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Research & Innovation

Aquasmart: the Turin start-up to combat the water emergency

4 August 2017

39%: this is the figure indicating the huge amount of drinking water that Italian water mains lose, on average, according to the analysis provided by the Utilitatis Foundation's Blue Book.

Up to 75%, on the other hand, is the percentage  reduction in water losses in urban mains of the solution proposed by the AquaSmart, the Turin start-up created to automatically and remotely manage water infrastructures.

How does it work? With two main components: the first is a smart meter patented by the researchers of the Politecnico di Torino, replacing current residential meters, capable of providing water mains pressure and flow data in real time; the second is an innovative management software application (based on “machine learning” and neural networks) that identifies the position of water leaks by interpreting the data collected by the new meters and, unlike other competing solutions, also eliminating the need to implement long and expensive mains models.

The result? Implementation times are shorter and the investments required by water providers to install the solution are comparable to current costs for replacing and managing current residential meters. Ensuring, however, benefits to everyone. Water providers reduce losses and therefore operating costs. There is no longer prospects of possible rationing. Citizens pay only the water actually consumed and have the possibility of monitoring, through an application, their consumption in real time.

AquaSmart stems from the research experience of the Politecnico di Torino, in particular from the “Innovation for Change” program, implemented in 2016, together with CERN in Geneva and SAFM, the Scuola di Alta Formazione al Management - Higher Education Management School (of the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation). From the outset, SMAT, the Turin water provider, lent its support to the AquaSmart Team with the goal, achieved, of developing a solution to identify and prevent losses in the city's water mains.

Precisely thanks to its innovative content, this technology will soon emerge from the development phase at the Politecnico di Torino laboratories and will be further developed by the AquaSmart start-up, also through the funding obtained from the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation and from the Proof of Concept call promoted by the University itself to increase the maturity of the already-patented technologies.

At the moment, AquaSmart is about to take the next step, i.e. identify one or more Italian water providers to field test the new meter and software (data collection and management), with the aim of making the complete solution available in 2018.