WaterSpy (High sensitivity, portable photonic device for pervasive water quality analysis)

Acronym:  WATERSPY
Duration: 01.11.2016 – 29.02.2020
Total cost: € 4 133 301.25
EU contribution: € 3 049 206.74


WaterSpy is developing a device for comprehensive online monitoring of tap water. Very good measuring devices are available for many pollutants that can lead to human health hazards. In the case of bacterial contamination, the situation is worse. The most dangerous bacteria for human health are E. coli, Salmonella and P. aeruginosa. WaterSpy is focusing on these three bacterial strains and is developing an additional device for currently available quality monitoring platforms. The device will be able to perform an automated and quick analysis of the quality of bacterial contamination in the water. It takes much less time than it does now. For the systems in use today, the same analysis may take up to 3 days.

WaterSpy technology will be integrated, for validation purposes, to a commercially successful water quality monitoring platform, in the form of a portable device add-on. WaterSpy will be used in the field for the analysis of critical points of water distribution networks. This will be demonstrated in two different demo sites in Italy.

The design challenges are in line with the legal requirements for pollutant concentrations as set out in the EU water quality directives. Due to the very low permissible concentration of pollutants, the sensitivity of the device must be very high in order to keep up with the current laboratory analysis.

Key strategic objectives:

KSO 1: Develop compact photonics technology, capable of identifying selected heterotrophic bacterial cells in the water. Specificity and sensitivity levels will respect regulatory requirements.

KSO 2: Validate the technology’s cost effectiveness and suitability for large area coverage.

Why WaterSpy:

By providing the capability to detect biological agents in the Water network, WaterSpy will effectively contribute directly to increase health and safety of European citizens.

Vigo System Participation:

VIGO System is responsible for developing an optimized detector and designing dedicated electronics for fast signal amplification at a low-noise level. The detector will be integrated with the electronics in the detection module.


CyRIC – Cyprus Research and Innovation Centre (Cyprus),

National Research Council (Italy),

Alpes Lasers SA (Switzerland),

National Technical University of Athens (Greece),

Technische Universität Wien (TUW) (Austria),

Friedrich-Alexander-Universitaet Erlangen-Nuernberg (Germany),

AUG Signals Hellas (Greece),

VIGO System S.A. (Poland)

IREN SpA (Italy)

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