Integrated Water Cycle is a way to sustainably manage water systems for human consumption in all their stages, from water collection from natural sources to the supply of domestic drinking water and the other way round, returning previously treated domestic wastewater to the natural environment. In this field Montealto's work comprises:
- Collection: Before making water drinkable at water treatment plants, it has to be collected from natural sources. At this stage water is known as raw water. This is the gathering process.
- Purification: The second stage consists in treating raw water to produce water fit for human consumption. This is the purification process, carried out at water treatment plants.
- Distribution: Following purification, water is distributed via large distribution networks along pipes a dozen to several hundreds of kilometres in length. It is either piped down in a gravity flow or pumped up when it has to be pushed uphill. Finally, it reaches water tanks in specific locations and then flows via a low network. Domestic supply is then taken over by local water authorities.
- Wastewater collection: The water used in homes and industries returns to treatment plants which in turn give cleaner water back to nature, thus reducing environmental pollution considerably. This is done by means of pipes and sometimes pump stations.
- Wastewater treatment: In treatment plants, the process involves more than one stage to return sufficiently clean water back to natural sources. Water treatment can be mechanical, chemical or biological. The application of one of these methods depends on the characteristics of the domestic wastewater to be treated.