A WAve of innovation

Submission closed


Water Alliance, a joint venture composed by 13 public water utilities operating in Lombardy, is looking for innovative and sustainable solutions for the integrated water service. How? Through open innovation! The joint venture is opening to university spin-offs, start-ups, SMEs and companies which can support, promote and encourage new solutions for the issues of the integrated water service.

That’s why the joint venture has launched the challenge ‘’A WAve of innovation’’. Sludge treatment, smart water grid, real time data enhancement, biogas cogeneration plants are the main areas of the challenge. Through AI, smart water meters and new wastewater technologies, Water Alliance aims at empowering the sustainability and circularity of the integrated water service. Digital solutions and a circular approach to the wastewater represent a crucial step toward the ecological transition, which Water Alliance is committed to.

Join the challenge and contribute to a smarter and greener future: ride the WAve!

Who we are

Water Alliance is a joint venture between 13 public water utilities – Alfa, BrianzAcque, Como Acqua, Gruppo CAP, Gruppo TEA, Lario Reti Holding, MM, Padania Acque, Acque Bresciane, Pavia Acque, SAL, Secam and Uniacque – operating in Lombardy and it guarantees the integrated water service to 8,5 million inhabitants. The joint venture serves 1.210 municipalities supplying more than 800 billion cubic meters a year through a 40.693 km aqueduct network. The 13 companies manage the whole water cycle. They extract water from rivers and aquifers, they clean it and then they deliver it to the taps of all Lombardy.

They also manage the wastewater, treating and transforming it in different ways: generating renewable energy like biogas and recovering phosphorus and other nutrients . At the end of cycle, Water Alliance returns the cleaned water to the rivers thank to 4.016 km of sewer pipes and to 696 wastewater plants. 

Aggregate, the 13 companies have total revenues that exceed 960 million euros and investments of over two billion euros. The network has also the patronage of ANCI Lombardia and Confservizi Lombardia.

Focus Area

The challenge aims at identifying innovative solutions in the following areas:

  • Technologies and solutions that allow to reduce the volumes of sludge to manage deriving from the wastewater treatment;
  • Innovative applications of technologies of dehydration or biological drying to the treatment of sludge;
  • Identification of alternative processes and methodologies for the management of sewage sludge;
  • Use of sludge for the creation of new materials/agglomerates to be reused;
  • Identification of technologies allowing efficient recovery of phosphorus or others nutrients/minerals.
  • Identifying the latest generation smart meters and other smart metering systems;
  • Identifying the best practices based on communication protocols to collect and transmit data (centrally or peripherally);
  • Technologies and solutions that allow to monitor the state of the infrastructure and the chemical/physical quality of clear water and wastewater;
  • Systems and models which allows continuous monitoring and supporting the decision-making process through automatic systems of implementation/ planned interventions which also allow the alignment to the water requirement.
  • Models able to analyze and manage a continuous and discreet data flow but with very high frequencies;
  • Identification of algorithms or models able to offer predictive, descriptive and prescriptive solutions according to the contexts;
  • Identification of alerting models, tied to various measurements in the nets, to characterize the presence of polluters in points of entry and/or in anomalous discharges;
  • Identification of probabilistic methodologies and correlation between meteorological events and other systems already in existence;
  • Identification of applications for the collection, and platforms for the management, of data deriving from the business systems of type SCADA to the aims of control and optimization of the nets and the systems.
  • Technologies and solutions able to increase the current production of biogas;
  • Identification of possible solutions which allow the simultaneous digestion of elements of different origin like OFMSW, zootechnical wastes, vegetable biomass and other wastes with digestate enhancement;
  • Identify and explore the different types of cogeneration plants;
  • Identification of innovative production/technological processes for the use of surplus biogas.
  • How to apply?

    Participants must submit their application by filling out the application form.


    Open Challenge




    First Examination


    Final Selection


    Pitch Day


    Regulation of the call


    Definition and detail of reference areas


    Project Deliverables






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