… towards the 1st FREEEWAT User and Developer meeting… looking for national representatives. Let’s meet in Barcelona!

As the H2020 FREEWAT project is going to live its last three months, the FREEWAT experience will be going on thanks to the help and will of the growing community of users and developers. In fact, after the first release in April 2017 we are going to hit about 1000 downloads and a similar number of individuals has been trained so far, mostly in Europe, but also worldwide.
The FREEWAT platform (www.freewat.eu), free and open source, may be beneficial also for developing countries as it may constitute a fundamental vehicle to involve stakeholders, policy makers, water researchers and practitioners in design scientifically sounding and participated water management.
In this light, the FREEWAT partners are organizing a series of national workshops, that will take place in the upcoming months to spread the word about the FREEWAT software and its positive impact also by the economic point of view in the water sector. These events will be run in the national language of project partners, those wishing to attend should contact local organisers through the webpage http://www.freewat.eu/national-workshops
Among these activities, we also highlight two upcoming events. The 1st FREEWAT User and Developer International meeting will take place on 21st September. I will open this one-day event presenting the main outcomes and concrete tools developed by the FREEWAT project. Then a set of presentations from case studies will take place. In the afternoon, all of the participants will have the possibility to meet the FREEWAT people and have their say on the FREEWAT future including further development and in view of creation of the FREEWAT association. Moreover, it will be the time to set national FREEWAT representatives, that is people and institutions willing to take up FREEWAT
Information on this event may be found at http://www.freewat.eu/1st-freewat-users-developers-workshop
In the next day, September 22nd, the 3rd FREEWAT Open workshop "ICT tools for innovating Groundwater Management in a changing world" will take place. It will feature keynote speakers, including policy makers (such as a representative of the EC, the Catalan Water Agency, etc) and representatives of cooperating H2020 projects, and FREWAT applications at a range of case studies. The event will be the time to examine how ICT tools can serve –or are already serving– the societal needs across Europe in the water domain, and it will have a strong focus on their uptake by key European, and not only, stakeholders and final users. In the same context, the workshop will also serve as a vehicle to deliver interesting opportunities to the new generation of European business startups and SMEs.
Both events are organised by Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (IDAEA-CSIC) at the CSIC-IDAEA center in Barcelona, Spain.
For further information and to register please visit the FREEWAT website http://www.freewat.eu/freewat-open-workshop and/or contact Giovanna De Filippis at g.defilippis@santannapisa.it or Rotman Criollo at rotmancriollo@gmail.com

Rudy Rossetto (Project Coordinator – Institute of Life Sciences, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

The Consortium
The project Consortium is made up of 19 partners representing various water sectors from 11 EU countries, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine and UNESCO international organization.

Training courses at National level...another Project’s success

The FREEWAT Consortium is keeping its successful pace to fulfil all its commitments and tasks. To this end, the April release of its open and free platform was one of the main achievements.

In this light, all partners have been very active in organising and delivering National training courses. Such courses free of charge, have collected an average of 60 participants each. All courses were divided in two parts:
- the first part, 3 days long, took place remotely and was devoted to acquire the basics of numerical modeling for the simulation of groundwater flow and the interactions with surface water, and to get acquainted with software tools for management of hydrochemical data. For this purpose, tutorials (including slides and data sets) were provided. Participants perform tutorials autonomously. Technical support was guaranteed via e-mail, phone or skype;
- during the second part, two days long class lectures and exercises presented FREEWAT modules for the simulation of solute transport processes, saltwater intrusion and the conjunctive use of ground– and surface-water for water resource management in rural environments.

To date, including the training courses organised in 2016, around 1000 professionals attended at least one of the 50 local courses held in several Countries, including Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Turkey, Ukraine, Italy, Czech Republic but also, USA or Austria (course during the EGU Congress), among others.

It is worth mentioning the South African experience during which the SSSA team along with UNESCO successfully trained participants attending from several SADC Countries, including Namibia and South Africa itself. The training program was targeted to hydro(geo)logists, environmental scientists, and engineers from National Institutions (e.g., Department of Water Affairs, Universities) and independent experts nominated by SADC Countries.The aim was to build capacity of SADC Countries experts in groundwater modeling, including analysis of ground- and surface-water interaction.

For further information about the courses that will be taking place in the upcoming months and how to attend these courses, please visit: http://www.freewat.eu/freewat-courses

FREEWAT Italian National Workshop coming up soon!

