Sensors developed with Czech support help protect water consumers in Europe

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Water pollution is endangering more lives annually than all forms of violence and war. Accessible sources of clean water are limited. Less than 1 percent of the planet's freshwater is available to us. The international Aqua3S project proposes innovative solutions to water facilities, as well as the standardization of current existing sensor technologie.

These technical solutions are incorporated in an integrated online platform (Aqua3S platform) resulting in a very effective detection system in which  sensors’ measurements are supported by satellite images, videos from drones, and social media observations from citizens. The installation of sensors at strategic points in the water network enables continuous real-time monitoring of the entire water system.

We have developed a mid-infrared sensor using the photoacoustic technique for real-time monitoring of ammonia in aquatic environments.

Mauro Pereira

“We have developed a mid-infrared sensor using the photoacoustic technique for real-time monitoring of ammonia in aquatic environments. Our sensor has remarkably rapid response and a fully automated system that enables the online transmission of measured data to the aqua3S platform, “said Mauro Pereira (Khalifa University & FZU), who directs the FZU contribution to the project.


Aqua3S sensors are deployed at key points in order to cover the maximum possible number of substances and send a warning signal in case any of the targets is detected above the safe concentration. The combination of the sensors is able to detect new substances and reduce false alarms.

High concentrations of ammonia can pose health risks and therefore, it is crucial to monitor and maintain ammonia levels properly. The technical contribution of the FZU team, composed by Apostolos Apostolakis and Mauro Pereira, focused on the use of sophisticated numerical techniques to improve the design of the ammonia sensor.


The FZU scientists have participated in all the phases of development,  the collection of measurements and the integration of the sensors with the aqua3s platform. Last but not least, the FZU team led the overall task dedicated on the development of the novel sensors within aqua3S in which Institute of Communications and Computer Systems from Greece and the company mirSense from France were involved.

Aqua3S approach amplifies the surveillance mechanisms and increases the post-incident investigation capabilities of every user in different command levels. For example, the fast deployment of robotic systems equipped with sensors in remote areas, besides the early warning it offers, strengthens the accountability of the perpetrators providing the Law Enforcement Agencies with the proper shreds of evidence to bring them to justice. Consequently, water resources are safer, more accessible and well managed through an integrated platform.

The project Enhancing Standardisation strategies to integrate innovative technologies for Safety and Security in existing water networks (aqua3S) has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme for a total amount of €5,997,067.88. The project involves 23 partners (six academic and research organisations, one water authority, five water utilities, one public safety agency, four technical companies, one information dissemination company, one specialised in ethical and legal issues and four emergency service providers).