Digitalization and networking in the water industry

Many assets of communities and cities – our water and sanitation infrastructure – are buried invisibly in the ground. In the past, these communal supply and disposal facilities were planned and dimensioned for long time horizons – according to the expected population development, assumptions on industrialization and precipitation influences. However, it has become apparent that the tangible consequences of climate change, changes in consumer behavior or demographic trends are already creating new demands that existing systems can no longer keep up with.

The solution: supply and disposal systems must be able to adapt quickly and flexibly to changing conditions. In addition to a good database and corresponding IT tools, this also requires intelligent machines and networked plant controls in order to be on the safe side for investments in the future as well as for operating tasks today.



Of Machines, Equipments and Organizations

The intelligent control of machines and plants has long been state of the art. Inspired by the developments in the environment of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT), machines and systems are made even more intelligent with the current possibilities of comprehensive web-based data collection and analysis.

A cross-system integration of networks in infrastructure systems based on this enables a more flexible and efficient operational management of municipal network structures, making them safer and thus future-secured.


Informative data form the basic framework for future-proof and efficient planning and operation processes in municipal infrastructures. The digital transformation creates new and advantageous possibilities of data acquisition and evaluation.

MUNICIPAL 4.0 offers the following benefits::

  • Central recording and structuring of heterogeneous data
  • Simultaneous analysis of local and cross-system information
  • Generation of operating figures with a higher significance in a clearly arranged presentation (dashboard principle)
  • More efficient workflow processes in operation management
  • Increasing the reliability of planning data for investment decisions through greater data depth and density
  • Investment and operating cost reduction through event-adapted component, object and system planning and control
  • Integration of local precipitation data as real-time values ​​for all aspects of water management issues
  • Better condition monitoring using process simulations based on real-time data

Products and Solutions

MUNICIPAL 4.0 stands for the combination of modern, web-based technologies with a comprehensive engineering and solution methodology in municipal infrastructure systems.

It combines existing digital-based solutions with new developments to make infrastructure future-proof with the help of modern networking systems. Examples of this are smart machines e.g. with Intelli products, the efficient use of data in the form of cockpits, dashboards or complete channel management solutions based on simulations.

Likewise, the further development of web-based software solutions, such as SCADA.web, KANiO.web or NiRa.web in the focus of MUNICIPAL 4.0.


In Germany, about 6-7 billion euros are invested annually in urban water management in the renovation or new construction of structures and equipment (Source: Flyer UBA „Wasserwirtschaft in Deutschland” – Water supply and sanitation, as of April 2014, figures for 2010). Of this sector alone, 4.5 billion euros are accounted for by wastewater disposal. The German wastewater infrastructure has developed in the past socially and spatially balanced and has grown over many decades as a central system. This ensures today a nationwide disposal with high drainage safety. This is accompanied by an extremely long technical and economic life span. The consequence is a lack of flexibility – an obstacle to the drastic changes (such as industrialization, changing consumer behavior and demographic shifts) that will face sewer and sewage plant operators in the future. The same applies to the water supply and other infrastructure sectors, such as Energy supply and transport systems. At the same time, despite numerous predictive models, unexpected precipitation events occur again and again and thus capacity problems in channel systems and peripheral devices, such as, for example, Road gullies.

A cross-divisional or cross-departmental exchange of information or even operational data via a data platform to the use of data services on the Internet for an actually possible preventive management has not existed yet, although it would bring a tremendous support and significant improvement to the operational management. In many municipalities and cities, the already existing measurements provide extremely large amounts of data on water management issues that are, however, not sufficiently targeted. Even within the municipalities and cities, these existing data are hardly collected, evaluated and then processed and used for the holistic management of sewer network, rainwater tanks and sewage treatment plants. In particular, the most important input variable in water management, precipitation, often finds its way into surveys and calculations only as a statistical mean, without sufficient consideration of local features, although services are now available, e.g. Provide precipitation data as an archive or as a prediction for local considerations via Internet access (e.g.

The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy has selected the HST project “MUNICIPAL 4.0 – Customized Services for Water Management” for funding in the technology program “Smart Service World – Internet-based Services for the Economy“.

The funded project

As one of 16 winning projects of the BMWi “Smart Service World” competition (BMWi), the consortium of three companies and three university institutes led by HST Systemtechnik addresses the challenges of flexible infrastructure systems and creates the necessary digital preconditions for water management.

The main objectives are the standardization of data acquisition and transmission from heterogeneous sources, the development of web-based data platforms for the collection, structuring and conversion of different data / data formats and the development of user-friendly application tools in the areas of design / engineering, benchmarking, object / network monitoring, Data fusion, procurement, integrated process chain and operational optimization.

In the light of increasing security issues, special attention will be paid to the development of the necessary IT security concepts as a prerequisite for a successful ISMS, as well as to the analysis of legal aspects relating to cloud computing.

To keep updated with the latest news, developments and opinions on MUNICIPAL 4.0, a XING group has been set up. Visit us on Xing and become a member so that you do not miss the news when it comes to digitization in municipal water management.

