Water utilities are increasingly embracing data analytics and digital technology to optimise operations, save millions for communities and increase water networks’ resilience to climate change.
Insights from 18 global water utility experts in early-stage digital adoption are featured in a new paper from water technology company Xylem and Bluefield Research. These utility experts share perspectives on how going digital is helping them to solve big water challenges in their communities. Their shared expertise provides a blueprint to accelerate the modernisation of 400,000 water, wastewater, and stormwater systems worldwide.
Utilities that participated in the paper implemented digital technology to save billions of gallons of water, prevent sewer overflow pollution, and save in energy costs.
For example, in Cincinnati, Ohio, US, the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Greater Cincinnati used data and digital solutions to give its existing infrastructure new capabilities.
“We grabbed our combined sewer overflow monitoring data, flow monitors, and real-time control facilities, and tied them together in a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system,” said Reese Johnson, compliance services division superintendent at MSD.
In Queensland, Australia, Unitywater used leak detection technology to reduce lost water and revenue, and used smart meters to help reduce leaks for customers.
“We learned a lot from our initial 1000m pilot project before launching the smart meter network as a second step. Smart water meters have been a sustainable decision, both environmentally and financially,” said Daniel Lambert, Unitywater executive manager of sustainable infrastructure solutions.
Chinese utility Beijing Drainage Group (BDG) is leveraging digital technologies to optimise energy usage and cut carbon emissions. By implementing a suite of control systems for aeration, chemical dosing, and drainage, BDG has already cut annual energy use by 10-15%.
These utility experts were featured in a new paper called ‘Ripple Effect: A Movement Towards Digital Transformation’.
“Utilities are transforming the water sector and delivering big benefits for local communities — saving money, preventing leaks and overflows, and cutting emissions,” said Xylem CEO Matthew Pine. “Learning from the experiences of these pacesetters, utilities of all sizes, and at any stage of digital maturity, can accelerate their transition to more affordable and more sustainable infrastructure.”