Do Nature-Based Solutions Work? These New Case Studies Will Verify It!

with 🎙️ Silvana Di Sabatino, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Bologna, and coordinator of the OPERANDUM project.   

💧 The OPERANDUM Project aims at delivering the tools and methods for the validation of Nature-Based Solutions as a way to enhance resilience in European rural and natural territories by reducing hydro-meteorological risks.

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What we covered:

🍏 What Open Air Laboratories are – and how they revisit the concept of Living Labs 

🌱 How nature-based solutions are put to work in specific examples, and how they are monitored, evaluated and replicated

🧮 How OPERANDUM may enable and facilitate the market uptake of Blue-Green approaches by working on their business plan and replication packages

🧮 How Computational Fluid Dynamics and numeric models are a strong support to the OPERANDUM research project

🍏 How nature-based solutions are much more than the “Hippie Science” image they may convey

🍏 How important communication, pedagogy, and vulgarisation are for NBS to be widely accepted

🌱 How development stages of blue-green approaches differ from one country to another

🌱 How nature-based solutions induce a shift of paradigm, from CAPEX intensive grey approaches to OPEX intensive blue-green alternatives

🍏 The outlook on nature-based solutions, bringing all the stakeholders together, sharing an open platform, the importance of regulations… and much more!

🔥 … and of course, we concluded with the 𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 🔥 

Teaser: Do Nature-Based Solutions Work?


🔗 Check the OPERANDUM Website

🔗 Send your warmest regards to Silvana on LinkedIn

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Infographic: Do Nature-Based Solutions Work?


Quotes: Do Nature-Based Solutions Work?


Full Transcript:

These are computer-generated, so expect some typos 🙂

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Antoine Walter: Hi Silvana. Welcome to the show.

Silvana Di Sabatino: Hello. Thank you.

Antoine Walter: I’m very happy because we have a fascinating topic on the plate for today, but just before that fascinating topic, before our chit chat, before hitting the record button, you mentioned. More or similarly trendy and, and fascinating topic, which is a Nobel prize.

And I think you have some elements here and some Italian prides too, to share above the.

Silvana Di Sabatino: Yeah. These are very important days because finally the Nobel prize for physics went to three people that have done a important contribution to the earth of climate and complex systems. Especially the one on complex systems went to an Italian physicist.

So I’m particularly proud of. To see how physics can contribute to society. And the fact that climate is addressed to also within this discipline explicitly is an important step forward

Antoine Walter: to give everyone a bit of background here. Your also an Italian physicist, you are a professor at the university of bologna.

Yeah. That’s a bit what you’re doing at the university

Silvana Di Sabatino: of bologna. Yeah. Yes. Actually I’m, I’m a full professor in that was like physics to the university of bologna, to department of physics and astronomy and one of the few female actually in this field and in this role in Italy fortunately, or unfortunately.

Let’s say professors at university in Italy are very few in this topic. And this is, because the importance of the contribution of physics to the society as it been. Not the taco, the with with the, with the, probably with the, the necessity or the, with the care that this distributing married.

Antoine Walter: And how did you get interested into?

Silvana Di Sabatino: Well, this is an interesting question. I was just studying physics and so I started in 1987 and it was my third year. And everyone around me were talking about other aspects of physics, let’s say physics so matter or I energy physics. And I didn’t, those disciplines didn’t satisfy me.

And I thought that I wanted to study physics because I wanted to study nature. Physics comes from Greek. That means nature. And also I wanted to study the way we could the change the way of thinking. And I wanted to do in a formal way and looking around, I thought that I wanted to contribute to society.

And that’s what that was here is the place where we live and that’s that’s will be where I will direct to my studies.

Antoine Walter: There’s something which which just pushed my curiosity. Reading the operandum what site. And we will talk about operandum in a second, but in your portrait there on, on the website, there was, this mentioned that you tried to bridge fundamental science with applied science.

And I thought that’s really interesting. So, so what are you doing?

Silvana Di Sabatino: Well, we will talk in a bit is a lot of European product that have attracted more than 12 million uterus including 26 partners in Europe and in China and Australia, where we use demonstration sites that we will call open that laboratory.

