Urban Stormwater Aquaponics Garden Environment

Find Out More


USAGE - Urban Stormwater Aquaponics Garden Environment

The USAGE project is an interdisciplinary and international undertaking that aims to develop and build two aquaponic installations - in Wrocław and in Oslo. The installations will be coupled with the rainwater collection and treatment system. The aim of the project is to build a multifunctional space in which animals and plants will be kept in an ecological manner, taking into account water saving.

The space will act as a green asylum in the city center, which will also teach you how to produce organic food in a healthy way. An aquaponic farm in the city center will provide fresh food to the local community, and thanks to in situ production, supply chains will be shortened and the carbon footprint will be reduced.

USAGE is a pilot project that will provide educational and analytical value. Analyzes will be carried out on both farms to show the commercial potential of the project. A plan for scaling the installation will also be developed so that it can be implemented by small and medium-sized enterprises. The project also provides for a social aspect - the farm is to be a meeting place in the green space of urban estates, as well as an educational installation for children and youth.

Work Packages

WP1 - Aquaponic using stormwater in urban areas - societal engagement for implementation

The main objective of this WP is to plan the aquaponic installation and adjust it to the community’s expectations and urban possibilities. Deploying the aquaponics with the rain/stormwater collection solutions, may have a big impact in the city's transitions. Because of the proximity of the consumers, the food supply chain is limited in what brings economic and environmental gains. Being a technological innovation it is strongly related to a society. In order to understand social influence and social impact, there is a need to define main stakeholders of the project and provide detailed research on their expectations, possibilities, and constraints. To gather the knowledge (on food production, aquaponic systems and water management systems), the surveys and interviews will be prepared.

Why is it important?

Water problems

Aquaponics coupled with the storm and rainwater recovery system have a great potential to be a solution for water crisis in the cities. According to Nature Communications (volume 12, Article number: 4667 (2021) ) the number of 933 million people in 2016 facing urban water scarcity will increase to 1.693–2.373 billion people by 2050. Therefore, it is necessary to implement the innovations which will allow for sustainable food production in agglomerations.

Climate changes

Water scarcity is one of the effects of climate changes, which are fostered among others by the big-scale food industry. Current food production systems have a negative impact on the environment by the water and land usage and inefficient logistics causing high carbon footprint. Creating smaller systems which are located close to the consumers will reduce the CO2 emission, prevent deforestation and protect the water.

Cities development

Introducing food production to the cities is a potential remedy to agricultural pressure on natural landscapes. Most intensive food production technologies may work very well in urban areas, saving transportation costs and energy. What is more, a contemporary citizen not only “uses” nature for leisure but also tends to establish a closer relationship with it. Urban agriculture is a visible example of such a process. In this context, it is not just a means of production but also a path leading toward cultural and social goals.

Social Impact

In recent years, there has been no shortage of talk about the need for greater citizen involvement in decision making and the desire to increase institutional possibilities for public engagement, particularly when the goal is to ensure public trust in experimental local projects. With the rise in deepening and expanding public engagement globally, the importance of community engagement indeed has become pivotal for well-functioning, twenty-first century local democracies. Constructive relationships between communities and the institutions make community engagement not only desirable, but necessary and viable as it is likely to lead to more equitable, sustainable public decisions and improve the liveability of local communities. This is why community engagement is important for individuals, public organisations, and governments alike, especially when piloot projects bring in loads of novelties. Where traditional, executive-led approaches are ineffective, community engagement is important in its collaborative approach to the design and/or delivery of services. Yet, citizen participation, in order to be truly impactful, needs to be:

a) Deliberative

Citizens should be given the time and resources to digest, explore and discuss information with each other before being asked to give their opinion or recommendations. Engagement should begin early and enable the public to shape not only answers to problems, but the questions asked and the topics considered.

b) Responsive

The engagement process should come with a commitment from a combined authority or devolution area to consider decisions and recommendations, and provide feedback on subsequent courses of action.

c) Legitimate

The citizens involved should be able to speak on behalf of a wider stakeholder group – whether a particular set of service users or a whole population. This can be achieved through representative sampling, by working systematically to involve civil society groups both large and small, or by individually offering the opportunity to participate to all members of a particular stakeholder group. USAGE project will ensure that all the requirements of successful community engagement are met from the very beginning so that local actors needs and preferences are reflected in the installations in both Wrocław and Oslo.

USAGE – Urban Stormwater Aquaponics Garden Environment

Programme ‘Applied Research’ IdeaLab Call for Full Proposals under the Norway Grants
Aim of the project: To create the green-garden installation for food production based on aquaponic systems supported on rain and stormwater collection infrastructure. Alongside food production, the infrastructure will play an educational and social role, integrating the citizens, creating the workplaces, and propagating environment-friendly behaviors. The system's design will suit the urban tissue thanks to local community engagement and urban planners' work. The aquaponic installation connected with the water collection and treatment system will create a meeting place and play a social role by integrating neighborhoods and local citizens, boosting entrepreneurship, and raising knowledge about climate change.

The total value of the project: PLN 9 407 825,44

Co-financing value: PLN 1 411 173,82

Project implementation: January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2024

The Consortium: Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Warsaw University of Technology, Cracow University of Technology, CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research, The Fridtjof Nansen Institute