Defending the water in our cities
As one of the events promoted by Finmeccanica at the Milan Universal Expo, the “Defending the water in our cities” conference, focusing on the challenges posed by the modernization of the water cycle, was held at the Palazzo Italia Auditorium on August 31st.
Organised by the National Research Council, the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research and the Festival of Water, the conference was attended by experts in water management, biologists and representatives from the institutions: in particular the Minister of the Environment, Gianluca Galletti, the Chairman of the Liguria Region, Giovanni Toti, the Mayor of Genoa, Marco Doria, and the C.E.O. of Telespazio, Luigi Pasquali.
At the heart of the debate was the quality of the water, hydrogeological instability, particularly in the most built-up areas, and soil consumption, themes that are not current but strictly connected. Water and the way it flows have been factors in economic development and the achievement of the highest standards of civilised: the typical structure of the city requires the presence of a river that integrates with the urban fabric and brings it to life.
Over time and, in particular, in the last century of intense development and intense urbanisation, the balance between water courses and the city has been broken showing up alarming critical points: river water made critical because of only partially purified civil and industrial effluent draining into it, swollen rivers have become ever more difficult to manage because of the widespread and, too often, indiscriminate urbanisation of the earth in the areas that were natural spaces for flood plains or because hydrological work for modifying, rectifying and channelling the normal course and expansion of the river, in an unnatural way.
The two European directives on waters and defence from floods mark the roads for the recovery of a profitable relationship between the river and the city. On the one hand , the quality of the water crossing cities: it is necessary to clean and purify it in such a way as to give the rivers back to the cities so they return to perform their role as a place of social life, well being and beauty for the city. On the other hand: a return to offering city dwellers a safe and respectful relationship with their rivers is essential. The plan for metropolitan areas has this characteristic. Clean water and safe water. To give rivers to the city dwellers and give security back to communities so they are able to co-exist together with the natural succession of the varying and, sometimes tumultuous flow, of the river.
To effectively respond to the challenges posed by the hydrogeological instability, Finmeccanica, one of the top ten groups worldwide in the sector is fielding leading edge satellite technologies, control centres and drones that give data of the highest precision. The acquisition of accurate information – detected by the COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites is what makes it possible to point up potentially critical areas and consequently to plan further monitoring or measures to be taken. Just to mention one concrete and current example: the City OS technological platform developed by Finmeccanica-Selex ES is used for nothing less than the management of Expo Milan security.