Scientific expertise on safeguarding drinking water supply systems under climate change conditions
The safe and affordable supply of drinking water in the EU under the pressure of climate change is a key priority. The European joint project SafeCREW, led by the DVGW Research Centre at Hamburg University of Technology, will address this key priority over the next three and a half years. SafeCREW will develop new methods for monitoring, quality assessment, treatment and distribution of drinking water and will derive guidelines for drinking water management and integrated risk assessment for water suppliers and authorities. The project has received 3.9 million euros in funding from Horizon Europe to provide answers to this important question: How do we need to adapt technologies for European water supply in order to provide safe and healthy drinking water under climate change conditions?
The SafeCREW research project will kick off with a meeting in Hamburg on 1 and 2 December 2022. Together with ten partners from Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK, the DVGW Research Centre at the Hamburg University of Technology (DVGW-TUHH) will conduct research on the conditions for climate-resilient water supply and develop guidelines for action for water suppliers, policy-makers and regulatory authorities.
Climate change poses major challenges for the drinking water supply in Europe. With rising water temperatures and increasing heavy rainfall events, higher amounts of organic substances and microorganisms will also be present in raw water. Well-established processes that have so far guaranteed high drinking water quality will have to be changed and adapted. In southern Europe, disinfection of drinking water is already necessary today. It is possible that even northern European water suppliers will have to use disinfection in the future. One focus will be the investigation of previously unknown disinfection by-products and the further characterisation of already known ones and their formation. With the results, the participating companies intend to develop commercially available methods of quantifying and reducing these by-products so that negative effects on human health can be prevented.
The SafeCREW consortium of research institutes, European water suppliers, small and medium companies and the German Environment Agency (UBA) will use three case studies in northern Germany, Italy and Spain to drive the further characterisation of water quality, and develop new water treatment methods and better management of water distribution networks to maintain high drinking water quality. This will include all processes from source via treatment and up to distribution.
SafeCREW is funded by the European Union and targets stakeholders in the water sector: Water suppliers will receive support for integrated risk management, regulatory authorities will be able to use the data generated in SafeCREW to inform the approval of safe materials in the distribution networks, and last but not least, the research will ensure the further development and implementation of the EU Drinking Water Directive.
Further information on the project can be found on the project website safecrew.org and at https://www.tuhh.de/wwv/en/dvgw-tuhh/dvgw-research-centre-tuhh.html and https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101081980