So we’ll come back to these in a moment and to. The idea is that to really construct the efficiency or the proof of the efficacy of natural based solutions to mitigate idle methodological risks, what it means that differently from the usage of natural based solutions in Albany. Where often there is no, there isn’t this requirement of a really.

Having an engineering type of role in the sense that we use dumps to, have a reservoir. So, or to block a order to control the river flow. Now we would like to really promote a change of paradigm on how we do engineering, using nature. So for doing that. You really need to verify that your solution is effective because if I’m somebody sitting at the bottom of a land slide.

Yeah. And and Teresa, moving land in front of me, I really need to be sure that my solution works. So it’s extremely challenging than that. What we, when we use not to be solutions in a rural context so on no. No. So let’s say to protect the cost time to protect from river flooding, just to mention some, we have to engineer eyes.

I don’t know if it’s good work. And so to transform. What nature teaches us into an engineering approach, but cautious of the interaction with the citizens and the stakeholders. Florida promoting the substance through knowledge. So that’s where the evidence that the comes from, let’s say hard science, that is what is this type of mechanism that we use is monitoring is so uploading data and to also be able to put in a new medical model.

Okay. So to use the scientific method for this specific application. So in this way, we are not talking only of co-benefits, which is very important, but the central in. In a four in our product and also in our sister projects that tackle the same problem. We are three projects working together to solve this easy, to push science in order to proof in order to prove or give some credibility over the methods that we propose.

Sorry for the long answer. But.

Antoine Walter: There’s a lot of deconstructing what you just explained, but let me just start by verifying if I get it right. So that means that if you look at nature based solutions quite often you hear about the welcomes side effects, what it would bring on top of solving the problem itself.

And that is by the way, your topic we’ve addressed on that microphone. A couple of times, one of them being with Michael Stanley Gallisdorfer when we were speaking about. Rereading the rivers, but if I get two rights, that is the part where everybody agrees on there will come side effects, but the core of it is.

Does it one-to-one replace hard engineering and that is what you’re trying to prove. Do I understand that’s right.

Silvana Di Sabatino: Yes or no? Partially, when we talk about natural based solution, we talk about green, blue or hybrid. Okay. So green, blue, whatever is related to to vegetation or to water as a system together or hybrid one is integrated.

Okay. Probably for the next years, integration with the gray will be sold to go towards hybrid. It could be the way forward but it is, uh, it is important, that way. We really replaced the typical engineer. You are really sure of the month and also of that solution over time, because if a specific solution that is based on nature, I will make some examples.

If you wish of the solutions we are testing and demonstrating in operandum they have to The connotation of good health in a, so monotonous is really important and the Montanans is more demanding than the typical engineering. So it breeds or although they have to be maintained as well, but nature specifically.

So it should be a close control of it. I don’t know if I answer your questions,

Antoine Walter: but fully answer my question. I think if we take some examples that can illustrate that if I get right. What you said were mentioning this landslide a bit before. And if I recall, right, correct me, if I’m wrong, you have one of your open air laboratory, which is.

Which is dealing with this landslide. Maybe you have more than one, but maybe I mentioned though that the word open-air laboratory before going to the example, can we maybe define what that okay.

Silvana Di Sabatino: I’m particularly proud of your question on open OPNET laboratory because that’s been a brand for open on them.

Didn’t exist. The old only existed in. Very sparse in the literature. So we are particularly proud of that. We wanted to find. The concept that built on the existing concept of living labs, but tailored for the objective that our natural B solution have to have against hydrometallurgical risks. In a way that the visitation of the living lab that you, we all know in context,

Antoine Walter: but w with Marc Barra, from REGREEN, about the Urban Living Labs.


Silvana Di Sabatino: So this is in a way an evolution or a new let’s say site or of the living lab, but really customized for hydro-meteorological risks. So if we. And then recall, what are the ingredients of a living lab is a place. It can be a visual place or a physical space where there is a connection between the scientists working together also with people.

