Water Protection – an Important Part of Solutions for Smart Cities
An advanced monitoring of the environment and analytics will allow smart cities to continuously monitor water ecosystems with the aim of an informed and sustainable management, ensuring quality of life and preserving biodiversity in important natural areas.
Of the total amount of globally accessible water, only three percent is freshwater, mostly frozen in icebergs, and less than one percent remains accessible for water supply.
According to Eurostat data from 2017, Croatia has the highest freshwater resources per inhabitant in the EU, and sometimes we are not enough aware that this is a very scarce natural resource, often referred to as “the oil of the 21st century“. As water is crucial for the quality of life and health, water protection is in the focus of several UN Sustainable Development Goals, and it also became an integral part of the solutions for smart cities. Ericsson Nikola Tesla, as a socially responsible company, actively takes care about its impact on the environment. Therefore, it focuses the technology solutions and competence of experts on environmental protection and improvement of the quality of life, and together with its partners, it also made a significant step towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals at a local level.
Today, when we mark the World Water Day, we highlight the Company's activities regarding the goals: “3. Good health and well-being“, and “6. Clean water and sanitation“, which are closely related to the estimation of water impact on people's health. This project passed all the administrative controls within the competition “Research and Development - Phase II", in public better known as IRI 2, for co-funding from the European Regional Development Fund, to which the company applied to together with the Croatian Institute for Public Health (HZJZ), as key partner. In addition, regarding the goals “11. Sustainable cities and communities“, “14. Life below water“, and “15. Life on land“, the company also launched a pilot project in the field of sustainable development and environmental management in smart cities. The partner of this project, i.e. pilot location, is the town Ozalj with its corresponding watercourse of the river Kupa, which is also a part of the ecological network Natura 2000, composed of the areas important for the preservation of endangered species and habitat types of the EU.
A key challenge in managing these areas is better communication among all active stakeholders and a transparent approach to data regarding health of the environment and water ecosystems to secure support of the local community in preserving biodiversity. The fact that the Republic of Croatia is one of the richest European countries when it comes to biodiversity, places an even greater responsibility on our cities, and emphasizes the need for tools that enable sustainable development.
Therefore Ericsson Nikola Tesla, together with a professional partner, the Department of Biology at the Faculty of Science (University of Zagreb) and towns that are partners, explores how advanced technologies can help in improving the quality of life and protection of water ecosystems that are under continuous pressure of urban and economic activities, as well as tourism and various types of recreation. These are the processes that will gain significance in the future, and a new regulation on the EU level is also expected, which has already been announced in a strategic document ‘’EU Biodiversity strategy for 2030“. However, it is clear already that the real sustainable development of cities will demand the use of possibilities of modern technologies for additional education of citizens on the importance of protecting the natural habitats, and include them in the corresponding processes in order to achieve a better effect.
The Mayor of Ozalj, Gordana Lipšinić, Msc, highlighted: „Ozalj, in cooperation with partners, implements projects through which we increase the quality of life of the community and include new stakeholders, we connect and additionally highlight the need for more quality activities in the field of sustainable resource management, especially waters. In this aspect, a device for water quality measurement of the river Kupa was also installed on a bridge in the very center of the town, as a “reward“ and an additional statement of care for our emerald beauty Kupa. I would like to say a big thank you to Ericsson Nikola Tesla experts, who enabled the installation of this valuable digital device.“