During the NINFA project, WETSUS will lead WP2, which is concerned with developing a cost-efficient monitoring strategy based on the integration of existing sensors and analytical approaches. Within the project, WETSUS will modify, test, and optimize the existing fiber optics-based sensor system, maintaining the water flow sensing capability while adding chemical detection capability via tracing the change in the refractive index with the variations in water chemistry. Moreover, the HyGenTox sensor, which can be utilized as an early warning sensor for the presence of genotoxic substances, is also being developed. The sensor is mainly used for the detection and quantification of the genotoxic potency of hydrophilic pollutants in water. The bio-assay sensor has been tested in both lab and field samples. Within the NINFA project, WETSUS will optimize the selected set of gene targets further, test the reactions to varied water sources, and boost automation for future field applications. Both sensors will be evaluated at the Los Alcazares research site (Murcia, Spain).

A hydrological and transport model for the Achterhoek area (Netherlands) will be developed and validated as part of the NINFA project activities in order to develop scenarios for protecting and managing the aquifer in the area. The region has experienced drought in recent years, which has caused the groundwater table to drop and, as a result, the quality of pumped water to deteriorate. The model will be updated to include a pesticide and nutrient transport model. We will be able to develop more reliable models of groundwater flow and reactive-transport by feeding the simulation mathematical models with monitoring strategy and sensors, reducing uncertainties, particularly in the prediction of future scenarios, while also improving representativeness (facilitating up and downscaling options).  As a result, predicted future scenarios will be more reliable in simulating the effects of natural induced events (droughts, floods, etc.), as well as human interventions (water treatments, aquifer recharge, and so on), both over time and at larger (basin) scales.

Please see the attached photos of the fiber-optic sensor installation in the Achterhoek region (Netherlands).
We are currently working on building a new sensor, and fieldwork in Spain is scheduled for next year.