SmartH2O: an ICT platform for water saving
Andrea E. Rizzoli, Professor at SUPSI and Coordinator of SmartH2O project
Gamification to engage consumers and encourage them to use water in a more rational manner.
Prof Rizzoli, could you please tell us briefly about the project, starting with the problem tackled?
“Urban water use is expected to constantly increase in the incoming years in major cities all over the world. There is a need for water demand management strategies (incentives, water pricing, awareness campaigns) to be efficient and sustainable from a technical, economical, and social perspective. Yet, individual and collective behaviour response to specific water conservation policies might significantly vary with economic drivers as well as socio-psychological determinants within the same urban context.
The SmartH2O project has developed an ICT-based platform that enables water utilities – municipalities and citizens – to co-design, develop and implement better water demand management policies, which are based on a shared understanding and motivation by the water users, thus leading to a reduction in water consumption, while not compromising the quality of life. Using quasi-real time measurements from smart water meters, SmartH2O offers a gamified platform to engage customers and water utilities in using data analytics tools to explore, model and simulate the water use behavior.”
What results have been obtained?
“The project developed algorithms that model the water users’ behaviour, allowing a water utility to simulate and predict water use at the district level. Another field of research focused on the development of gamification techniques to encourage water savings, including the development of “Drop!” the board game for water awareness.
The SmartH2O platform was deployed in 400 Swiss households and to over 40’000 customers in Spain. Outcomes showed notable water savings of around 20 % in Spain and 10 % in Switzerland.”
What is the innovative aspect?
“SmartH2O utilizes “gamification” technologies in order to engage consumers and encourage them to use water in a more rational manner.”
What position does the project occupy at the national and international levels?
“Part of an international network, this project is financed by the European Commission, in collaboration with research partners from other countries. This network is a fundamental component, not only in terms of stimulating discussion of ideas, but also in order to consolidate collaboration between institutes with diverse and complementary features and areas of competence.”