MED-QUAD to launch cross-border living lab on smart and efficient use of water
The living lab is an open space accessible to the citizens where pilot projects regarding new products and services are tested, resulting from the fermentation process of the Quadruple Helix approach factors and serve the specific needs of citizens. The MED-QUAD project foresees the pilot operation of 2 cross border living labs in each country, with the first one concerning the "smart water use and applications" (SWUAP). The goals of the living lab are the following:
- The analysis of the drinking water quality and the safety devices in water reserve tanks and networks
- The traceability of water quality from the source to the households
- The smart control devices and more efficient use of water by the citizens
- The quality control of irrigation water
- The traceability of vegetables "from field to shelf"
- smart packaging and safe use from the customers
The living lab for the "smart water use and applications" in Kilkis, Greece will be created with the cooperation of the municipality of Kilkis and the municipal enterprise for water supply and sewerage-DEYAK (GR) and will be housed in the building of the international Hellenic university department in Kilkis. The distinctive quality of this lab is its cross-border aspect, meaning, it will be a work in cooperation with the other living labs created by MED-QUAD partners in their respective countries.
Representatives of the project’s partners consisting of six higher education institutions from Mediterranean countries (Greece, Italy, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia) and the lifelong learning centre Epimorfotiki Kilkis (lead beneficiary, Greece) participated in the meeting. Specifically, 23 experts in water management discussed key issues on water quality and quantity in each country.
At the beginning of the meeting, Professor Anna Tozzi from the University of L’Aquila (Italy) explained to the participants the role of natural resources and especially water in European programs and the reason why water was selected as a thematic goal and a priority of the living labs.
The purpose of the meeting was to design a survey and to formulate a relevant questionnaire with which the MED-QUAD project partners will collect data and scientifically record the situation in their area regarding drinking water.
The aim of the research is to draw useful conclusions about the knowledge that citizens have about the value of water, its quality and use. Key topics of the discussion were the wise and safe use of water, the waste of water, the applicable water quality plans by local government bodies, the promotion of the opportunity of interactive cooperation between cross-border countries through the living labs but also the possibility of solving problems.
Following the constructive discussion between the experts and by answering questions, a working group was set up to coordinate the research work on drinking water. The hydrogeological profile of Italy and Greece will be the basis of the research as the specifications are set for these countries. With regards to the implementation of the research, it was deemed appropriate for Egypt to extend its research to the energy and food sectors. The timetable for the implementation of the survey will be completed by 15th July.
In order for the living labs to play their part in the piloting, researching and also their cross-border role, they should be equipped with modern means and instruments, in a way that allows the development of joint, innovative, cross-border and interactive actions. The selection of the necessary equipment will be done through meetings of experts.
It is certain that developing a familiarity of the current situation in each country in relation to water quality and quantity, the identification of any difficulties in decision-making by key players of innovation in the quadruple helix approach and the implementation of relevant measures, will contribute to the recognition of the value of water and the use of living labs in accordance with the priorities of the MED-QUAD project. The city development group created in the framework of the project and the promotion of the role of civic universities will contribute to the acquaintance and exploitation of living labs.
The creation and operation of living labs in the participating countries is a matter of time and MED-QUAD project partners will soon invite the general public in an open acquaintance to explore their utilization.