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An EU H2020 project

June 2016 - May 2019



FLOWERED consortium is composed by eight institutions legally established in the European Union...

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The FLOWERED project methodology is organised into laboratory and field scale research activities...

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de - FLuoridation technologies for imprOving quality of WatEr and agRo - animal products along the East African Rift Valley in the context of aDaptation to climate change

FLOWERED project

An Horizon 2020 European Union project.

FLOWERED objective is to contribute to the development of a sustainable water management system in areas affected by fluoride (F) contamination in water, soils and food in the African Rift Valley countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania), thus to improve living standards (environmental, health and food security) of its population.

The structure of FLOWERED work plan is based on three main pillars:

  1. advance beyond the state-of-the-art
  2. improve technology
  3. address public engagement and social challenges.

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FLOWERED project


Advancing hydrogeological knowledge (WP1)

  • To propose a regional circulation model of high-fluoride waters by revising and integrating results and knowledge derived from exiting datasets and studies;
  • To reconstruct the geological and geochemical conditions associated with the presence of fluoride in the groundwater of the three selected representative test areas in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, along the African Rift Valley, taking into account the potential anthropogenic (e.g. land uses) effects on fluoride contamination;
  • To implement a groundwater and surface water monitoring network needful for a scientifically based water resources management in the East African Rift Valley countries.
  • To implement a comprehensive water cycle analysis based on both retrospective and future climate scenarios data needful for a water resources management in the East African Rift Valley countries in the presence of natural and anthropogenic climate change.

Developing mitigation options for fluoride contamination in agriculture and livestock systems (WP2)

  • To provide scientific evidences on benefits and constraints of a selection of existing and innovative mitigation strategies for fluoride contamination of water (for irrigation and drinking for animals) and cultivated soils in cropping and livestock systems of case study areas of Tanzania and Kenya. Possible obstacles and barriers for the application of selected innovative strategies related to context-dependent issues (e.g., no acceptance by local communities of some proposed soil amendments) will be carefully taken into account.

Specific objectives:

  • To gather existing knowledge on agricultural land uses, livestock systems and soil properties of the case study areas of Tanzania and Kenya
  • To identify and test agricultural practices to mitigate fluoride contamination on productivity of representative food and forage crops in the case study areas
  • To assess the role of different soil amendments on the fluoride plant uptake and on the fate of fluoride in soils
  • To investigate on the accumulation of fluoride in animal products in both managed and wild animals and on the effect of several factors (e.g., diet, rumen function, animal breed and genetics, etc.) on fluoride accumulation and detoxification
  • To involve and mobilize relevant actors in the rural communities of the case study areas aiming to promote and assess promising agricultural mitigation strategies

Developing innovative water defluoridation technologies (WP3)

  • To develop and implement innovative low-cost, "soft based" and sustainable defluoridation technologies for the purification of drinking water operating mainly at small village-scale in the case study areas along the East African Rift Valley where high fluoride contents in surface and ground waters occur. The achievement of this goal represents an important social challenge and will allow to export the defluoridation technology developed in this project to other rural areas of the world where fluorosis is a serious health concern. This will also produce a potential market impact for the European SMEs involved, as well as an opportunity for local communities related to improving their quality of life and the development of a local market for the collection, treatment and eventually shipping of any local material selected for the defluoridator production.

Specific objectives:

  • To identify, characterise and test local materials (including geological, organic and waste materials) from the study areas as potential fluoride removers
  • To experiment synthetic materials (i.e. LDHs) which exhibit promising features to be applied for water defluoridation
  • To optimize the design and performance of the "bone char-based" defluoridators already in use in some rural areas along the East African Rift Valley
  • To transfer the most effective defluoridation techniques from the lab-scale to the small village-scale by designing and constructing one or more defluoridator prototypes, taking into account specific water uses, and local environmental and socio-economic contexts of the study areas

Special attention will be focused on the technical feasibility, and even more important, on the social acceptance of the local communities toward the technologies developed and proposed. The lack of these "ingredients" may represent relevant obstacles and barriers for the implementation of the technologies at local scale.

