch the meeting’s highlights