Transition of Water InfraSTructure Systems: Adapting to new challenges in urban and rural areas (TWIST++)

Adapting water infrastructure to coming challenges is a necessity but not all decision makers understand the dependencies and interactions involved in this. Within the project TWIST++ a large project consortium coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI is developing new concepts and a system to support the planning process. A so-called Serious Game is used as an additional tool which explains the correlations in layman terms and will make it easier to implement the concepts in the future.

Given the long utilization times of water supply and wastewater disposal infrastructures, their low degree of flexibility and the changes to important framework conditions it has become apparent that the existing systems have to be developed further in order to meet future challenges.

New technologies and concepts have already been tested in several research and demonstration projects in newly developed areas but existing systems also have to be adapted. This forms the starting point for the joint project TWIST++ (Transition of Water InfraSTructure Systems).This project aims to find integrated and sustainable technical solutions for water supply and waste water management which make the system as a whole more intelligent, flexible and better able to adapt to future challenges. This comprehensive project approach requires the involvement of different actors: the project consortium includes, in addition to the Fraunhofer ISI and other research institutes, also partners from local authorities, operators of water and wastewater infrastructures, and companies from the fields of planning, software/game development and systems engineering.

The project is being conducted in three model regions: In the town of Lünen in North Rhine-Westphalia, in the rural area of Wohlsborn-Rohrbach in Thuringia and the former mining district of Zeche Westerholt 1/2 which represents an example of re-developing an industrial area situated in the middle of adjacent residential areas. This allows the results generated during the project to be transferred and used after the project has ended.

Concepts to transform or further develop water supply and wastewater infrastructure systems are elaborated based on the current situation and the future demand in the model regions. The necessary technical components are developed, for example for energy and nutrient recovery from wastewater or for self-purifying sub-networks of drinking water. The results are implemented and verified based on concrete planning situations.

The new concepts developed in the course of the project are made accessible to experts and laypersons via a planning support system and a serious game. This simulation game helps decision-makers in particular to develop a basic understanding of the numerous, interdisciplinary connections, dependencies and interactions. This can overcome the reluctance to consider innovative and integrated infrastructure concepts when planning redevelopments and renewasl. The planning tools to be developed will play an essential role when establishing new, sustainable technologies.

The project TWIST++ is being funded as part of the German Ministry of Education and Research‘s (BMBF) funding measure “Intelligent and Multifunctional Infrastructure Systems for Sustainable Water Supply and Disposal“ and within the Framework Program “Research for Sustainable Development (FONA)“ forms part of the funding priority “Sustainable Water Management (NaWaM)”.

More information can be found at


  • Niederste-Hollenberg, Jutta; Menger-Krug, Eve; Feldmann, Ulrike; Joel, Elena; Hillenbrand, Thomas (2016): Transition von Wasserinfrastruktursystemen in Bestands- und Neuerschließungsgebieten. In: Wasserwirtschaft Wassertechnik. Sonderausgabe Modernisierungsreport 2016/2017. S. 4 – 9.
  • Hillenbrand, Thomas; Londong, Jörg; Steinmetz, Heidrun; Wilhelm, Christian; Sorge, Christian; Söbke, Heinrich; Nyga, Ilka; Minke, Ralf; Menger-Krug, Eve (2016): Anpassung an neue Herausforderungen – nachhaltige Wasserinfrastruktursysteme für Bestandsgebiete. In: Korrespondenz Abwasser, Abfall, 2016 (63), Nr. 11. S. 992 – 998
  • Wolter, S., Hiessl, H., & Hillenbrand, T. (2014). TWIST++ Transitionswege WasserInfraSTruktursysteme. KA Korrespondenz Abwasser Abfall, 2014 (4), pp. 273–275.




  • BMBF


Am Verbundprojekt TWIST++ sind folgende Partner beteiligt:

  • Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung ISI

  • Bauhaus-Universität Weimar 

  • Universität Stuttgart (ISWA) 

  • IWW Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wasserforschung gGmbH 

  • 3S Consult GmbH 

  • GmbH

  • takomat GmbH 

  • CURRENTA GmbH & Co. OHG 

  • HST Systemtechnik GmbH & Co. KG 

  • Stadtbetrieb Abwasserbeseitigung Lünen AöR 

  • Abwasserzweckverband Nordkreis Weimar 

  • RAG Montan Immobilien GmbH

  • Wupperverband

  • Deutsche Vereinigung für Wasserwirtschaft, Abwasser und Abfall e.V. 

  • ILS - Institut für Landes- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung gGmbH

  • Hessisches Ministerium für Umwelt, Energie, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz (HMUELV)

Project website