The Partners


HST Systemtechnik GmbH & Co. KG (Project Coordinator)
Heinrichsthaler Straße 8, 59872 Meschede
Contact: Günter Müller-Czygan
Tel: 0291 9929 44; E-Mail:

Pegasys GmbH & Co. KG
Heinrichsthaler Straße 8, 59872 Meschede
Contact: Uwe Frigger
Tel: 0291 9929 50, E-Mail:

SüdWasser GmbH
Bauhofstraße 5, 91052 Erlangen
Contact: Arne Nath
Tel: 09131 93307 5512, E-Mail:


IFAK Institut für Automation und Kommunikation e.V.
Werner-Heisenberg-Straße 1, 39106 Magdeburg
Contact: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Jumar
Tel: 0391 9901 410, E-Mail:

GECOC Cologne University of Applied Sciences
Campus Gummersbach, Steinmüllerallee 1, 51643 Gummersbach
Contact: Prof. Dr. Michael Bongards
Tel: 02261 8196 6419, E-Mail:

IEEM gGmbH, Inst. f. Umwelttechnik u. Management
a.d. Universität Witten/Herdecke
Alfred-Herrhausen-Straße 44, 58455 Witten
Contact: Prof. Dr. Dr. mult. Karl-Ulrich Rudolph
Tel: 02302 9140 10, E-Mail:

Pilot Projects

An integral part of the funding project KOMMUNAL 4.0 is the testing of planned developments based on real projects in cooperation with municipal network and property operators as so-called associated partners. For this purpose, several co-operation agreements have already been made during the application (for example, Ingolstadt city, Hagen city, Siegen city) to provide pilot applications such as, for example, “Simulation and Benchmarking of Water Management Objects”, “Energy and Heat Analysis of Waste Water Flows”, “Linkage of Wastewater Treatment and Wastewater Treatment in Wastewater Intakes to Wastewater Treatment Plants in Wintertime” or “Sink Box Management” to be developed and tested in the real application.

Additional pilot projects are planned so that we are looking for additional associative partners who want to modernize their management organization due to their network structure and the number of special structures and who have a particular potential for KOMMUNAL 4.0. Specially addressed are the municipalities, which, as participants in this flagship project supported by the German government, together with the other project partners, want to play an active role in the digitization of the water industry and play a pioneering role.

Typical applications for MUNICIPAL 4.0 are:

  • Overloaded sewage treatment plants and rain basins
  • Activation of storage volume / reduction of discharges / overflows
  • Networking of throttle bodies or discharge regulators
  • Structured management
  • Network-wide organized monitoring, alerting and reporting
  • Integration of precipitation data for monitoring / control / maintenance of special structures and networks
  • Big Data: Automated evaluation of various process data for rapid evaluation of processes and conditions


When participating in the pilot projects, the associated partners themselves contribute their own resources. If a certain amount of technical investment is required (eg sensors, automation equipment, etc.), in many cases it can be assumed that separate funding will be available.​

Benefits for participating municipalities

Municipalities as associative partners receive the following services from the project consortium during the funding period:

  • Create an IoT configurator for your water management facilities
  • Create a study / potential analysis for efficiency gains and management
  • Recommendations for carrying out a security analysis of your cyber-physical systems for the implementation of the new IT security law in accordance with §8a BSI-Law
  • Over the period of the grant, associate partners will have free access to all freely available application developments and may submit further proposals for their own application tools, which will be developed free of charge, as long as they are covered by the project budget
  • Invitation to the workshops for the exchange of ideas and ideas on the subject of MUNICIPAL 4.0 as well as in-house workshops on IT security
  • Assistance in finding and applying for additional funding for the pilot project
  • Associated partners receive an invitation to participate in the “Netzwerkinitiative MUNICIPAL 4.0”, an interest grouping of selected municipalities, associations, research institutes and companies that jointly discuss trends, challenges and solutions of digitization in municipal water management and set standards in the form of joint publications.

In return, the participating municipalities agree to contribute the following services to the project:

  • Provision of general plans for water supply and sanitation with central and special structures
  • Provision of equipment inventory and site inspection
  • Participation in events as part of the funding project MUNICIPAL 4.0 and the networking initiative MUNICIPAL 4.0

Associated partners undertake to support the MUNICIPAL 4.0 project to the best of their abilities and publicly allow cooperation partners to participate in the respective pilot projects. to report on the project website:

Inquiries and ideas for pilot projects can be addressed to the responsible technical office in your area or to the head of the project Mr. Günter Müller-Czygan.

The Union

In order to permanently and successfully implement all activities and the associated technical solutions to the topic of KOMMUNAL 4.0 and thus digitization in municipal infrastructures, a strong network of interests consisting of municipalities, science and industry is required. For this purpose, the association KOMMUNAL 4.0 is currently in formation.

In addition to the networking of interested municipalities, universities, companies and other organizations, the association will also train, seminars, congresses and meetings a continuous education and development in terms of key topics such as smart machines, efficient data analysis (Smart and Big Data), object and Ensure grid management and other innovation concepts as well as their technical implementation. Furthermore, KOMMUNAL 4.0 e.V. will carry out corresponding public relations work (magazines, digital networks, social media channels) to promote the topic of digitization in municipal infrastructure facilities.

The association is currently under construction and we would be pleased if you already show your interest in this unique KOMMUNAL 4.0 network and contact Mr. Müller-Czygan. We are happy to provide you with more information.

Here you will find up-to-date information on the KOMMUNAL 4.0 e.V .. membership applications are already accepted! Below you can download the registration form with membership fees. Join us and become one of the first members of this unique network!

Registration form with contribution regulations

information material