So, where the solution, maybe the numerical simulation I wanted to make is co-designed together with. The people that have an interest for that solution. So let’s say that I wanted to change the setting. So the environment I want to build the park or build a new second part. It is very important that I consult and also hear how.

People wanted to have the space where they live. So this is at the heart somehow or the living lab. So in a way technical solutions, but those that have the technical solution work together with the people. Okay. So let’s say it, take this for a moment as a common feature. So then we translate in a rural context and there.

Let’s say, as I mentioned earlier, we need to make a step forward. I wanted that to solution. Make people also say. Okay. And if I promote that solution, I’m a hundred percent in boar percent sure that they may work overtime. Okay. So how will we build this? Is that our opener laboratory will have the natural based solution.

The specific solution that these problem. It’s a specific piece of problems specific. So there is no one, a general solution, but it’s specific. And then it owned it. That is the consultation for, with the stakeholders. So the London. Order those, um, business players that have an interest in there and try to understand how to modify the environment, still protecting from, you know, from a flooding that can be very damaging or from a storm surge.

Or the landslides, as I mentioned. So the connotation you need to have is those, the scientific elements that make the scientific evidence for a solution like that. So you need to have the engineering practice, but you still have to have continuous monitoring. The monitoring has to be. Adequate for the solution.

So you may use a satellite, but you may use the drones, but you can use local sensors. You can use laser scans or other, let’s say the best technology you can have according to the budget. Do you have, okay. And then you have use this data for testing, validating your model. And so project also the effectiveness.

Or protect how your MBS would perform also 50 years considering that in our project, we have some also connotation of scientists working at climate protection, customized for the specific areas where we have our opener laboratories

Antoine Walter: talking of this specific areas. If I’m right, you righteous 10 of them.

Yes. Can we pick one of them and try to. To describe what you intended to prove at that place and how you do that.

Silvana Di Sabatino: Okay. I’d like to pick Italy, not because I’m Italian and because ultimately the 10 it’s a one.

how our OPNET laboratories have been identified. Apriori let’s say to tacos specific other. Okay. One could be heavy rain. It could be droughts. It could be. As I said, the storm surge. So some extremes that will go into river flooding song. So the case of Italy that is is, uh, uh, diffuse say open a laboratory because he’s a constituted by three sites.

Actually we look focus on river flooding. Storm search salting through zone. Okay. And so our solutions work it together because the it’s anyway, they’re connected the system. So starting from the Panaro River that is one of the affluents of the Po River. We will have a flooding and in there. Testing, we  are testing the, uh, introduction of seagrass with the deep root we did not the existing embankment.

Okay. So this is a solution that is a hybrid. So the typical, as I said, way of making the embankment safe is. Putting concrete or other typical grade solutions. So we are testing on part of, of, of the lever, this type of solution, but our stellar let’s say MBS, is it the construction of ascend? Using the scent that has been put on the cost to buy previous storms.

And these, we did not for this typology of dune. There are few example in the world. One exist in Tuscany, but uh, As been heavily tested. So it’s an advancement in technology and we will go after to the market expectation at, on these things. We have a patent already filed European patent, where we constructed these, you know, also with the sensors and the vegetation.

What is the role of the dune is. In a way dissipate the energy that comes from waves, Supreme stone and from from waves and in, in somehow not only protect. So, the introduct, the intrusion of water, not land, but also somehow diminishing the stress on the coast. So on will have an effect also on the coast, right at that site.

Because, uh, the, this, this specific solution is also embedded on a system or monitoring and modeling. So at the same time we have forecast or let’s say better projections of the climate of the currents in that area. Let’s say ocean, the currents or sea currents this way, because he said that the Arctic sea and.

It’s the same time we are working through numerical simulation to understand if also introducing Kaposi Donya in a type of vegetation at the backtick level could also work in a synergy with the doom. So in a way we sometimes there is a non, not always one solution, but many solutions. So.

I only talked about the technology. This is probably under understandable. But also in our context of all, we have a series of stakeholders and also contact with, the citizen. That the live in the area at the various level. And try to also understand what is the potential for replication, because one of the challenge of project of old projects, European project is that you have a lung case.

