EnvironmentIn Research Areas Category
The era of seemingly plentiful and cheap resources is coming to an end: raw materials, water, air, biodiversity and terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems are all under pressure. The combined impacts of climate change and current production and consumption patterns are undermining our planetary habitat. Waste and water have been selected as particular priorities, on the grounds of their substantial potential for business opportunities and job creation while tackling important resource efficiency challenges. Water availability and quality are essential for sustainable development and green economy. Recent studies show that competing demands for scarce water resources may lead to an estimated 40% global water supply shortage by 2030.
Today it is well accepted that efforts for the development of efficient water resources protection and sustainable water management require the involvement of all related groups i.e. decision makers, consumers, water utilities, suppliers etc. at all levels, in order to recognize their active and important role on water management. Several steps towards efficient water resources management have already been taken, including campaigns to reduce water consumption and improve water loss efficiency and the encouragement of new infrastructures to replace old equipment. Demand for water can be reduced voluntarily by using many different technical, social, and economic tools. Essentially, this means that the consumer will change his or her consumption preferences. Regulatory instruments involving permits, restrictions, and allocations to various users and uses can also reduce water demand. It is worth noting that well-informed public pressure may act as a driver for policy change and technological innovation to achieve water savings.
In this respect VILABS has investigated thoroughly the water sector so as to provide a link between ICT and water stakeholders, acknowledging the great importance of water consumer behaviour and satisfaction, to be accomplished through:
- consumers’ active involvement, by providing them with incentives for adjusting their water profiles, and making them aware of their impact on the water consumption and resources, either individually or collectively.
- real time knowledge of consumer behaviour, permitting a simultaneous analysis of consumers demand pattern under conditions of increased water cost or reduced availability of water, and predictive models, allowing the implementation of an efficient, appropriate and a more rational water resource management, both provided to the Water Utilities for planning and pricing strategy.
ViLabs Co-founders, as two of the initiators of eEnviPer project, have designed the business exploitation of one of the most promising e-Government environmental service over the cloud. eEnviPer supports a more transparent, accessible and efficient, environmental permits process by integrating complementary existing systems that support environment-related permit procedures and provide digital services for permitting authorities at different levels, enterprises, consulting services and civil society.
Towards this direction, recently, ViLabs have drafted a project proposal together with the UNIVERZITET U NOVOM SADU, University College Cork, Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, ICLEI, AMPHOS21 and WSSTP to promote the dissemination and exploitation of ICT-based tools and platforms in the field of water by contributing to the market uptake of research results and lead to the creation of an integrated community of researchers and users contributing thus to the development of a wider understanding of the role of water innovations.