Innovative Geo-Data system for the knowledge management (WP4)

Main objectives:

  • To develop a shared Geographic Information System: integrated databases for data and metadata collection to support the sharing of knowledge and the management of the results of the project;
  • To develop a land use classification system based on an integrated use of satellite data and field data collection through the development of a mobile application dedicated to crowd- generating data;
  • To develop of new dedicated algorithms for classification of European satellite images and systematic production of thematic maps (land use/changes, soil moisture, vegetation indexes)

To support the dissemination activities of this project with specific web-GIS tools designed for the local, regional and international policy makers and institutions and integrated in the website of the project This WP will start at the beginning of the project with the implementation of the first data and metadatasharing system and it will continue throughout the project duration.

Socio-economic Analysis (WP5)

Main objective:

  • To attain a socio-economic analysis for the proposed defluoridation technologies. Being aware that sustainable water supply is fundamental to food security, health, survival, societal well-being and economic growth in developing countries, especially in Africa where the FLOWERED project is targeted. The socio- economic analysis is aimed at guaranteeing the sustainability of the proposed solution. Thanks to the low cost of the materials, the long lifecycle of the device, the possibility to regenerate the filtering material and the capability of the device to treat the water's microbiological component, it is possible to implement successfully our device on a large scale, not only for the African market. At this time, filters on the market generate a turnover of 1,3USD billion (2003)$, with the technology that we are going to develop we could obtain better results because it is not bond exclusively to the African market as the innovation is based upon the efficiency of the absorbent material available in the interested area. This could lead to an increase of the African market turnover from 400 USD million to at least 600 USD million within two years after the prototype definition and to apply our technology worldwide on a large scale.

Specific objectives:

  • To guarantee that the demonstration objectives and outcomes match the end users requirements and social constraints
  • To provide a social cost-benefits analysis of Flowered interventions
  • To design an ad-hoc SWOT and PEST analyses, with special emphasis on increasing the competitiveness of the companies participant
  • To guarantee an efficient deployment of the developed technologies and protection of the project results in order to maximize their potential for market uptake

Dissemination and Exploitation of results, and Communication activities (WP6)

Main objectives:

  • to increase the impact and the visibility of FLOWERED at the scale of the project community and beyond, and raise attention on the fluoride contamination phenomenon;
  • to widespread as much as possible the knowledge acquired within the project and its outcomes to different target groups (water managers and policy makers at national and international level, advisors, scientists, NGOs, SMEs, farmers and rural communities, society at large, etc.);
  • to ensure a proper exploitation of project results. The final aim is to enable the implementation of the proposed techniques and practices for a sustainable water, agriculture and livestock management in the studied countries, and to boost their up-scaling to other contexts affected by fluoride contamination in Africa and/or other regions.

Management (WP7)

Main objectives:

  • To ensure proper activity of the project
  • To streamline any administrative, financial, legal and IP (Intellectual Property) issues in order to enable the partners to focus on their research activities. Furthermore, the Management will guarantee active monitoring of related technical activities and budget expenditure according to the predefined time-table and will provide quality assurance of reports and deliverables submitted to the European Commission. Effective communication within the consortium, with the Scientific Advisory Board and efficient coordination with the European Commission will be guaranteed.

Ethics requirements (WP8)

The objective is to ensure compliance with the "ethics requirements" set out in this work package.

Relation to the Work Programme:

The project FLOWERED addresses the themes and scientific scopes of WATER:

  • Strengthening international R&I cooperation in the field of water. Namely, it relates to the topic WATER 5 c) [2015]

Development of water supply and sanitation technology, systems and tools, and/or methodologies.

Partners Map


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N°690378

News & Events

Read about our Field Activity, Meetings & Dissemination

29 Apr

Water Innovation for Africa : Publication of a scientific paper on the European Union platform - CORDIS

Groundwater provides the only realistic water supply option in many rural areas across the globe, ...

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10 Dec

Innovative water de-fluoridation technologies presented at a FLOWERED-FAO technical meeting, Rome, December 10, 2019

As part of the FAO One Water One Health & EU Horizon 2020 Initiative, a technical meeting was ...

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