Politics

Digital water options: Creating abundance

Water challenges are complex and interrelated. Globally, water demand is threatening to outpace supply. In addition to water stress and scarcity, the world is also faced with the negative effects of extreme weather events, disasters and poor water quality.

Driven by the urgent need to ensure access to safe water now and in the future, the IWA issues the position paper “The 21st Century Digital Water Utility: Creating Abundance” to unlock the digital water revolution to make far more efficient use of the world’s dwindling water resources.

“Digital solutions provide a much-needed response to smarter and more effective water strategies for utilities and businesses,” said IWA Executive Director Kala Vairavamoorthy. “Without vastly improved data and analytics, public institutions, businesses and society will struggle or fail to meet 21st century demands for water.”

The IWA’s vision is that the water sector will be the key driver in creating water abundance powered by digital water technologies that seamlessly connect water supply, infrastructure and assets to the customer. “The 21st Century Digital Water Utility: Creating Abundance” paper identifies a number of trends, technologies and applications that will figure prominently in this digital transformation.

Space and analytics technologies such as satellite imagery and remote sensing are already in use for surface and groundwater resource evaluation, flood protection and upstream water quality monitoring. Blockchain applications, which are already at work in making transparent supply chains, could migrate to the water sector to improve mapping of tap-water quality. Asset management and real-time monitoring of water utility infrastructure performance offer obvious opportunities for digital water technology adoption. Digital solutions such as smart-sensing technology, utility web monitoring portals, social media, gamification and artificial intelligence chatbots can also radically improve the relationship water providers have with their customers, allowing higher rates of engagement, greater knowledge on water usage and increased leverage on their consumption patterns and conservation strategies.

“Digital technologies will enable real-time water quantity and quality measurements, access to actionable information, analytics of complex data sets, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and blockchain applications. Vastly improved watershed monitoring, supply and demand projections, asset care and customer connectivity will be the norm,” said Will Sarni, CEO and founder of Water Foundry.

“The IWA believes our sector faces a stark choice,” Vairavamoorthy said. “Resist the rise of digital solutions, or embrace them in collaboration with innovators to unlock a new era of water abundance.”

In response to escalating thirst, new risks, emerging tools and rising stakeholder expectations, the emerging digital water utility holds the promise of fueling sustained economic development, business growth and well-being for human and natural communities.

The report “The 21st Century Digital Water Utility: Creating Abundance,” produced by the IWA and powered by Xylem, will be launched on Sept. 19 from 15:00 to 15:45, at the IWA Pavilion.

This text was provided by the IWA.

Over 100 countries to meet on future of water management

Under the overarching theme, “Shaping Our Water Future,” the 2018 edition of the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition will take place from Sept. 16 to 21 in Tokyo.

This global event attracts water professionals from over 100 countries and provides a unique opportunity to learn about the latest trends in leading practices, innovative technologies and pioneering science.

The IWA is the largest international network of water professionals working toward a water-wise world, with members in more than 130 countries. Its work focuses on developing solutions for water and wastewater management. As a knowledge hub for the latest science, technology and best practice in the water sector at large, the IWA works to place water on the global political agenda and influence best practices in regulation and policymaking.

This text was provided by the IWA.


Download the PDF of this IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition

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