Water management in Europe and around the world is facing major challenges and is currently going through a paradigm shift from a focus on water supply to water demand management. This paradigm shift is widening the scope to a more holistic approach, covering not only the hydrological but also the ecological, socio-economic aspects. Water management models and monitoring, better described as Modelling and Decision Support Systems (MDSS) are instrumental in supporting the paradigm shift.
A number of bottlenecks stand in the way of effective implementation of MDSS to support the holistic approach to water management. The complexity of aspects related to water management, such as ecological, economic, social and institutional perspectives need to be better integrated at the technical and methodological level. Information exchange requires leadership and is often hindered by legal and institutional barriers. Moreover, long term funding opportunities are missing, limiting the development of durable solutions, while litigation risks for MDSS owners limit public access of the available data.
MDSS technology is expected to bring large market potential for the private sector, including specialist SMEs, software and data management developers, technology centres and others. Especially the smart water concept has huge global business opportunities, with the greatest potential in ICT, software and analytics development, but also hardware and infrastructure development. Various international sub-markets are foreseen. In high-income countries & emerging markets capital intensive solutions are expected, while solutions adapted to the capacity to pay will be demanded in low-income countries.
Modelling and Decision Support Systems have improved and data and information are more accessible. MDSS are widely applied throughout Europe and are exported, to support a holistic approach in water management. MDSS in combination with metering and sensor technology allows real time assessments in order to optimize water management within, but also across, the different water using sectors.
The Steering Group of the EIP Water invites Action Groups to develop and test: