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Challenges of modular water infrastructure systems

 

We are identifying the challenges of modular infrastructure systems for the Swiss economy and society. This issue is to be explored using the example of urban water management.

​Project description (ongoing research project)

Modular water infrastructure systems result from the potentials of new information, communication and measurement technologies that, for example, can lead to a far-reaching decentralisation of wastewater treatment and thus to a dismantling of sewage systems. These new technologies would enable a radical reorganisation of the sector. In this project we are determining how modular infrastructure systems impact industrial and utility companies, associations and authorities that are responsible for today’s urban water management.

Background

Modular water infrastructure systems make it possible to provide supply services in fundamentally new ways. However, the sustainability of such developments is largely unclear. Particularly in the area of urban water management there are risks of making bad investments. Conversely, overlooking development trends for municipalities and utility companies could prove costly, as the electricity sector has shown impressively in recent years.

Aims

From an industrial point of view, we are investigating whether and how Swiss companies can play a leading role internationally in the area of modular water infrastructure. In the area of waste management responsibility, we are asking how the involved players can prepare themselves for possible scenarios. We then aim to combine both these questions in order to assess whether Switzerland can and should play a pioneering role in the implementation of modular concepts.

Importance

The project will be run by researchers from Eawag, the ETH Zurich, and consulting firm Ecoplan, and will involve close cooperation with practitioners from industry, utility companies, associations and authorities. The know-how of the various experts will be combined with scientific insights from the fields of economics, political science, economic geography and innovation research.

Original title

Challenges and Opportunities of Modular water Infrastructures for Greening the Swiss Economy (COMIX)

Project leaders

Project leaders

  • Prof. Dr. Bernhard Truffer, Abteilung Umweltsozialwissenschaften, Eawag
  • Dr. Eva Lieberherr, Departement Umweltsystemwissenschaften, ETH Zürich
  • Dipl. Ing. André Müller, Ecoplan, Bern
  • Prof. Dr. Max Maurer, Abteilung Siedlungswasserwirtschaft, Eawag

Project partners

  • Prof. Dr. Heiko Gebauer, Lindköping University, Schweden;
  • Dr. Sabine Hoffmann, Abteilung Umweltsozialwissenschaften, Eawag
  • Dr. Christian Binz, Abteilung Umweltsozialwissenschaften, Eawag

Further information on this content

 Contact

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Prof. Dr. Bernhard Truffer Abteilung Umweltsozialwisssenschaften, Eawag Überlandstrasse 133 8600 Dübendorf +41 58 765 56 70 Bernhard.Truffer@eawag.ch