The current year seems to be the Annus Horribilis for Italy in terms of water resources, in fact the relatively low rainfall and the increased needs from agriculture, civil society and industry have created undeniable problems in terms of water use. For the aforementioned reasons, water management is fundamental and cannot postponed any longer.
This meeting, taking place on July the 12th at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna premises, will focus on water management and a careful planning of the use of water resources in order to present a series of interventions to be put in place to avoid water shortages. In this light, the event will highlight how ICT tools and services could benefit a well-planned work based on open data and rigorous analysis.
Specifically, the workshop will present the added value of the recently launched open source FREEWAT platform, developed and delivered by the FREEWAT consortium within the H2020 FREEWAT project (www.freewat.eu) through the presentation of some FREEWAT case studies.
The invited speakers, with different backgrounds (researchers, river basin authorities, stakeholders from Italy and beyond) will present and share their working experience in order to provide potential solutions to solve the challenges brought forward by the audience. The workshop is organised in the context of the European Innovation Partnerships on Water (EIP WATER www.eip-water.eu) – Action Groups “Managed Aquifer Recharge Strategies and Actions” and “Water & Irrigated agriculture Resilient Europe”. It is accredited by the Association of Engineers. Further information on the FREEWAT website

The Farm Process module

Among the FREEWAT capabilities, attention is paid to conjunctive use of ground- and surface-water for targeting groundwater management issues, especially in rural areas. This is accomplished in FREEWAT through the Farm Process (FMP), a module embedded in MODFLOW-OWHM (One Water Hydrologic Flow Model; Hanson et al., 2014).

In MODFLOW-OWHM, management of conjunctive use of water resources through the FMP is complementary to the application of MODFLOW-2005 (Harbaugh, 2005) for simulation of the hydrologic cycle. This resulted in the transformation of MODFLOW-2005 to a fully-coupled, integrated hydrologic model that can simulate the complete dynamics and use of ground- and surface-water.

Conjunctive use of ground- and surface-water is evaluated in FMP at “farms” i.e., model sub-regions which require water for irrigated agriculture, but also for natural vegetation and other anthropic activities in urban areas. Farms (called “water units” in FREEWAT) are sets of grid cells for which a complete budget is produced, reporting water demand and supply components.

Demand and supply components of water use are analyzed under demand-driven and supply-constrained conditions. FMP capabilities, indeed, allow to take into account the following components: plant transpiration, evaporation, effective precipitation, surface-water delivery, supplemental pumpage of ground-water, irrigation runoff, and deep percolation through the partially saturated root zone of excess applied irrigation.

All the above-mentioned components are dynamically integrated in FMP according to a priority rank: water demand is firstly tried to be satisfied by “natural” sources (i.e., rainfall infiltration and root uptake). Second priority is given to non-routed (i.e., not requiring a process of conveyance) and routed (i.e., through a streamflow-routing network of surface channels) surface-water deliveries. As a last attempt to satisfy water demand, ground-water pumpage is invoked. Constrains on ground- and surface-water availability can also be defined i.e., by allotments and water rights.

The integrated estimation of plant and soil consumption by infiltrated rainfall and root uptake, as well as surface- and ground-water deliveries, allows estimating a complete budget for each water unit, implicitly linked to ground- and surface-water systems, as plant transpiration and soil evaporation are dependent on the water-level in the uppermost aquifer. The FREEWAT User is allowed to visualized budgets for each water unit through a post-processing tool, which reports conjunctively demand and supply components in a unique plot.

Deficit scenarios can be easily identified, in case water demand cannot be fully satisfied. Should this occur, two optimization options are available: one of them is based on a priority ranking defined by the User to the simulated crops; the second one is based on ranking crops profitability with respect to costs of water supply sources.

FMP implemented in the current version of FREEWAT has the following main limitations and assumptions: (i) spatial distribution of water units cannot vary throughout the simulation; (ii) crop rotation is not allowed; (iii) the possibility to define different types of non-routed deliveries for each water unit is not currently available.

Example of components of the water cycle which can be implemented in an FMP model.

Hanson RT, Boyce SE, Schmid W, Hughes JD, Mehl SM, Leake SA, Maddock T, Niswonger RG (2014). One-Water Hydrologic Flow Model (MODFLOW-OWHM). U.S. Geological Survey, Techniques and Methods 6-A51, 134 p. Harbaugh AW (2005). MODFLOW-2005, The U.S. Geological Survey Modular Ground-Water Model - the Ground-Water Flow Process. U.S. Geological Survey, Techniques and Methods 6-A16, 253 p. Example of components of the water cycle which can be implemented in an FMP model.

