EYDAP is the largest company in the Greek water supply, sewerage and wastewater treatment sector. In order to carry out its responsibility, the company is constantly investing in new technologies and joining projects such as UPWATER to shed light on better methods to keep drinking water at peak quality. That’s also important to care for unused water reservoirs that Greece might depend on in the future.
At the moment, EYDAP doesn’t use the groundwater under the city of Athens for the extraction of fresh drinking water. It gets this water from artificial reservoirs outside the city. But since there is more and more drought due to climate change, the quantity of available water in these reservoirs might dwindle. ‘That could force us to use the water under the city as an alternative’, Deputy Director Efthymios Lytras says.
Lytras mentions the river Besòs, flowing through the region of Barcelona. The final part of the river courses through the heavily industrialized area around the city. Up until the 1990s, this part of the river had the reputation of being one of the most polluted river areas in Catalonia. A wastewater treatment system greatly improved this situation, but more is needed to start using the river as a source of drinking water. If the municipality decides that this source of water is needed in the future.
The case of the Besòs river illustrates perfectly why EYDAP is keen on learning more about keeping these bodies of water clean, by participating in the Upwater project. Efthymios Lytras and his colleague Ioannis Dafnos, researcher and project Manager of UPWATER for EYDAP, feel responsible for preventing leaks in their wastewater network that could pollute the underground water.
Sensors in the right place
EYDAP will partner up with the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) to prepare models for the underground water. In the next six or seven months, they will primarily be working on this task.
‘One of the purposes of joining this European project is to figure out ways to find possible leaks. The other is to operate a monitoring system with sensors, which is new for us’, Dafnos mentions. During the project, EYDAP will install sensors in the upper part of the river that streams through Athens. Working with this innovative technology could provide lessons learned.
One of the challenges, according to Dafnos, will be to learn where the sensors will collect the best data. The river is quite long, Lytras adds, and at first it could feel like guessing where possible leaks occur. Based on the incoming data, the researchers will decide if the sensors are in the right place or if adjustments are necessary. ‘If they do, we will finally get a more complete picture of the status of the water underneath Athens. ’
Since the start of the project, both Lytras and Dafnos are excited about the next steps of UPWATER. Most tasks will be familiar to them, since EYDAP has a vast amount of experience with the water treatment. ‘We have a culture of caring and monitoring the groundwater. The challenge of keeping it in good quality is well known to us.’