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Water Alliance Launches ‘A Wave of Innovation’, The International Call for the Future of Lombardy’s Water Service

Circular economy, new technologies and digitalisation are at the centre of ‘A WAve of innovation’, the call launched by Lombardy’s 13 water service providers. The goal is to innovate the overall management of water networks thanks to the opportunities of open innovation. Applications are open until the 30th of November, apply on the site:

A call for innovation for the integrated water service aimed at start-ups, university spin-offs, SMEs and the entire world of innovation in general. A WAve of innovation is the call launched by Water Alliance, the network of 13 public companies of the integrated water service in Lombardy (Acque Bresciane, Alfa, BrianzAcque, Como Acqua, Gruppo CAP, Gruppo TEA, Lario Reti Holding, MM, Padania Acque, Pavia Acque, SAL, Secam and Uniacque), to promote innovation on an international scale in the spirit of open innovation. The call, which opened on the 3rd of October, will close at the end of November. It aims to find solutions in several crucial areas for the water service and will focus on circular economy and digitalisation.

For the winners, the implementation of a pilot project in collaboration with one of the Water Alliance companies, which will last around one year, will be evaluated.

The areas identified by the 13 providers are the following:

  • Treatment and exploitation of sewage sludge: research into efficient solutions for the management of sewage sludge in order to extract potential raw materials for the production of eco-fertilisers, phosphorous and nitrogen, to be reused in the most advanced industrial sectors and in agriculture;
  • Biogas co-generation plants: research into technologies to produce and implement biogas and biomethane production from sludge obtained in purification processes;
  • Smart water grid: implementation of digital tools and devices to make the grid smart, thanks to massive data collection;
  • Real time data enhancement: research into and application of algorithms capable of efficiently processing large quantities of data generating feedback useful for making quick decisions;

‘The long and sweeping Wave of Innovation, promoted by this international call by Water Alliance, lies precisely in the contribution that start-ups and SMEs will be able to provide to foster the development of the Lombardy Water Service,’ highlights ING. Enrico Pezzoli, Spokesperson for Water Alliance, President and CEO of Como Acqua. ‘The 13 affiliated companies were able to open themselves up to external realities that offer strategic, innovative and groundbreaking solutions, useful for the evolutionary process that makes circular economy, new technologies and digitalisation the best tools to make further progress and defuse strictly topical issues, such as the water emergency and energy crisis.’

This international call involves areas which are crucial for the development of the Lombardy water service,’ says Michele Falcone, coordinator of the Water Alliance managing body and Strategic Development Director of Gruppo CAP. ‘Water Alliance has set itself the ambitious objective of a circular and digital innovation and to do this, aside from fostering synergy amongst companies, it has decided to open up to start-ups and small and medium-sized international enterprises who can provide valuable solutions to be applied throughout Lombardy. I am thinking, for example, about the sludge issue on which we have been working on for some time to find a sustainable, circular solution (quantity reduction, reuse and exploitation) but also about the digital challenge that could constitute a breakthrough in plant management thanks to the huge use of data analysed and processed in an increasingly smart way.’

It is a challenge, on which a group has been working on in recent months, which has great value for both innovation and circular economy for the Water Alliance plant management. The group is composed of Francesco Esposto, Acque Bresciane; Desdemona Oliva, Alfa/Gruppo CAP; Massimiliano Ferazzini, BrianzAcque; Stefano Carcano, Como Acqua; Andrea Bonfietti, Gruppo TEA; Vincenzo Lombardo, Lario Reti holding; Stefano Tani ed Emi Colombo, MM; Gioia Dabellani, Padania Acque; Carlo Mascheroni, Pavia Acque; Carlo Locatelli, SAL; Brigitte Pellei, SECAM; Daniele Bressan, Uniacque.

A strategic role was played by the call’s advisors, BIP and Skipso.  Water Alliance has taken advantage of BIP and Skipso’s support and know-how. BIP is an international company which offers management consulting and business integration services and follows the companies through research into and adoption of disruptive technological solutions. Skipso is an international company that has provided software solutions and innovation advisory services to public and private companies on an international scale since 2007.

We are particularly proud to be a partner of Call4innovation, promoted by Water Alliance,’ commented Andrea Caccetta, BIP partner. ‘A project which is part of our daily commitment to enhancing the future with solutions that directly impact people and the environment, thus ensuring sustainable development. Therefore we fully support the Water Alliance project which, through Call4innovation, opens its doors to start-ups, SMEs and national and international companies which revolve around the core themes of Water Management, thus contributing to the evolution of this important industry thanks to a mutual exchange of technical knowledge, resources and innovation which characterise the initiative: A WAve of innovation.’

‘We are honoured to support Water Alliance in this project, which will bring innovation to the Italian water industry. We strongly believe in the possibility of a collaboration between companies and start-ups to experiment with new development scenarios’ added Carlo Soresina, co-founder and CEO of Skipso. ‘Our international approach and Co-Innovation Hub will support Water Alliance in order to create connections with some of the best innovation centres and start-ups in the world.

Interested start-ups and companies should submit their applications on the platform platform before the 30th of November.  The planned phases are:

November 30, 2022: application deadline;

January 30, 2023: first phase of project screening;

February 14, 2023: final project selection;

Second half of February, 2023: pitch day.

For all information visit the call’s website: and Water Alliance’s LinkedIn page:


Water Alliance is composed of Acque Bresciane, Alfa, BrianzAcque, Como Acqua, Gruppo CAP, Gruppo TEA, Lario Reti Holding, MM, Padania Acque, Pavia Acque, SAL, Secam and Uniacque, thirteen integrated water service public companies who together guarantee a quality service to around eight-and-a-half million inhabitants and have decided to team up to combine local roots and the best public water management practices. The network has the support of ANCI Lombardia and Confservizi Lombardia.
Combined, the thirteen companies have total revenues of over 960 million euros and investments of more than two billion euros.


BIP - Founded in Italy in 2003, today it is one of the main multinational consultancy companies and employs more than 4,500 people worldwide. Its professionals offer management consulting and business integration services, following the companies through research into and adoption of disruptive technological solutions. BIP specialises in the transformation of companies in all industries, with an extensive track record in Water Management. BIP’s Innovation structure represents a network of intellectuals, strategists, creatives and creators, an ecosystem of skills, experience and constant research.


This company founded in 2008 provides software solutions and innovation advisory services. It has the ambitious objective to create a platform to support and accelerate sustainable innovation on a global scale. Over the years Skipso has become one of the main international actors in innovation management, offering cutting-edge programmes to leading companies, universities, government agencies, accelerators and non-profit bodies worldwide. Skipso’s advisory services help clients to identify the best innovation sourcing channels globally and define the right approach to validate and scale products and solutions both within their organisation and in the market. Skipso has an established framework to help identify strategic acquisition or partnership opportunities, to assess innovation and to involve internal management.

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