of the major challenges for sustainable development faced by both the developed
and developing countries is to ensure that all people continue to have reliable
access to Water Supply and Sanitation Services.
According to the UN World Water Development Report, by 2050 at least one in
four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring
shortages of freshwater. Life is literally dependent on our ability to match
the supply and demand of water, of appropriate quality, to specific communities
and users at specific times or rates. Our homes, factories, cities, farms, and
recreation areas require water, and their success (i.e., Sustainability) relies
on the effective functioning of natural and human water delivery systems.
Water scarcity and water quality are
emerging as key issues of public concern and increasing inhibitors of growth in
cities and countries around the world. As a result, the market for safe,
available water, infrastructure and technologies that treat and transport water
is expected to continue to grow rapidly as stakeholders look for new solutions
and approaches to integrated water resource management.
Every time your utility gathers,
treats, and distributes water â€” every time a pump starts, every time a tank is
filled, every time a tap is opened â€” you are also generating and distributing
data. In general terms, each and every water management activity creates data
that can reveal valuable network operations and business insight. The challenge
is to transform this massive amount of data into meaningful information and
transfer it quickly and accurately throughout the utility to all functions and
departments that can use it, both within the utility and beyond. A smart water
network not only provides enhanced automated process control, but also can
fully process data in real time to yield the meaningful information that can be
put to work â€” to save water and labour costs, optimize compliance and security,
and ensure good customer service.
What Is Smart Water Network
A smart water network is a fully
integrated set of products, solutions and systems that enable water utilities
Remotely and continuously monitor and
diagnose problems, pre-emptively prioritize and manage maintenance issues, and
remotely control and optimize all aspects of the water distribution network
using data-driven insights
Comply transparently and confidently
with regulatory and policy requirements on water quality and conservation
Provide water customers with the
information and tools they need to make informed choices about their behaviors
and water usage patterns
The smart water network takes
advantage of real-time data, from pumps, tanks, valves and other vital
distribution network points, to automate process control and support real-time
operations decisions as needed. It operates with an information management
system with open channels that also make operations data available accurately,
securely and in a timely manner to business processes across the utility. This
enterprise approach not only improves efficiency and effectiveness of treatment
and distribution functions, but also supports planning, O&M coordination,
customer service, and business office activities. The three core elements of
Smart Water Networks are:
Information: Making full use of all data generated by a
Integration: Utilizing current IT systems to maximize previous
Innovation: Designing a system flexible enough to meet future
Use of GIS in Smart Water Network
resource assessment and management are inherently geographical activities
requiring the handling of multiple forms of spatial data. Various combinations
of geographic information systems (GISs)
and simulation models will be required to improve our knowledge in these areas.
GISs offer powerful new tools for the collection, storage, management, and
display of map related information, whereas simulation models can provide
decision- makers with interactive analysis tools for understanding the physical
system and judging how management actions might affect that system.
has played a major role in the development of distributed hydrologic models and
in improving our understanding of the spatial aspects of the distribution and
movement of water in landscapes. It has also greatly influenced the study of
the impact of land use on water resources. The management of water resources
requires a wide range of spatial data, from hydrography and water distribution
and collection systems, representing the status of water resources, to
phenomena influencing the quality and movement of water such as terrain,
climate, soils, and land use.
Simply, information from a well-integrated system is accurate, secure, ontime
and helps the utility as a whole making better decisions in less time. The
cross-departmental nature of the smart water network even allows the utility to
take proactive actions in areas where it was not possible before. Managing
water leaks is a good example, because the occurrence of a leak usually impacts
several departments. The utility operating with a smart water network has
reliable information that can help prevent leaks and expedite location and
repair when they do occur â€” and save costs and water.
addition, GIS also helps in monitoring surface and sub-surface water quality by
measuring oxygen, pH, bacterial content, etc. It also measures flow rate of
water and turbidity.
Advantages of Smart Water Networks
leakage and pressure management: Utilities
around the globe report loss of around 40% of clean water due to leaks. By
reducing the amount of water leaked, smart water networks can reduce the amount
of money wasted on producing or purchasing water, consuming energy required to
pump water and treating water for distribution.
prioritization and allocation of capital expenditures: Employing dynamic asset management tools can
result in a 15 percent savings on capital expenditures by strategically
directing investment. To close the gap between the capital spending required
and the amount of financing available, utilities need access to information, to
better understand the evolving status of their network assets, including pipes.
network operations and maintenance: Utilities
can save upto 20% in vehicle and labor efficiency and productivity by
implementing smarter that provides the critical data, via remote operations. A
smart water network solution can help streamline network operations and sustain
maintenance by automating tasks associated with routine maintenance and
operation of the water distribution system.
water quality monitoring: Smart
water networks can save up to 70 percent of quality monitoring costs, and far
more in avoided catastrophe. A smart water network solution for water quality
monitoring would enable utilities to automatically sample and test for water
quality and intervene quickly to mitigate potential issues.
A Way Forward
Smart water networks will begin to
take hold when the potential value for utilities becomes abundantly clear and
the ability to capture that value is made easier. Only with a concerted effort
from all major stakeholders can we truly redefine the water industry as it
stands today and overcome the looming challenges posed by water scarcity and
water quality. Some steps should be taken by Utilities, Municipalities and
Regulators for adoption of smart water networks.
Utilities and municipalities
Help technology providers pilot
solutions and establish benefits of smart water networks.
Explore opportunities to learn more
about the benefits of investing in holistic solutions to smart water networks.
Identify an internal smart water
Reward and incentivize improvements
in operational efficiency.
Leverage smart water technologies to
achieve higher water quality standards.
Smart water networks represent a
tremendous opportunity for water utilities to realize significant financial
savings, address global concerns on water safety and quality and position
themselves for an increasingly resource-constrained future. The time is right
for utilities to seize this opportunity, but that success will require the
collective effort and collaboration of stakeholders across the water industry.