In the past years, our 3 NAIADES pilots have been busy developing innovative smart water management solutions to respond to the pressing challenges related to water in the city. Through a series of brief interviews, we catch up with the pilots representatives on the progress of their work and the lessons learned so far.
In this interview, we checked in with Maurizio Rossi, from the Carouge Pilot:
Carouge has been active in the development of smart solutions to improve the watering of flower pots in the city. How have the stakeholders responded to these new solutions?
There is a lot of interest around the use of smart solutions. The stakeholders, in particular the gardeners who are using the system on a daily basis, are happy to have an additional tool in their toolbox, which they can leverage to improve the quality of their work while at the same time contributing to the city’s efforts towards a more sustainable use of resources. The NAIADES ecosystem provides them with unique features such as the ability to know the current and future watering needs of the plants, in a precise and measurable way. As dedicated professionals with a real passion for their work – a work which by the way is much appreciated by the citizens and regularly awarded – they appreciate the increased level of awareness made available through NAIADES.
What are the challenges you have encountered at the level of the Carouge pilot and how have you addressed them ?
I would say – and this is in some ways related to the previous answer - that one of the main challenges was the problem of handling and making a sense out of the new data that was becoming available thanks to the project. One could naively think that deploying sensors to measure the soil humidity, or the chemical composition of water in wading pools is a straightforward process that leads naturally to an increased level of awareness. In reality, it’s a much more complex path, on the one hand because sensors need to be calibrated monitored very closely during the initial stages since malfunctions or other issues are always possible, and on the other hand and most importantly, because the raw values must be given a meaning. In other words, observation must be transformed in knowledge. For instance, the raw soil moisture data alone is not enough to tell you if flowers are in good shape. That information has to be integrated and completed with other elements, the most important of which being the gardeners’ direct observation based on experience. NAIADES, with its holistic approach, enables this knowledge-building process by integrating all this information and by enriching it even further with advanced tools such as artificial intelligence.