LIFEH2OBUS – Best practices for H2O management and savings for BUS operators

LIFEH2OBUS – Best practices for H2O management and savings for BUS operators

Project number:



Duration of the project:

1. 8. 2022. – 31. 1. 2026.


Total value:

2,400,278 €


EU co-financing:

1,440,167 €


Coordinating beneficiary:

Arriva Italia S.R.L. (Italy)



Autotrans d.d. (Croatia), Sapienza University of Rome (Italy),  Pluservice S.R.L. (Italy), ArrivaBus Kft (Hungary)


Project description:

The EU’s water resources have come under increased pressure over the past decade, with an overall decrease of 24% in renewable water resources per capita across Europe. This decrease is particularly evident in southern Europe due to the lower precipitation levels. Furthermore, the European Environmental Agency estimates that one third of the EU’s territory is currently exposed to water stress conditions, either permanently or temporarily. For Greece, Spain and Portugal the problem is relatively familiar, but for northern countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, the problem is quite new. Water management and consumption by the transport sector is an overlooked issue, with legislative recommendations and EU data lacking, despite the scale of the problem. For example, cleaning a bus consumes on average 300 litres of freshwater, with washings occurring on average four times a week. It can thus be calculated that the annual cleaning of a bus consumes 62 400 litres. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, almost 692 207 buses are operational in Europe. Therefore, around 43 million m3 of freshwater are consumed per year in Europe.

The project LIFEH2OBUS aims to:

  • Define cost-efficient and flexible best practices, which will be validated within the project, for significantly decreasing the water consumption (and related energy use) of public and private fleet operators;
  • Provide public authorities with solid data and a valuable tool to generate new directives or guidelines on water saving in the transport sector;
  • Define and share for the first time common knowledge on water-saving techniques that are applicable and replicable in the public and private transport sector across Europe; and
  • Provide transport operators with exhaustive and empirical guidelines on best practices for reducing water consumption in their specific locations.

Expected results:

  • Reduction by at least 84% of the use of fresh surface or groundwater to wash buses in three locations with different climate patterns (Italy, Hungary and the Netherlands), representing a total saving of at least 37.2 million litres per year of the project demonstration.
  • Demonstration of water reduction using via rainwater harvesting, wastewater recycling and water-free waxing.
  • Energy savings and related reduction of GHG emissions via a reduction of pumping needs.
  • Water saving of 18 billion litres/year in the five years after the end of the project, corresponding to 42% of the total water used by the transport sector.