Okay. As well case our Dooney is a hundred meters, 200 meters, but this is not the solution. If we have a coastline like Italy where you’ll have a consolidation or you’ll potentially have some search as in other countries. So the idea is to have a mechanism for, and enough data to replicate and upscale our solution in other countries with a similar problem.

Antoine Walter: I dunno again, a lot to unpack in what you just said. Let me go back to the first example. You, you. You share it around this grass, which is now holding the banks instead of the concrete or the GRI approach we would have. And I’m a second generation hydraulic engineer. So, I was trained to to build that concrete and the rocks.

And that’s the way you, you hold the river and don’t get me wrong. I’m firmly convinced that that you can do differently. I’m just wondering. If I’m the name bore one of these stakeholders that you mentioned earlier, I’m the neighbor of the river. That’s very specific points and someone comes and say, I’m going to make an experiment with grass instead of concrete.

How do they react?

Silvana Di Sabatino: Yeah. This is, uh, then how past experience also Libby lab. And to also the co-creation and the social acceptance uh, or techniques for acquiring consensus or really do participatory science is important. The piece, first of all, to engage with the dos interested parties since the beginning, and really identify.

The best solution together. This doesn’t mean that the typical engineer, sorry, but let’s just to be precise. The typical engineer that works with us, and we have a typical engineering we have, for instance, a. You know, consulting that these eh, large enterprise. So that is one of the largest engineering company in Italy.

And they are part of the problem of a plateau, the Florida, not to the floor. Sorry. Absolutely radiant lobsters. No. So the idea is If we have tested the solution in the similar way that it trained a typical trained engineer will do it’s solution. How can we transfer what we have new into? The typical approach of identifying the problem testing the drawing uh, let’s say the, the, the gaps make the simulation to make also all the calculations that are not only of balances of forces, but also cost analysis and so on.

So to take that I’m not assuming engineer, but there is, let’s say it. Approach for going to the implementational. So we wanted to customize what we have learned and what we have a verified in that procedure, so that we can facilitate also the transition of on a, on an engineer set, where we were trained in uh, on great solution on the solution.

Good over time. Also pick up new ideas to embed in there. A great solution. Let’s say let’s add one component. So that’s why I said probably hybrid could be for the the, uh, let’s say on short term, the best approach.

Antoine Walter: I think there’s also something very important in what you just said, which is that.

Hippy science like you hear nature based solutions, you think, okay. Nature is going to do the job. It’s not that straightforward. It’s still ecological engineering. There’s a lot of research of science behind them. This modeling that you mentioned is that something you need to explain to people that it’s not just all nature, we’ll deal for it, but that there is science, which is supporting.

Silvana Di Sabatino: Yeah, I cannot. The one, one element that time is because of the random is any, let’s say consultant or this type is an, is a multi-disciplinary. So we have engineers, we have physicist, but we have also sociologist and many others architects. So. It is very important to that scientific technological part.

We have a business players as well. So the scientific and the tech technology part look together with the social scientists that work on the co-creation. So on. It’s a, it’s sorry, I repeat. In open-ended we have a good portion of the consultant that is scientific based and on the hardest science let’s see, and technological payers.

So then the way all the buildings. That evidence scientific evidence is also done in the laboratory. So we have two types of traditionally traditional laboratories. So those that you use, if you were an astrology engineer. So let’s say that before testing that the grass of, I talked to. In the field, we tested in a water channel.

Okay. And we do computational fluid dynamics to really optimize how deep should the be that route, how sparse it is. It has to be. And also other, let’s say check conferences on, but it’s not finished. It’s not only in control of. Controlled experiment as it is done in a fluid mechanics or surrounding topics.

But also we have a customized the laboratory it’s the same. I controlled that is opener. So one of our partners that is actually a firm in Spain, they have a network of channels where they can test also different plants, because I talked also of, uh, salt intrusion or. Other type of solutions and they can check through in their in their open laboratory.

Although it’s the equivalent of, let’s say a controlled experiment, but it’s open air. So the data that comes from the monitoring that to core in the laboratory will be integrated to build also that evidence scientific evidence I was talking about.

