Standardization and Interoperability towards a water-smart society and economy: the story so far

One of the objectives of the water sector is to create a paradigm shift from traditional water management towards a more inclusive and transparent sector. Within this process, the digitalisation of the sector implies to make the society part of this transformation and therefore, introduce them into the water economy. To generate reliable water-smart digital services for society, data management and subsequent interpretation are essential. There is a challenge to avoid data misinterpretation and therefore, establish common strategies to collect and explore water data openly.

This challenge is even more remarkable when different value chains (water distribution, waste-water, abstraction/treatment, etc) are involved as happens in the water sector. To overcome these aspects, the Interoperability and Standardization (I&S) Action Group of the ICT4Water cluster is aimed at promoting and providing interoperability and standard mechanism to facilitate transparent data sharing inside the water sector and also, at the nexus level according to their interrelated domains.

Specifically, the I&S Action group (Figure 1) is mainly focused on promoting open standards and common data exchange mechanisms to homogenise the interpretation of water data. Derived from this, the action group is devoted to collect and share success stories in relation to data interoperability. From this, the action group will open new data economy opportunities in terms of data sharing across platforms and also, establish the base towards cross-domain decision making. A latter objective is to move from open data standards towards linked information knowledge graphs to connect all information and interrelate with a broad of domains.

Figure 1. Interoperability and Standardization main objectives.

Towards the consecution of these objectives, the main activities performed by the I&S Action group has been twofold: (i) adoption of SAREF4WATR; and (ii) data harmonization and interoperability at cross-domains. In relation to the adoption of SAREF4WATR, the ICT4WATER cluster in cooperation with ETSI has released an ontology to drive the interpretation of water data. Indeed, this is an important step towards the further and safest use of smart technologies aiming at more efficient use of water resources.

Regarding the data harmonization and interoperability at cross-domain, the AG is also devoted to promoting common cross-domain models and open-APIs based on SAREF4WATR to ensure data exchange between water and their interrelated domains. Subsequently from this action, there has been established synergies with the energy sector in order to establish digital synergies between both domains to enable data sharing. This action has been materialised in form of a collaboration with the BRIDGE cluster. Under this collaboration, there has been working on the adoption of common reference architectures and also, the harmonization of energy and water data models.

Despite this advancements, the work still continues. Within this coming year, we will elaborate a report on the analysis on the use of SAREF4WATR and the CIM-Context broker inside the H2020 projects. In this regards, the group will work on the harmonization between SAREF4WATR and CIM Context broker, both tools from ETSI in order to offer the projects and the water industry about a standardised knowledge sharing tool.

As a conclusion of the year, making the information more interpretable and interoperable will enable the co-creation of different cross-domain synergies and decision-making procedures. This will benefit society and water organizations on a newer business paradigm aligned with the digital and data economy.