Serious game on the urban water cycle

2022-07-20 12:03:25

A serious game developed in the past by ICRA and University of Girona (UdG) has been adapted within the SCOREwater context to include mini-games on wet wipes and oils and greases. This serious game is aimed at primary school students, and will educate the players on the effects of their actions on the urban water cycle.

Figure 1: screenshots of the six mini-games

Why this game?

With the serious game we aim at improved practices with the usage of wet wipes, oils and greases and water at the house level. This serious game brings scientific and technological knowledge on the urban water cycle closer to the public in an understandable manner. The goal is to teach the players of the game how their actions have impact the environment.

Description of the game

Serious games are defined as video games that not only entertain, but also teach or transmit some knowledge. The starting point of the project is the game developed jointly by the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), a CERCA centre in the field of urban water cycle research, and the Graphics and Image Laboratory (GILAB), a TECNIO center with expertise in the design and development of serious games. The game is free and cross-platform, and can be used on computers, tablets and mobile phones. The languages of the game are currently Catalan (the language used in the schools of the demonstration activities of the case-study in Barcelona), Spanish and English, but can easily be translated into any other language. The serious game has been coded in UNITY.


The game consists of a set of two dimensional mini-games (Figure 1) that allow the player to go through different stages of the urban water cycle in cities. Those stage are: households, sewers, a wastewater treatment plant, and a river. At each stage, different challenges are posed to the player that help him/her identify and acquire knowledge, while at the same time concepts are introduced about recent scientific advancements. The connections between the mini-games allow to see the interconnections between different elements of the urban water cycle, and to establish the link between activities in cities that generate changes in the quality of the water, their effects on the environment (river) and how research helps the sustainable development of cities. 

Next steps

Currently the serious game is being tested at primary schools in Barcelona. During June 2022 ICRA, IERMB and BCASA went to schools for demonstration sessions using the serious game. If all sessions work well and we can prove that the serious game transfers the knowledge we want to transfer, then serious game will be made available for any school during fall 2022.

Did this spark your interest, and you want to keep up-to-date on the developments? Subscribe to the SCOREwater newsletter, or reach out directly to Lluis Corominas (ICRA) at: if you have concrete questions about the serious game.