Blog / Disruptive Technologies

The Role of Water in European Cities

The participation of citizens is essential in the development of policies on water in European Smart Cities. 

Importance of Engagement

One of the principal obstacles to the successful establishment of environmental procedures is the incapacity of their promoters to interact efficiently and openly not only with SMEs, developers and end-users  but with all the stakeholders identified as being essential to the social, political and economic development of society. It is necessary to engage not only with the respective academic and industrial sectors but also the relevant public administrations and last but by no means least, the citizen. Failure to interact with all the components of the Quadruple Helix often results in the long-term relegation of otherwise high-quality funded actions to the dusty oblivion of bureaucratic archives.  

“The Citizen must be at the centre of open innovation and subsequent public policy.”

Commissioner Moadas speaking at the WssTP Conference ‘The value of Water’ Brussels 21/06/2016.

Ensuring Engagement at the Local Level

In order to ensure that the value of data sharing, including open data policies, across the whole value chain of water for improved decision making builds upon distributed intelligence and low level analytics (smart meters, advanced water quality sensor, video stream, paving the way for the sensor of the future) to increase the economic (improved performance) and societal (interaction with the users) efficiency of water systems it is necessary to fully involve local municipal administrations both in Europe and beyond. Local administrations have a unique capacity to translate supranational strategies into practical implementation. All citizens, all institutions, whatever their nature, form part of one municipality or another. Unburdened by the broader concepts of a national government, local councils are capable of direct interaction and therefore effective engagement with their constituents. In recent years, all supranational agencies including the UN, the OECD and the EU have come to publicly recognize the importance of attributing to local government and their citizens a primary role in confronting the global issues of the XXI Century.  

“One of the major challenges facing the world community as it seeks to replace unsustainable development patterns with environmentally sound and sustainable development is the need to activate a sense of common purpose on behalf of all sectors of society. The chances of forging such a sense of purpose will depend on the willingness of all sectors to participate in genuine social partnership and dialogue, while recognizing the independent roles, responsibilities and special capacities of each.”  

United Nations Environment Programme Decision: 27.2.

Seminar: The Role of Water in European Cities

Richard Elelman, Head of Public Administrations at EURECAT-CTM and Founder of the Network for Water in European Regions and Cities, NETWERC H2O, presented a seminar on The role of water in European Smart Cities. During this seminar, Richard addressed the efficiency of water systems and the importance of engaging not only with the respective academic and industrial sectors but also the relevant public administrations and last but by no means least, citizens. Watch the seminar here:   This seminar was presented in the framework of the Master’s in Smart Cities, which prepares professionals of the urban planning and architectural sector for Smart City implementation.

Zigurat Global Institute of Technology