Giovanna De Filippis – Rudy Rossetto (Institute of Life Sciences – Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa)

The Case Studies…

Pilot site Follonica acquifer, Italy

The case study of Follonica aquifer is located in a coastal plane in the south of Tuscany (Italy). It is a multilayer aquifer composed by 5 main bodies. For each aquifer horizon geochemical status and granulometric composition has been investigated. The high concentration of heavy metals and arsenic (up to 14.5 mg/L in front of law limit of 0.01 mg/L) is the main problem of the area, considering exploitation of water aquifer for both civil and industrial purposes.
Agricultural consumption and saline intrusion are also issues to be considered. The lower part of the Follonica basin is also a 'Ramsar' protected area.
The aim of the project on this case study is to develop and calibrate a numerical model in order to forecast the evolution of aquifers systems in response to different stresses such as variation in pumping rates, new input of contaminants, identification of the main path of contaminations and of the most vulnerable zones.
Modeling this water body is important to scientists and policy-makers, in order to properly manage hydrological resources and to find solutions for local deterioration of water quality. A wide focus group made by local policy makers and economical stakeholders is taking part to the project and some of them were trained to use FREEWAT plugin.

Pilot side Bremenhaven, Germany

The FREEWAT case study Bremerhaven is focused on an urban area at the German North Sea coast. As on all coastal areas groundwater extractions have to be in equilibrium with the recharge from precipitation and inflow from the land side. Otherwise the risk of seawater intrusion exists, which is additionally forced by density effects. This equilibrium has to be kept under conditions of a changing climate, which may result in a reduced groundwater recharge and a sea-level rise. The EU water framework directive 2000/60 requests a good quantitative and qualitative status of the groundwater bodies. This case study is dedicated to a sensitive part of the groundwater body 4_2501, which has currently this good status with respect to the quantitative and investigated quality parameter (salt content). This good status is precarious in the future for some IPCC climate szenarios, thus measures have to be considered to maintain it.
To support this process a groundwater flow model has been set up using the FREEWAT platform. The model covers an area of 25 x 17,9 km², using a regular grid size of 100 x 100 m. The considered quaternary aquifer system reaches down to 220 m below the surface and is divided into 38 layers of variable thickness. The model further respects 79 extraction wells and 13 rivers and a local varying groundwater recharge. In the FREEWAT case study, possible impacts of a reduced groundwater recharge in combination with a sea-level rise on the aquifer system have been simulated. Starting from the present (year 2010), future scenarios for the years 2040, 2070 and 2100 were modelled.
Pilot Site Palas Basin, Turkey

Palas Basin is a semi-arid closed basin located in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. The major economic activity in the basin is agriculture, therefore both surface and ground water resources are used for irrigation. However, intensive use of water resources threatens the hydrologic sustainability of a lake ecosystem (Tuzla or Palas Lake) located in the basin. In this study, we aimed at understanding the relationships between agricultural water uses in the Palas Basin and water flows to the Tuzla Lake.
In the FREEWAT application, a participatory approach was followed from the beginning of model development. All stakeholders related to Palas Basin were included in the process through seven focus group meetings conducted from July 2016 to June 2017. The objectives and the conceptual model were developed based on inputs from participants. The model grid with 250 m x 250 m resolution was created based on the entire watershed. Two hydrostratigraphic units were identified. The an upper unit was defined as an alluvial aquifer consist of sandy and clayey material with varying thickness based on topography and the lower unit was an aquifer consisting of clayey material with thickness of 100 m. We applied no flow boundaries to the northern, eastern, southern sides. Tuzla Lake was represented with the Lake (LAK) boundary and Değirmen River was modelled as River (RIV) boundary. The source terms defined in the model were rainfall recharge and the sink terms were evapotranspiration and wells. The model was run for one year at steady state conditions. The model successfully simulated the direction of groundwater flow and groundwater levels in the basin. To be able to understand the effect of groundwater use on the lake hydrology, we run three scenarios on groundwater pumping. Analysis showed that that water flows to Tuzla Lake are affected significantly by pumping rates. Increase in groundwater pumping reduces groundwater flows to Tuzla Lake and lowers lake water levels. Protection of hydrologic characteristics of Tuzla Lake is only possible with more control on groundwater abstraction.
As a result, in this study the groundwater component of the hydrologic system in the Palas Basin was simulated, the linkage between surface water and groundwater was represented, and the relationships between water management practices and water inflows to Tuzla Lake were examined. FREEWAT platform provided a means for more realistic evaluation of the conditions in the Palas Basin.
Pilot side Stampriet, Africa

In cooperation with UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the countries of Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa jointly assessed the 87,000 sq. km. Stampriet Transboundary Aquifer System (STAS), which is the only reliable source of water in that area. Based on the assessment, the three countries have launched discussions to establish a multi-country consultation mechanism for identifying ways to jointly manage the aquifer. This consultation mechanism would be the first example of institutionalized transboundary aquifer cooperation in southern Africa. The model that will be developed within the framework of FREEWAT in straight collaboration with the Governments of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa will allow identifying knowledge gaps that still exist on various aquifer aspects, and will be crucial to decision-makers of the STAS countries for monitoring/managing the aquifer.


