Saving water through effective knowledge sharing

Freely accessible online tools to enable sustainable and efficient water resource management are being developed by the EU-funded SWITCH-ON project. The initiative is currently building a web portal to host innovations such as a virtual water-science laboratory, product marketing point and meeting place.

Environmental information tools are in high demand but not always available or accessible. This is due in part to a wide dispersion of potentially useful material and a lack of information on how to actually apply available tools at an acceptable cost.

SWITCH-ON, which began in November 2013, is promoting the use of open data tools to support sustainable water use. Open data is the idea that certain information should be freely available to everyone without restrictions.

By exploiting the untapped potential of open data, the project team believes it is possible to improve water information provision, leading to more efficient environmental services and better handling of environmental problems, including those induced by climate and environmental change.

“This portal will be the first one-stop shop where you can find different kinds of water-information and users in one place,” explains project coordinator Berit Arheimer, head of hydrological research at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). “It will lead to more efficient water management tools, which can be used to create jobs that contribute towards a more sustainable and safe society.”

The innovation will also help to foster new business opportunities and growth by facilitating the development of new products and services based on the principles of information sharing. SMEs and service providers are expected to be able to access new markets, increase their competences and achieve more efficient production as a result of collaborating within SWITCH-ON.