Antoine Walter: You mentioned that the very beginning that’s the maintenance part is something which is crucial because there is a strong difference in approach between a nature based solution that may need a bit more maintenance than a gray solution.

How do you measure and evaluate that? Because if you have to look for a 50 year lifetime of. Solution. Does that mean you have to make a 50 year experiments? Or can you speed a bit up the time where you’re looking at that maintenance part?

Silvana Di Sabatino: Well, this is not an easy question. I, and Sweden, we don’t have, we don’t have the answer.

We are working on that. So what, but what I can say is. Of course it depends on the specific solution or you’re looking at. Okay. So if you’re looking at a dune is a different that if you are looking at, uh, grass order, order three samples on a slope. Okay. So again, this is different, according to the type of solution and.

The the is a true monitoring. So let’s say that you could check. If you’re talking about the trees of you can check the status of the foliage. You can see the, uh, also of the roots. If you have a dune. Check, of course, as I said, that specific loan as also embedded the sensors. So that also control the shape.

So one can control that the shape is maintain well, uh, within a certain range, let’s say over the tolerability that has been designed in the engineering phase of of the solution and. So that’s that’s the only thing I can say is that the mountains can be only checked through a continuous monitoring.

Okay. So this has to be part of the solution probably differently from the resolution. So let’s say that to me, me anticipating. A question. It may seem more honorable, more difficult and say, okay, oh, this solution will cost me lots of money, but because one of the ambition is also to generate business and the market.

Okay. So it, around those, there are many elements that can put on the market. One is to. Uh, built, order have acquiring disappearance on using the data in our grid solutions. And this is one to use our patterns, but also to work and to this. Put in a technical terms, the, and answer required because for now we don’t have that experience and we know that going, we need to go out of academia to be really convincing.

So how can a professor that the atmospheric physics having a solution? No, we are working together with a team and we are trying to really hear from. The various components, what is uh, sensible, what these, optimal also to to, to do. And yeah. Uh, so it’s I think, that one-to-ones aspect, it’s something that can be exploited at the market level.

Antoine Walter: I think that is the key. That is really the key. I’m not sure. It sounds more expensive to meet sounds more like a differently expensive when you’re building a hard engineering solution, you have a high investment cost and then much less maintenance cost. So it’s a high cap ex lower OPEX when you’re building a nature-based solution.

My understanding because that’s the DD CapEx is going to be quite lower. And then you have an OPEX. You’re basically turning an environmental service into a business service. So. Kind of a lot of

Silvana Di Sabatino: sense. Yeah. And also you mentioned, thank you really for helping me in this identifying this is so much to say is, uh, yeah, we shouldn’t forget then what MBS were sought for.

So the benefits the co-benefits associated. So once we are really sure, or on the terms. We explained, we talked about earlier that, that solution. It’s effective. Then there are other benefits that we could contribute to, to in, um, to have a better ecosystem to the mountains or to the enrichment of the ecosystems.

And also it’s also an opportunity for. We’ll be gaining that contact with the nature that it’s the basis of the spread of these type of solutions. As I said, we doubted that the specific connotation of being engineering, let’s say that acted that. It’s a three-man challenge. So it’s very difficult product.

And but let’s say rewarding because it goes in the direction. I was mentioned mentioning that to do something useful for society at, in at least the, for my contribution from at least from the scientific point of view. And so to be taught or also in the analysis and.

Antoine Walter: You were hinting at the business consequences of what you were doing with the example of the sends you and where you are attending, what you’re doing.

And that to me then result in something which shall become commercial. Is that part of operandum like it’s forcing that you will spin off into some.

Silvana Di Sabatino: It’s um, it’s in, uh, innovation action. Yeah. So, it has, uh, is, uh, objectives also to contribute to European leaderships around those topics and also marketing instrument.

Of course, these are loose terms. If you don’t specific word means market and investment. So let’s be modest or not uh, too large in our vision. And we start to saying that in our consults from there are few firms I mentioned Rena consulting but, uh, yeah, in Spain, but. Also, we have a co services in Slovak that work on the development of our digital platform that I didn’t mention the GRTP.

