Healthcare facilities, especially hospitals, are an indispensable critical infrastructure for society. Functioning operations are critical to crisis management. While the scenario of a power outage is firmly anchored in hospital emergency planning, the maintenance of water supply and disposal has hardly been considered so far. It is a prerequisite for the functioning of a hospital and thus for patient safety.

In the joint project "NOWATER", the University of the Bundeswehr Munich is part of an interdisciplinary research team which, in exchange with stakeholders from the healthcare sector, civil protection and urban water management, is developing technical and organizational solution strategies for the risk management of hospitals and other healthcare facilities. These solutions will be designed to be transferable and scalable to ensure broad application.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

The NOWATER project (NOtfallvorsorgeplanung der WAsserver- und -entsorgung von Einrichtungen des Gesundheitswesens - organisatorische und Technische Lösungsstrategien zur Erhöhung der Resilienz) involves the University of the Federal Armed Forces Munich as project coordinator, the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University, the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, AGAPLESION FRANKFURTER DIAKONIE KLINIKEN gGmbH, Strecker Wassertechnik GmbH and teckons GmbH & Co.KG. It is additionally supported by seven associated partners, mainly from the healthcare sector and municipal companies in the field of water supply and disposal.

Practical guide and technical demonstrator as main objectives

The project will develop a practical guide for operators of critical infrastructures in the healthcare sector. This guideline covers the entire area of risk and crisis management for securing water supply and disposal: Starting with practical methods of criticality, vulnerability and risk analysis, through emergency preparedness planning, to the preparation of appropriate response plans in the context of hospital alarm planning. Thus, this guide is intended to support hospitals as well as the responsible authorities and operators of critical infrastructures in achieving the best possible preparation for such extraordinary damage situations.

Another main objective of the project is to build and test a demonstrator for maintaining water supply. This will provide a means of treating and feeding replacement or emergency water in the event that a piped supply is temporarily unavailable. In particular, the demonstrator shall be designed in a modular way and a short-term commissioning shall be possible without the support of relief organizations or emergency forces.


University of the Bundeswehr Munich
Chair of Urban Water Management and Waste Technology

Funding by: BMBF

Image: © iStockphoto/Bim