The aim of the @qua Network is to promote the uptake of ICT solutions in order to address the fundamental problems of efficiency, faced by public and private services of the water management domain in providing information related to implementation and uses of ICT solutions. By supporting a shared vision for streamlining current information and reporting the needs and gaps of ICT solutions in the water domain and promoting the adoption of interoperable solutions based on the concept of level of sharing, the @qua network addresses the aim at EU level to promote ICT solutions for water efficiency.
The @qua network will leverage the existing community of stakeholders participating in various networks and professional organisations at the EU and international levels. By reviewing the current state of play within the various water business processes, the requirements for enhancing the existing solutions and the existing ICT deployments, the @qua network will develop a widely agreed action plan for the evolution towards standardized innovative ICT solutions based on the principle of level of sharing. This will reflect the latest developments in the ICT domain and in terms of the evolving legal framework, including the implications of the recently adopted directives (WFD, Flood, INSPIRE).
The identified main objectives for the @qua network are:
- To create a forum of stakeholders at national and European level for sharing best practices, providing indications, solutions and standards about the ICT solutions for the water domain. In this regard, the involvement of the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform – WssTP www.wsstp.eu - has been pursued as a key factor in the process;
- To identify the needs and the expectations for ICT solutions in the various water business processes covering the full water domain;
- To define a roadmap about priorities identified in the two previous steps (such as implementation, customization and R&D plans), through broad stakeholders’ consultation, for disseminating and developing an active strategy for implementation of existing ICT solutions in the various sectors of the water industry. The roadmap will act as a general agenda describing the deployment of technologies in the identified water sectors;
- To draft technical specifications – from sensor to standard procedure - for R&D actions for innovative ICT solutions needed by the water business processes. According to the specificity of each technology (such as hardware, software, communication standard, modelling tool, procedure) technical specifications will be defined in order to ensure a coherent development and implementation by the industrial sector and public stakeholders;
- To define the "level of sharing" on interoperability, standards and architecture in the deployed ICT solutions in the water domain. This key concept will help to clarify the scope of each activity and to ensure a coherent interface between the different business processes in order to obtain continuity in the services;
- To elaborate, through broad stakeholders’ consultation, guidelines and specifications on ICT solutions for water efficiency management;
- To establish an international association, recognized by the major actors from both water and ICT sectors, in charge of interoperability, standards and architecture validation. This approach is frequently applied in the ICT sector as with W3C organisation for the World Wide Web;
- To promote action for further involvement of stakeholders, including SME’s, at the local and regional level, facilitating cross-fertilisation of ideas and proposals, also with the aim of focussing on specific pilot initiatives to improve the efficiency and impact of ICT solutions in the water sector.
The @qua network will contribute as much as possible to the on-going activities of the different DG of the EC involved in strategic studies regarding Europe’s water. In particular, all deliverables will be provided to the DG ENV involved into the production of the new Blueprint on Europe’s water in 2012. Representatives from the interested DG will be associated to the various workshops. In addition to this, the @qua network will be ready to contribute in an appropriate way to the various initiatives that could appear over the duration of the project.