As we know, water is one of the most basic and valuable resources on earth. The planet is about 70% water; the freshwater available for all of us to live is only 2.5% of that water, primarily in ice form, which leaves a 1% percent of freshwater available today for human use. In addition, this water is sporadically distributed across the world.
Currently, there are 2.0 billion people without access to safe potable water in their homes due to the lack of an adequate water supply. This leaves some regions greatly affected, damaging any country's development economically and socially. This is why it's crucial to address water scarcity and freshwater management.
The COP27 is the first time water has been on the official agenda of the Global Climate Change Conference. It's said that we are failing to reach the 2015 Paris Agreement because climate mitigation actions have not been fast enough. And it was acknowledged that addressing water issues is a crucial solution to climate change. It is time to consider all the things we need to fix to manage the future of water access, supply, distribution, and quality.
The two most important concerns about water management are water scarcity and leakage. If the Water Utility Industry adopts advanced technologies, it will be possible to handle the challenges and create a better blueprint for its global functioning. Also, it's one of the industries where science and technology can make a big difference; for example, fixing the water leakage will ensure supply, distribution, and more affordable water.
The water sector faces several challenges, from weather changes to infrastructure problems, such as:
Water scarcity is one of the fundamental problems for the water utility industry because it is a growing problem due to climate change and is not just a problem in arid and rural regions or undeveloped countries but even in urban places and highly developed countries like the United States.
Current water utility infrastructure has gotten obsolete over the years due to the lack of upgrading and investment; the equipment is so antiquated that it leads to other issues that need solving to fix the impact on the water quality and availability, such as leakage, which is the most damaging but also the most immediate cost-effective fix possible.
Contamination from industrial pollutants, agricultural practices, and other causes impacts water quality; therefore, as clean water is a right of every human being, it is imperative to have the necessary tools to ensure a clean water supply.
There is a lack of legislation to ensure water is treated as an exhaustible resource. Governments and authority organizations should ensure that the sixth goal of the Global Goals is met, like creating new legislations and pricing frameworks to embrace an embedded system for managing our water networks.
As advanced technologies start being used in the utility industry, the risk of cyberattacks grows and compromises the security of sensitive data that can critically disrupt water utility systems.
The maintenance and updating of water utility infrastructure can be expensive, primarily for countries in development, so there is a necessity to make joint efforts to address the problem in every community in the world.
The main objective is to provide a conscious, reliable, and profitable water utility industry for all inhabitants; and for each country's economic and social development.
The digital transformation of the water utility industry is a big responsibility and a promising opportunity. The industry has an obligation to supply and distribute services to the rest of the industries, but the benefit is for all sectors, such as agriculture, livestock, services, cities, etc., and in general for all end-consumers.
Some matters where advanced technologies can make a big difference are leakage detection or scarcity; as we have mentioned, these are critical issues to handle. For example, a recent paper by Amanda Rupiper says that “water utilities in the United States lose approximately 17% of their delivered water to leaks each year”. It is an immense amount of water loss, as we know that only 1% of the total accessible water on the planet is freshwater and that there are several regions with scarcity problems.
In addition, leakages can affect the local environment by increasing the soil moisture content and the amount of water in vegetation. This increment of moisture changes the light reflectance causing changes in temperatures (mostly related to the evaporation of the soil and transpiration from the plants).
Drinking water travels long distances across large transmissions, from the treatment facilities to storage tanks; the network then carries the water under the city into the homes. Leaks on these large pipelines can reach about 50% of the total water lost. The leaks are hard to locate with traditional technologies and are expensive to detect and repair, so water utility companies usually exclude transmission mains from leakage detection.
The adoption of embedded systems by water utilities offers several advantages for the industry. Here are other benefits an embedded system can offer:
An embedded system allows for real-time monitoring of every aspect of the water management process, providing industrial companies with a comprehensive view of the network and its issues. This will help for quick detection and location of leaks, breaks, failures, and other problems in the system.
Adopting embedded systems can help collect and analyze big data, provide quality data for the companies to use, and have detailed information about their systems and performance, which helps to identify potential problems before they occur, making repairs and maintenance more efficient.
Embedded systems provide valuable information into the functioning of the water management system, allowing better insight for decision-making and helping utility companies identify improvement areas.
An embedded system is more reliable than traditional systems, allowing real-time monitoring to prevent and detect possible major problems, ensuring preparedness and quick response to control damage while ensuring the system remains operational.
The adoption of an embedded system can monitor water in real-time, which can help quickly detect any issues and take action to address them to ensure that the water delivered to consumers is safe and of high quality.
The manufacturing industry is responsible for most of the pollution in rivers and groundwater; an IoT-embedded system with AI-based software can help to generate real-time data to monitor, control, and prevent pollution in these areas and improve the water quality.
The real-time data allows accurate water monitoring and other applications, such as irrigation-embedded systems or crop water management systems that can help farmers to reduce waste while maintaining soil health, improving water conservation, and increasing crop yield.
Providing end-user applications will help maintain continuous feedback for creating a conscious use in citizens, contributing to a more reliable supply and distribution. And individual consumers will be able to make adjustments and save on bills while preserving water supplies, helping maintain a more effective and improved supply and distribution for everyone, especially for the more problematic areas.
Overall, using embedded systems will improve the collection and processing of quality data for creating innovative solutions that will keep the water utility industry improving its service for everyone. It will globally help ensure this fundamental resource's appropriate use and care.
The advanced technologies available today can make a big difference in infrastructure, efficiency, security, sustainability, and cost-saving. It is important to know them to make the best decision:
The use of IoT devices helps to digitally connect all equipment and users for collecting data in real-time, optimizing processes, and providing quality data to transform it into advanced solutions.
AI is used to analyze the collected data by the IoT devices and other sensors connected to the system to identify patterns or predict issues before they occur, helping to optimize operations and reduce costs in repairs and maintenance.
Is being used to process large amounts of data generated by IoT sensors and devices; helping identify trends and patterns that could be difficult to detect using traditional technology.
Blockchain is a distributed network that allows secure and transparent data transactions between all the users in the network. Making it easy and safe to work in zero-trust environments, without needing a third-party intermediary like a cloud service provider.
It is a decentralized infrastructure used to process and analyze the data collected by the IoT devices and sensors of a system in the same place where it is generated, instead of needing a cloud to send and analyze the data, helping share resources and management, which reduces latency and data processing timings, not to mention costs.
Altogether, these advanced technologies ensure overall improvements in infrastructure, performance, security, and cost savings.
In IoE Corp we have designed an embedded system called Eden, a sustainable infrastructure that provides all the technologies listed above, to deliver the best tools for digital transformation and improvement of any processes.
It is a decentralized infrastructure that relies on blockchain technology; this means that:
An embedded system with a decentralized infrastructure can offer the best performance. This is useful in any industry as it makes collecting, analyzing, and storing data safer.
Eden makes it easy and safe to work. Start your transformation by joining our Planet Partner Program, where you will find the best support and technologies to transition to a future with the best performance and revenues for your business. Apply here, and we'll reach out to hear your plans, current pain points, and how Eden can solve them.