FREEWAT an opportunity to improve hydrological plans in Canary Islands
The FREEWAT platform was presented to Canary Islands stakeholders, pointing out its potential advantages to improve hydrological plans in the Islands. A meeting was held on May 3, 20017 in the main meeting room, at the Government Delegation building in Las Palmas de Gran Canarias. Miguel Garcia, Zeta Amaltea’s CEO, introduced FREEWAT to more than 25 attendees, comprising people from water management institutions in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, universities, research centers and water users. Private companies dealing with water services in the islands have also attended the meeting. The meeting started with the presentation of FREEWAT, the Amaltea’s case study and a technical introduction to the effects of Climate Change in water resources management, particularly in Canary Islands. Further, a colloquium was held on the actual compliance of European Water directives in Canary Islands, Island’ laws regarding water ownership, private management of waters, insularity related problems and The Macaronesia region particularities. General questions were accepted later. Full article at http://www.freewat.eu/news/freewat-opportunity-improve-hydrological-plans-canary-islands

FREEWAT presented at the conference Towards a Zero Carbon Economy Beyond 2030
The FREEWAT project was presented by PARAGON at the Climate Change conference held at the Univeristy of Malta, La Valletta Campus on May the 29th 2017. The conference was attended by an audience of about 70 stakeholders, moreover had a successful attendance online gathering an audience of about 500 water management experts and stakeholders, who joined the event via live streaming in UK, Belgium, Slovakia, Italy and Malta. If you are interested in finding out about the FREEWAT presentation please download it here in pdf format.

FREEWAT presented at the 12th GIT Italian Congress
The 12th GIT (Geosciences and Information Technology) Italian Congress was held in Gavorrano (Tuscany, central Italy) at the premises of the “Colline Metallifere Grossetane” National Park, between 12th and 14th June 2017. The GIT Congress is an annual event organized by the Italian Geological Association, aiming at allowing the communty of hydrogeologists to exchange ideas and knowledge on different aspects of geosciences, giving priority to proposals and ideas of young hydrogeologists. In the occasion of the 12th GIT Congress, the FREEWAT platform was presented by R. Rossetto and G. De Filippis (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) and by M. Francesconi (UNSCO) within a disciplinary session on “Modeling tools for sustainable management of groundwater resources”. Two oral communications and a poster were dedicated to present the FREEWAT platform capabilities and applications to real case studies.

FREEWAT presented at the 3rd Italian Meeting on Hydrogeology
The 3rd Italian Meeting on Hydrogeology, Flowpath 2017, was held in Cagliari (Sardinia, central Italy) on June 14th – 16th. Flowpath is an event organized every two years by the Italian Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), in order to allow the community of hydrogeologists to exchange ideas and knowledge on different groundwater issues, giving priority to proposals and ideas of young hydrogeologists. The conference aims at: (i) promoting dialogue and exchange of scientific knowledge among young hydrogeologists; (ii) updating all the stakeholders, researchers and professionals on recent challenges in the hydrogeological sciences; (iii) encouraging researchers, professionals and administrators to contribute to the improvement of water resources management.


4th EIP Water conference
This event will be held in Porto, Portugal on 25 September 2017 This annual conference brings together policymakers, national and local government, operators, scientists, researchers, technology companies, financiers, start-ups, SMEs, utilities, city planners, industrial producers, journalists and EU institutions at the European, national and regional level to break down the barriers to innovation in the sector. Further information at http://www.eip-water.eu/porto-wins-competition-host-major-eu-water-innovation-conference-september-2017

This event will be held in Porto, Portugal on September 24th- 30th 2017 For seven days, the City of Porto, in Portugal, will become the European capital of water and innovation. A set of three major events will gather over 1000 participants, including decision makers and technicians of utilities, political leaders, regulators, industry and agriculture representatives, investigators, tech companies, startups, SME’s and investors.

11th International Hydrogeological Congress of Greece
The event will be held in Athens, Greece on October 4th-6th 2017. Hosted by the Hellenic Committee of Hydrogeology, in collaboration with the Association of Geologists and Mining Engineers of Cyprus, it aims at scientists, researchers, students, government officials and experts dealing with water resources and the environment. Its main objective is the exchange of ideas and experience, as well as the dissemination of knowledge relating to the contribution of the natural environment to the protection of aquifers against the qualitative and quantitative degradation and to the limitation of their vulnerability. Within this key event, a two, full-day FREEWAT Training Seminars will be held on 04 & 05 October. Approximately 25 participants are expected to attend each day. For further information please visit the event website at http://www.hydrogeologycongress.gr/index.php?lang=EN

Project Coordinator
Dr. Rudy Rossetto

Institute of Life Sciences Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Via S. Cecilia 3 56127 Pisa Italy
Website: www.freewat.eu
Twitter: @H2020FREEWAT
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/grps?home=&gid=8393137&trk=groups_guest_about-h-logo