SWIM:AI: Data-driven prediction of water quality at bathing sites

Heavy rainfall causes emergency overflows of sewer systems into the surface water. This is one of the main sources of pollution for urban rivers and streams in which more and more city dwellers may want to swim. Municipalities, which are usually responsible for the operation of bathing sites, are faced with the challenge of minimising the health risks caused by the flood of pathogens and other hygienically relevant microorganisms.

The monthly microbiological monitoring required by law is usually not sufficient to guarantee consistent hygienic safety at such bathing sites influenced by the sewage system.

In light of this, KWB developed a model for predicting the hygienic water quality in rivers and put it to use in Berlin. A statistical computer model is fed with daily digital data of water bodies and rainfall data in Berlin provided by the Berliner Wasserbetriebe and the Berlin Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection. Since 2019, the residents of Berlin have been able to view to the current bathing water quality at selected bathing spots via www.badestellen.berlin.de. This forecast model was awarded the Berlin AQUA AWARD in the summer of 2019.

This forecasting system is transferable to other regions, which is why we’re now extending our solution for Berlin to interested municipalities operating bathing sites elsewhere. The base data for this system is data from the water body and rainfall. Through several individually selectable service variants, we support municipalities in the initial set up of the necessary data collection, in the collection and processing of water monitoring data up to the installation and operation of the forecasting system. Additionally, we also offer to install and operate the online monitoring probes for bathing waters, which provide the data incorporated into the forecasting system.

The forecasting system is currently being set up on the Seine river in Paris as part of the KWB-led EU project digital-water.city. It’s intended to help ensure pristine water quality for the swimming competitions of the 2024 Olympic Games.

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