That is also one of our, let’s say stellar up, of the project where we will integrate the science and technology and social aspects of other results. And then. Also, we have a KKK T ITC in Greece and. What do they ever, we have a piano also in Holland that, do, um, communication and communication, but let’s talk of those business from that are engineering devoted to somehow or, uh, aura informatics as a cardio.

First of all, the Rena consulting have improved internally. They. Knowledge about putting solutions grid solutions on the field with the natural based solutions, they have already increased their portfolio, not to rely as increased already over 20% their are business because they now are those experts in the country.

But also outside of that specific solution. In Greece, it has a Doyle. Bree is uh, one of the example of oil at the early stage. There were no natural based solutions talking English and to that company, as I’ve been already in contact with the ministry with ministry, and now is a. Having contact with other firms in the country to replicate the solution they have for their river flooding and also to, help with the different aspects of all the modeling, but also the, um, categorization of stakeholders and so on.

So it’s it’s a starting small, but if you have these replicated. That example replicated. It’s a good sample of business, because if you’re a firm, you can collaborate with the other companies, each part that the tacos, the chain of the MBS verification and implementation. So it becomes a business model.

Antoine Walter: Beyond the business model. You mentioned you, I KP, which is your web platform where we can see the various initiatives and the various projects. You mentioned also that you have these social scientists working with you to have this kind of connection, I guess. They’re the general population. How important is communication for you and in the success of Oprah random?

Silvana Di Sabatino: It’s a Q and a as a physicist. When I started doing this. Let’s say type oh, uh, let’s say to do also the, the work I do, the science I do in this way, it hasn’t been a shock. I started back in 2016 with my first project in where that had the co-creation also so consultation with the citizens, teaching them how to use.

Sensor for monitoring quality and making sense also have the data they were using console. So since then, so I can say around the now five, six years already, I have really communication and is, uh, uh, the first thing. I do before starting a project order, a new, let’s say a scientific effort.

I have, uh, the way the commission through eyes on as Bush, also the scientist in. B out of the office enter really be integrated with uh, citizens and to stakeholders is really the key. And as, as a change to my way of thinking, but going back to your question communication, is a, um, is a fundamental in whatever we do.

So as a coordinator of , uh, when I talk to individual partners, I always. Ask, what is it impact of what you do and to generate the impact of what you do? It means who have you been in contact with besides your typical scientific conference. Have you spoken to the mayor of that city? Have you talked with that ministry?

Have you talked. Also with the citizens, even in a small terms, but ask to any of the scientists and partners, what do you do? So if you only do the work for yourself and you don’t share and to communicate, it can be on your bookstore. And it doesn’t really change the world. It doesn’t impact anything.

So let’s say communication for me as it being translated in how you’re generating impact, how, what is also the indicator you use to see that what you have generated to have changed the something, even a small thing, even a it’s more like. Aspect. If somebody writes to me an email and saying having heard that seminar have I have learned, and now I use this concept in my research, or rather I S uh, the partners, I mentioned the engineers for Rena consulting say I was a trained as a typical engineer, and now.

I have a new knowledge in front of me to use it and to put it in the context of what I know or if I’m a citizen and they know that I can also make use of the invert on my territory in a different way. This is a measure. It’s an indicator of how we measure. If that communication has been impacted.

Antoine Walter: You mentioned an example of where probably your communication has worked quite well, because you said that there were no nature-based solutions in Greece and that now they’re looking at trying to implement them.

So if I was to look at the other end of the spectrum Greece being a new to the game, what would. A typical country, which is already very advanced in nature. Okay.

Silvana Di Sabatino: Thank you for the question again, another element of put on them as being, learning from experience, it is true that being in Europe, we are cautious that the cultural sector.

The economic setting is a rather diverse, even our perception of nature and how we treat our territories. And as it is true that Nordic countries, Scandinavian countries, or, you know, even the country where you are determine your Belgium. A different perception of nature. If we stayed with the Scandinavian, it is true.

They have a nature around them. We have people and concrete around us. So in Sultana Europe, they say that contact with the nature is really. Not so diffuse because what our common experience is cement it’s buildings. If we look at the Pavale Batalla examples in Italy, but in other countries that really crowded, you know, even in, in, in in, uh, in Greece, but in Greece, there are other aspects.

