Smart water in Darmstadt

Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstdt and Digitalstadt Darmstadt develop the "Smart Water" project

Back to the overview

Science City Darmstadt focuses on Smart Water – a project for water, integrated urban development and climate resilience.

Darmstadt’s water management is getting smart. Under the project title “Smart Water”, a major collaboration project involving many Darmstadt stakeholders from science, business and interest groups was launched this week. Darmstadt’s water management system is becoming smart. This week, a major collaboration project was launched, called Smart Water, with many Darmstadt stakeholders from academia, business and interest groups. They are now developing ideas on how Darmstadt’s water capacity can be managed more intelligently than ever before. By offering a wide range of opportunities to participate, Darmstadt residents will also be encouraged to develop ideas for their city’s smart water.

‘Smart Water Darmstadt is a new measure for a climate-resilient city,’ explained Darmstadt’s Lord Mayor Jochen Partsch at the online kick-off event: ‘We currently have a new record in Hesse with almost 200 hours of sunshine in March and, at the same time, the very worrying negative value of just seven litres of rainwater per square metre. Water is an essential basis of existence – and it is disappearing more and more. So over the next five years, we will be rethinking our water management and investing €14.7 million in funding raised from the “Smart Cities made in Germany” programme into one of the most important climate issues of our time: water. To this end, we are combining our digital and climate target strategies more strongly than ever before – with the aim of generating resilience.’

The issue is complex. After all, Lord Mayor Partsch went on to say, it is not a matter of finding that there is no rain. Rather, it is a matter of designing and implementing specific measures. How can we better manage this dwindling resource? Where is there still untapped potential for water extraction? Three focus groups were presented for this purpose. Their task is to formulate water-related challenges and devise strategies for overcoming them. Their core tool for this is digital and other innovative technologies. These technologies can be used to work on multidimensional issues and simulate solution scenarios in order to determine, for example, what needs to change during sustained dry periods in the future. In recent years, Smart City Darmstadt and other city management companies have been able to gain experience with digital concepts in order to manage public services more intelligently; for instance, waste, public transport and the energy supply of street lights. Together with the Office for Economic Affairs and Urban Development, Smart City Darmstadt and Heag Holding are therefore responsible for this project.

‘Climate change has long since arrived in Darmstadt and the state authorities are forecasting even longer periods of drought, increased heat and less precipitation,’ explained Environmental Officer Michael Kolmer. ‘We need clever solutions to become more climate-resilient in what is already an acute situation. Our starting position for this is good. Thanks to our integrated climate protection concept, we have made climate protection our top priority and can quickly tackle the issue of smart water.’

How can rainwater be better used? Can wells and cisterns be revived or modernised? Is it possible to reduce the water consumption of every household and at the same time water public green spaces intelligently so that flora and fauna can grow, thrive and cool despite periods of drought? How can cooling effects be generated with reflective and heated facades in urban centres? Is it possible to divert exactly that energy? And how can corrosion and other effects in the sewer system be prevented during heavy rain events if it has previously been dry for a long time? Can water masses from hail and heavy rain be stored? These and many other questions will be discussed by the focus groups in workshops until autumn this year. The groups bring together representatives with relevant prior knowledge from science, business, city administration and management, as well as civil stakeholders. Head of Digitalisation and Education in Darmstadt, Holger Klötzner, will also be there: ‘Digitalisation helps us to control technically complex processes more intelligently. In the coming months, we hope to receive a lot of impetus from the focus groups and residents of Darmstadt for the intelligent use of water in our city. We will then implement many of the citizen- and focus-group approaches from 2023 onwards.’


Smart Water Darmstadt – smart city projects for integrated urban development and climate resilience is being implemented in the context of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) funding line ‘Smart Cities Model Projects’ and ‘Smart Cities made in Germany’. The goal is to build climate-resilient structures in Darmstadt with the help of digital and smart applications. Against the backdrop of increasing droughts and heavy rain events, the focus is on the topic of ‘water in the city’. The project aims to be holistic, collaborative and socially acceptable. It thereby supports Darmstadt’s integrated urban development and network city character.

  • • Further information:

Field of action