POWER Newsletter


POWER at a glance

The Project "Political and sOcial awareness on Water EnviRonmental challenges" (POWER) is funded by the EU under the H2020-ICT10c-2015 Call. The POWER consortium comprises a total of 12 Partners, including four research institutions dealing with environmental, social and governance issues, two innovation SMEs, two European organisations and four key demonstration cities. For 48 months of activities, from December 2015 to November 2019, the Project aims to set up a user-driven Digital Social Platform (DSP) for the expansion and governance of POWER existing water networks by engaging on a large scale with stakeholders in the co-creation and delivery of digital products and services to citizens involving awareness-raising, new policy initiatives and deployment.

Further information on http://www.power-h2020.eu

City Blueprint® Approach - an important tool for the POWER project

Extreme weather events that leave city streets under water in no time. Or protracted drought that renders a city’s water supply incapable of meeting its needs. Two extreme cases that become more and more a reality because of climate change, and especially since urbanization is rapidly increasing. In 2050, 87% of the population in developed countries will be living in cities. At about that time, water supply will fall short of demand by 40%. The consequences of climate change leave cities no choice: they are forced to adapt their water cycles because the cost of inaction is very high. But how can a city quickly grasp which elements of its water cycle are already sustainable and which need to be adapted? The City Blueprint is a practical communicative tool that can help cities on their path to be become sustainable water-wise cities.

The City Blueprint® Approach is a diagnosis tool and consists of three complementary frameworks. The main challenges of cities are assessed with the Trends and Pressures Framework (TPF). How cities are managing their water cycle is done with the City Blueprint® Framework (CBF). Where cities can improve their water governance is done with the Governance Capacity Framework (GCF). Two short videos have been made about the City Blueprint Approach.

The City Blueprint ® visual presentation of 25 indicators presented by Professor Kees van Leeuwen (KWR): "The more blue, the better."

At present, about 60 cities in 30 different countries have been assessed by the City Blueprint®. These cities and City Blueprint® results are published in over 20 scientific publications and most recently incorporated in the Urban Water Atlas for Europe. Leicester’s City Blueprint has been assessed recently. The city, whose City Council is part of the POWER consortium, is relatively vulnerable to flooding as one fifth of the city could potentially be flooded by the river Soar. Compared to other cities, areas with water and vegetation that can store excessive rainfall are limited and much of the city is surfaced with impermeable concrete, stones and asphalt. Leicester is therefore particularly vulnerable to water nuisance due to intensive rainfall.

City Blueprint ® of Leicester. The scores range from 0 (the middle of the circle) to 10 (the border of the circle).

In response to flood incidents, the city has developed a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and is actively reducing its flood vulnerability. In particular, the city is actively increasing its vegetated surfaces and reducing impermeable surfaces in order to combat water nuisance. In particular, river flood risks are being alleviated by increasing the river Soar’s flow capacity, increasing storage capacity while at the same time purifying the water and increasing biodiversity. The city’s rainwater and sewerage is collected together, which may lead to combined sewer overflow and water pollution during storm events. Renewable energy can be abstracted from wastewater and also important nutrients, for the growth of crops, can be abstracted from wastewater. The recovery of renewable energy and nutrient from Leicester’s wastewater shows room for improvement. Given the active attitude of the city to solve its flood challenges, the city’s water performance is expected to improve within the coming years.

To find out more about the City Blueprint® Approach, watch this video (3:57) with Stef Koop from KWR:

Governance capacity framework to identify main opportunities for POWER's Digital Social Platform

Not only the government but also private stakeholders and citizens are important for decision-making. It is essential to understand the type and nature of their interactions with governments in order to reveal how Digital Social Platforms (DSPs) can best facilitate this process. The capacity of all involved parties to cooperate, learn together and implement policy can be referred to as governance capacity. In order to understand how DSPs can optimally enhance the governance capacity, we need to know what the main barriers and point for improvements are. Therefore, we have developed the water governance capacity framework (GCF, see picture below): 

Water Governance Capacity Framework (GCF)

We will apply GCF to identify the main opportunities for DSP to enhance the capacity to govern the identified water-related issues of the four partner cities. This will be done in interaction with the cities using interviews, desk studies and feedback from the cities. The first four conditions are of particular relevance to the DSPs collaborative learning ability and will be further investigated through an in-depth case study approach in each partner city. The GCF also provides an excellent start for the POWER project’s following cities to identify their points of improvement and how DSPs can facilitate this process. The framework is developed by a learning-by-doing approach and has been tested in several  cities: Quito (Ecuador), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Ahmedabad (India), New York (USA) and Melbourne (Australia). The framework is an extension of the City Blueprint® which already has been applied in almost 60 cities in 30 countries and will help identifying priorities of action in the partner cities.

International Events

River Basin Adaptation Conference, Slovenia

In the Mediterranean region, water resources are expected to be severely affected by climate change and other pressures. There is an urgent need for adaptation plans to outline how individual river basins can prepare for the impacts of climate change and other pressures. The development of successful adaptation strategies needs to involve both regional and local stakeholders. The River Basin Adaptation Conference aims to share experiences and identify best-practices on science-society interactions for river basin management and climate change adaptation. The conference will address two related themes:

  • Theme 1 - Adaptation of river basin management to global change
  • Theme 2 - Science and society interactions in water management

The River Basin Adaptation Conference will be organised at the Perla Casino & Hotel in Nova Gorica, a town in western Slovenia on the border to Italy.

7th - 8th March 2017, Nova Gorica, Slovenia

More information


Wasser Berlin International

Wasser Berlin International is Germany’s specialised, international marketing platform for water. An additional congress is located at the heart of WATER BERLIN INTERNATIONAL. It connects all the products and solutions presented at the trade fair with the relevant policies and administrative requirements. Speakers from science and practice – be they from universities, water management associations or German companies – will lecture on current issues in the water industry.

The fair is located at the Berlin ExpoCenter City.

28th -31st March, 2017, Berlin, Germany

More information


International Congress on Water and Sustainability, Barcelona

This first congress edition of the International Congress on Water and Sustainability is titled "Technology and Access to Water" and aims to give space for a scientific debate and reflection on water and its importance with regards to the environment and wider society. Therefore, the congress covers the four following research areas:

  • Water: This topic includes most up-to-date scientific-technical experiences related to purification, waste treatment and environmental analysis.
  • Cooperation and Sustainability: Research analysis and innovative projects within the cooperative world such as water management systems.
  • Education: This topic aims to bring together teaching experiences and an analysis of the perceptions of water in educational centres.
  • Water Management Models: This topic includes all aspects related to water management, taking into account all relevant aspects on model transition processes and their strength or weakness.

The congress is going to be held from June 26th to June 27th 2017 at the School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering of Terrassa (ESEIAAT) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC), based just outside beautiful Barcelona.

26th - 27th June 2017, Barcelona, Spain

More information

POWER - A social response to global water issues


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Learn more about our POWER consortium

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 687809.

This newsletters content licence is a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 DE.