But anyway, so in our uh, product, we have examples of. Countries that are in Finland, like Finland and Germany. So we have an all in, uh, in Finland looking at around the pool of AC leak. And today, then that problem is how, um, maintain a purity of water. So different. The problem let’s say, or what I mentioned purely to a water.

In case of extreme rain. Okay. So then we learned that if you want to maintain already a system of not base that to collect water in a efficient way that water is used for irrigation and set that off, or that the culture or other aspects you then. Shifted the problem to the effective management.

So what we learn from oil field land and. Say Germany, that is on a part of every river in there. They have the problem of excessive rain. So how you could maintain that territory in such a way that, you know, Bravo excellent because of every rain. So the key in both all is the management. So let’s say those.

Examples where you have already a solution, let’s say embedded in that the system is functional to learn. What do you learn? You don’t only learn the management part, but also you learn that. Collaboration and the communication with the stakeholder. So what have they done for making that solution still working?

What people, how how integrate citizens in the mountainous also of uh, of their natural based solutions. So this is what we learned from.

Antoine Walter: To round off this this deep dive. Let me close with a last question on operandum, which is your timeline. What’s. What do you expect to deliver by, by when?

And and what if we tell you when maybe five or 10 years that you’ve succeeded in what you did?

Silvana Di Sabatino: We are, uh, more than, let’s say a bit more than one year to the antenna completion. Over the cloud. What I wanted to achieve in this one year is integrate the knowledge we are producing. So we have already started the integration.

And as I mentioned, the jerky, KP is our tool to do that. So at the end of the project, we will work in the mountainous or. Continuing, this, this, platform will not end with at the end of the project, we have already funds um, we are working at the university of California and to the company that is paying service for having attracting, uh, new funds for the promotional or this platform.

That is a unique platform because it doesn’t replicate to the existing ones because has been. With the envious dermatological risks at the beginning, with that rationale, we have talks about. So the jerky P now works also at the cost of benefits. It will meet marketplace where you can find. Partners, you can find also investors because investors, policymakers, we didn’t talk about the policymakers, that the idea is also to attract the attention of those local authorities that the could change some of the regulation in order to.

Facilitate the introduction of a natural solution, the typical solutions of advancements with the territory and one day in a to go towards resilience. So the jerky P will be also a place where for every solution, we look also. These benefits, have we talked about the co-benefits but also negative benefits in order to really facilitate the spread of a transparent knowledge and also to acquire two knowledge or pure inflammation, a better understanding of the type of solutions that they want to implement.

Antoine Walter: I said it was the last question. So I’ll cheat and I make another last question because you just remind me of that aspect of the regulation. And is that another way to look at how you could say you succeeded with the project? If in five or 10 years, there’s a European regulation that brings NBS like really in the stone or a local regulation, and you also have labs in China or Australia, if I’m right.

So. Is regulation parts of

Silvana Di Sabatino: your roadmap? Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely because of that process of it’s neology is my, so maybe it doesn’t exist, but working with the nature for engineering purposes, let’s say you need. To tackle that you need to understand the work that. I cannot introduce solutions everywhere.

So I really needed to have an understanding of what are the concrete problems. So despite it’s a project, but we wanted to have the challenge of really implementing the solution. So the regulation learning the regulation is a part of that. Of the process that we have anyway, undertaken for really implementing the solution.

I talked about. There are few solutions, but we did all the steps just to verify at the same time we inform. And also we engaged. Those three bodies in our process so that they through the sentence that has been generated by also including citizens and others also facilitated the process of pushing introduction of MBS in the regulation.

So of course, a typical, not typical, maybe the key KPI or the B to C. How many rules or regulation processes, have you teamed anti many countries? How many countries have you really make that made that change?

Antoine Walter: Very clear. I think that makes for a good closing to that, that deep dive. Of course I’ll put all the links to, to the operandum website and the G I K P platform in the show notes.

