Featured: Smart rainwater buffers

The digitisation of our society comes with challenges and opportunities. The University of Twente is taking the lead in mining this new digital world. Two examples from practice are smart rainwater buffers and a new form of data encryption.


Proper collection and storage of rainwater is becoming more pressing due to climate change. The Municipality of Enschede and the Vechtstromen Water Authority have joined forces with Richard Bults to develop a new system for rainwater management. The ‘Rainwater Tower’ is a network of smart rainwater buffers that adapt their storage capacity to weather forecasts and circumstances. 
After a pre-pilot with seven 250-litre buffers, a pilot was started with 25 buffers in people’s gardens. A second pilot will be launched in 2020 that will include, among other things, an XXL version of the smart rainwater buffer: a 20,000 litre tank for industrial estates. Mr Bults: “Water storage in public spaces is an area that is undergoing many new developments. Our Rainwater Tower is a new approach: water storage in private spaces, on private citizens’ and company property.”


In an era in which data is considered ‘the new oil’, data security is absolutely vital. It becomes even more challenging when sensitive information is shared across borders and organisational boundaries, which occurs increasingly often, for example between medical professionals, police organisations or companies. Within the ‘Secure Data Sharing’ research line, UT scientist Dr Andreas Peter and his team are looking for solutions. One of the results is a mechanism that can edit encrypted data without decrypting it. It has now been included on MISP (Malware Information Sharing Platform), an open-source platform for security information that is used by organisations including NATO. “Our technology allows users to share specific information on cyber threats in encrypted form, find the information relevant to them and decrypt it, while information not intended for them remains securely encrypted.”