MAR2PROTECT will help save the world’s groundwater from contamination through an innovative and holistic approach. This research project brings together two main strategies, the M-AI-R tool and LivingLabs, to create new approaches for safeguarding groundwater as it becomes more vulnerable in the face of climate change.
The tool M-AI-R will be placed in at-risk aquifers and receive real-time information from sensors, aiming at quantifying global change/climate change impacts on groundwater. At the same time, LivingLabs are being set up in each aquifer region, creating a space for interactions in which stakeholders are at the center of the innovation process.
There are seven demo-sites located across Africa and Europe; South Africa, Tunisia, Netherlands, and Spain are each home to one demo-site, while Portugal is home to two. These sites have been carefully chosen by their success in previous projects as well as the climatic conditions, water sources, types of pollution, Managed Aquifer Recharge schemes and socio-political contexts.
The project kicked off in December of 2022 and will run for four years. It is funded by the Horizon Europe programme with a total cost of €4.143.681,25. MAR2PROTECT will usher in a new generation of Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) that engages stakeholders and enhances both groundwater quality and quantity.
Innovation experiments with stakeholders in real-life settings
A tailored methodology is currently being deployed in each demo-site to establish the LivingsLabs. These LivingLabs bring together stakeholders from citizens and civil society organizations to scientists, public sector agencies, and industry leaders. The LivingLabs consist of a series of workshops that allow stakeholders to provide feedback on the effectiveness, suitability and replication potential of the implemented technologies. Using this co-creative approach, stakeholders will also help the project identify the best ways for local societal engagement such as raising community awareness and preventing water contamination, beyond the mere implementation of the project technologies. In this way, MAR2PROTECT will carry out cutting-edge research and trigger changes in a real-life context. The first LivingLab will be launched in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy on 5 December 2023.
A multidisciplinary consortium
MAR2PROTECT brings together 11 partners from 7 countries to form a diverse and dynamic consortium. coordinated by FCT NOVA. It involves 7 Research and Technology Organisations (CIIMAR, CETAQUA, AQUATEC, IHE, IT, ISSBAT and SUWI), 3 universities (FCT NOVA, UNIBO and KTU), and 1 technology transfer entity (FEUGA). It also includes 3 large water utilities (AdTA, Dunea and HERA), 1 university (FHNW) and a public administration (City of Cape Town) as associated partners.