Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale

Circular management of water resources

About the project

Water utilities and water users can regenerate and reuse urban and industrial wastewater, stormwater, or saltwater, and recover materials and energy from sewage sludge. We study the policy, management and industrial engineering capabilities that enable the circular management of water resources, a means to mitigate the shortage and efficiency issues that affect water, energy and materials, and to create new supply chains and business opportunities for water users and utilities.

Principal Investigators:  Enrico Cagno, Paola Garrone, Marco Macchi

Researcher team:  Enrico Cagno, Paola Garrone, Philippe Leveque, Marco Macchi, Alessandra Neri, Felipe Repetto, Andrea Trianni (EXT)

Funders: European Commission (EC), Lombardy Region

Duration: 2017-onwards

Partners: Multiple


Innovations belonging to the circular economy paradigm have the potential to mitigate the water shortage issues faced by many world regions, through the regeneration of urban and industrial wastewater, storm water, and salt water and their reuse in sectors such as agriculture, industry, public green. The paradigm also supports promising solutions for the recovery of scarce materials (e.g., phosphorus) and energy from wastewater and its sludge. However, appropriate regulatory measures are necessary to create an environment where water utilities and water users decide to deploy and adopt the circular water innovations. The research will investigate the drivers and the barriers to water circular management. In the policy domain, it will model the role of regulatory mechanisms that incentivize resource efficiency, the diffusion of wastewater recovery and water reuse, a scarcity-reflective water planning. In the management and industrial engineering domains, it will investigate economic opportunities and feasibility for water utilities to diversify and to develop new supply chains for wastewater, and for water users to achieve a higher water, energy and materials efficiency level, whilst minimizing environmental and societal impact.

The main projects that have been funded from 2017 on this topic are: a) Project Ô – Demonstration of Planning and Technology Tools for a Circular, Integrated and Symbiotic Use of Water (competitive funding; European Comission’s Horizon 2020 program, H2020-IND-CE-2016-17); b) PerFORM WATER 2030 – Platform for Integrated Operation Research and Management of Public Water towards 2030 (competitive funding; European Regional Development Fund and Regione Lombardia Accordi per la Ricerca e l’Innovazione, ID 240750).


  • Cagno E., Garrone P.M., Neri A., Bozzi M.S. (2018). Analysing the Relationship between Wastewater Utility and Civil Society Stakeholders: First Evidence from Two Cases. SDEWES 2018, Palermo, Italy, September 30 – October 4.
  • Garrone, P., Grilli, L., Groppi, A., & Marzano, R. (2018). Barriers and drivers in the adoption of advanced wastewater treatment technologies: a comparative analysis of Italian utilities. Journal of Cleaner Production.  171, Supplement, S69-S78.


  •  IRIS (Italy), Aalborg Universitet (Denmark)
  • Università degli Studi di Torino (Italy)
  • Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (Spain)
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique- CNRS (France)
  • Nanoquimia S.L. (Spain)
  • HEIM.ART Kulturverein-flussig (Austria)
  • Socamex S.A.U. (Spain)
  • Technion Israel Institute of Technology – TECHNION (Israel)
  • Vertech Group (France)
  • EKSO SRL (Italy)
  • Universidade de Aveiro (Portugal)
  • Symbiosis Center (Denmark)
  • Olimpias d.o.o. (Croatia)
  • Municipality of Eilat (Israel)
  • Acquedotto Pugliese (Italy)
  • Regione Puglia (Italy)
  • Hochschule Rhein-Waal (Germany)
  • National Center for Mariculture (Israel)
  • Particula Group d.o.o. (Croatia)
  • UNI – Ente Nazionale Italiano di Unificazione (Italy)
  • Cap Holding
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR IRSA)
  • Genegis Gi, Hydrogen For Development Of Environmental Projects (HYDEP)
  • M.M.I., Passavant Impianti, SEAM Engineering
  • Societa’ Italiana Acetilene e Derivati (S.I.A.D.)
  • Università degli Studi di Milano – Bicocca
  • Veolia Water Technologies Italia
  • VOMM Impianti e Processi