PROJECTE Demonstration of water loops with innovative regenerative business models for the Mediterranean region (HYDROUSA)


European Union EU Innovation project CIRC-02-2016-2017 (Water in the context of the circular economy) (Grant Agreement No. 776643)




National Technical University of Athens


Gianluigi Buttiglieri


Sara Rodriguez-Mozaz, Lucia Gusmaroli, José Luis Balcázar, Ignasi Rodriguez-Roda, Maite Pijuan, Carles Borrego


474.300 € (total almost 10 M€)

HYDROUSA will provide innovative, regenerative and circular solutions for (1) nature-based water management of Mediterranean coastal areas, closing water loops; (2) nutrient management, boosting the agricultural and energy profile; and (3) local economies, based on circular value chains. The services provided lead to a win-win-win situation for the economy, environment and community within the water-energy-food-employment nexus.

The following water streams will be addressed: sewage, rainwater, groundwater, humidity and seawater. After the appropriate treatment, these water sources could be used for household and agricultural activities. The various water treatments methods are based on “biomimicry”, nature-inspired and other low-tech solutions combined with state-of-the-art sensor technology and IT to create a safe, reliable and hygienic freshwater supply.

The production of fresh water for agriculture will create regional jobs and a host of economic benefits. A total of 13 innovative solutions will be installed and tracked over a period of several years across 4 demonstration sites in Lesvos, Mykonos, Tinos and Greece.

The involvement of affected population and stakeholder groups is a major focal point of HYDROUSA, which will ensure the successful implementation and continued innovation even after the project end. A further 25 replication actions (including their funding) will be developed worldwide as part of the project.

HYDROUSA seeks to close all water cycles at a local level with existing resources, promoting the concept of the decentralized saving, treatment and reuse of water, materials and energy. The project has every potential of triggering radical changes in agriculture and water management in general.

ICRA in HYDROUSA will analyse selected organic micropollutants compounds along the water cycle and in the edible part of selected vegetables (irrigated with reclaimed water). Additionally, bacterial antibiotic resistance in the soil will be evaluated to determine the potential effects of wastewater fertigation.

ICRA will evaluate the performance of the solutions, identifying the most adequate reuse train, apply environmental risk assessment and evaluate food safety issues. Finally, ICRA will be also responsible for transferability to potential sites in the Mediterranean, in particular of Spain.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 776643