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A breakthrough in sensor and monitoring technology to ensure quality drinking water even against terrorist attacks

Since 9/11, heavy emphasis has been placed on safety of infrastructures. This project will develop a monitoring system that covers the entire infrastructure, is embedded in a decision support system, and offers a platform for extension.

The aim of this project is to produce a breakthrough in sensor and monitoring technology to ensure quality drinking water from source to tap and provide for a safeguard against terrorist attacks. Tap water reaches billions of people. If tampered with, it can result in significant health risks. It will also decrease consumer confidence resulting in the (undesirable) growth of consumption of bottled water. There is, however, no monitoring system available that detects interference with the infrastructure and/or deviations in the quality of water anywhere in the system. Only after consumers detect deviations in quality (taste, smell and/or colour) or numerous consumers become ill (and a link is made with drinking water consumption) does the drinking water company receive an alert and take action. Obviously, this will probably be too late for preventive actions. Until 9/11, protection of the drinking water infrastructure was not really an issue. Since that time, this has changed dramatically. As a result, drinking water companies all over the world are busy trying to better understand treatments for their systems and developing systems for monitoring the quality of drinking water. However, so far, no company has been able to define security and monitoring systems that reach further than the purification facilities. There is no paradigm available that helps them to define a solid monitoring system that manages the quality from source to tap. There is also no technology available that monitors the full spectrum of possible quality deviations or threats, let alone a decision support system that analyses the information from the monitor system and acts automatically if needed. So far all assurance is based on multiple barriers at the purification plant and time-consuming laboratory analyses. What is needed is a 'real-time' monitoring system that: * integrates accurate data from a distributed system of sensors in real-time, * transforms this data with computer models of network behaviour into actionable knowledge for decision makers to act on. This project aims to carry this out. In order to do so, it has: * A new approach in R&D on monitoring-development. - a system and demand approach instead of technology approach * A breakthrough in sensor technology. - focusing on properties of groups of contaminants/agents instead of on specific agents * A breakthrough in artificial knowledge and decision support systems. - the development of a comprehensive DSS (Decision Support System), which gathers data and translates these data into information, and analyses and weighs the importance of this information, offering advice on the action to be taken. Participants In order to achieve these aims, the best knowledge and expertise has to be brought together. Therefore, knowledge from THE NETHERLANDS (expert knowledge on drinking water quality, distribution and monitoring systems), ISRAEL (expert knowledge on security and drinking water technology) and the UNITED STATES (expert knowledge on terrorist attacks, risk assessment, monitoring systems and drinking water system analysis technology) will provide all the expertise needed to meet the challenge of this project. By combining the input of knowledge institutes (KIWA WATER RESEARCH (NL) and SANDIA NATIONAL LABORATORIES (VS)), a technology developer (OPTISENSE (NL)) and end-users with their own research capabilities (VITENS (NL) and MEKOROT (ISRAEL)), there is the safeguard that the fundamental approach of this project always focuses on (at the end) applicable solutions. Keywords: DSS (Decision Support System), sensor technology, terrorist attacks.
Acronym: 
SAFEWAT
Project ID: 
3 831
Start date: 
01-07-2006
Project Duration: 
48months
Project costs: 
4 800 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Measurement and Detection of Pollution
Market Area: 
Water treatment equipment and waste disposal systems

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