But if you’re a. Ready to take on. Let’s close with the rapid fire questions

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Rapid fire questions:

In that last section, I’m asking you short questions and you shall aim for short answers, but don’t worry. I’m not cutting the microphone in case you need a bit more time to explain. My first question would be what is the most exciting project you’ve been working on?

Silvana Di Sabatino: Well, this one of course, open on what has it been a democracy exciting, probably because of the many for dentistry interdisciplinarity that not always see my past project I had at this wider spectrum of experts to work with.

Antoine Walter: What’s your favorite part of your current job

Silvana Di Sabatino: doing this? No, actually it’s to see, um, to see that, good, the workers have been done to see a publication being used to see, uh, a solution being adopted and to work with.

Satisfaction. And to see people really happy to do their simulation because they are contributing for this small part to that, to change and that improvement that we need in our society. So working maybe with my researchers and also to see the good work done with honesty, intellectual honesty, transparency, this is the most important thing.

Antoine Walter: What is the trends to watch out for in the water?

Silvana Di Sabatino: Well, it’s, uh, ha this is a difficult question. I think is, the trend is that we need an integrated knowledge, so to build around that topic, more experts, this is not the job of only one. So to really. Managers that are able to identify those aspects that contribute to that uh, to that area because when one talks about water sinks of a dollar, just, but I think, that, uh, the problem is more complex.

Antoine Walter: What is the one thing we are doing in water management today that will be looked at totally stupid intended.

Silvana Di Sabatino: This is a difficult let me think a little bit. So you said that what would you do in your management? You said

Antoine Walter: what we’re doing today with water, whatever aspect of water today that will be fully gone. And that will be constant. Crazy that we even did it

Silvana Di Sabatino: maybe to do a manual monitoring. So in the future everything will be optimized with, uh, sensors and everything will be also made the model.

Let’s say digital. One of the problem in many countries is that we don’t have access to data. And let’s say older information has not been a digitalized. And this is true in many places in Italy, in the Southern Europe, in Greece and so on. And this will be stupid to say, why don’t you have your data on your computer?

Antoine Walter: That’s a very, very interesting point. And we were discussing that in depth with David Lloyd Owen, the, on that microphone, because he was showing how for many countries, you simply don’t have data on water. And most of the time, not in the country, you would expect. In Europe, you don’t find that much data when you would expect them to be.

Silvana Di Sabatino: Yeah. W we, we, we don’t have a sensing, a proper sensing if you want to use, you know, trendy word of our territory. And that would be in 50 years, probably this is an imagined. That we really use this way of having contact with our territory, that this is so based on the decision of a single and also mistake of a single yeah.

Antoine Walter: How do you keep up with the trends with the scientifical news? What are your sources?

Silvana Di Sabatino: Well, let’s see. I’m, I’m a scientist of the role. So what I do is of course I try to keep the front or my specific business. So as that once, like physics physicist, I also look at an interaction between the surface and that was your, so what is called micro metrology or boundary layer physics, and also missile scale dynamics.

So one. My first, let’s say duty is a to keep at the front and to be able to be, to really be at the top in my specific field for the rest. I try to watch newspaper or YouTube protocols and and also participated to conferences that are more general being contact also. With the municipality or also ministry.

And so that, I try to understand what are the needs. So from what part, try to be at the front of what I’m able to do in my specific field at the same time to keep a good contact with what is going on into society. I don’t know if it’s a good answer, but it’s the best answer I could give.

Antoine Walter: It’s a very good one.

Last question. Would you have a fantastic speaker that you could recommend me that I should definitely invite on that same micro.

Silvana Di Sabatino: Well, as I said the, the ministry of every country looking at ecological transition, I think this those that may really be able to implement the good the science we have in our reality, and in the context of where we live.

Antoine Walter: Perfect. Since by now, it’s been a pleasure to discuss with you for the one that would listen to the podcast first and then to the conference, I’ll have the pleasure to have you in our common conference at the innovate for cities conference on the 13th of October and for the one that do it in the reverse order, make sure that you also listen to my interviews with Marc Barra and with James Murray, if you want to go really at the bottom of nature-based solutions.

And again, Thanks! Thank you.

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