A global collaboration uniting UK, US and Mexican organisations will help to reduce water network losses across the Querétaro metropolitan area.
The long-term project will deploy actionable artificial intelligence (AI) over 350km of pipelines, which accounts for almost 10% of the water network operated by the State Commission of Water in Querétaro (CEA), one of the main utilities covering almost the whole state of Querétaro in Mexico.
Financed by Microsoft, a partnership between Generagua — a group in infrastructure solutions in water, energy and telecommunications — and UK-based AI and technology solutions provider, FIDO Tech, will deliver leak detection and broader non-revenue water (NRW) water management and conservation solutions.
Along with Aguascalientes, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Jalisco and Nuevo Leon, Querétaro is one of the six states suffering from droughts across the territory.
The World Bank estimates that as a global average, 30% of the world’s piped water is lost before it reaches the customer, most of it due to leaks and theft. In developing nations, roughly 45 million m3 of water are lost daily, worth over US$3bn/year. Across Mexico, it is estimated that between 30-40% of water supply is lost daily due to leaks.
However, the Querétaro state has emerged as an example of the triple helix model of innovation, a concept that refers to the coordinated efforts between academia, industry and government to promote economic and social development.
Querétaro will be the third collaboration between Microsoft and FIDO Tech and follows projects being delivered in London with UK utility Thames Water and in Phoenix, Arizona, with EPCOR.
FIDO AI solutions can identify leaks and rank them by size, even in noisy networks, regardless of pipe material or condition. Detecting and fixing water losses impacts water availability with immediate impact across local watersheds in a quantifiable way. Victoria Edwards, co-founder and CEO of FIDO Tech, said: “From London to Phoenix and now Querétaro, we are moving to deploy actionable AI at scale in the global fight against unnecessary water loss.”
In 2020, Microsoft announced that it would be working to become water positive by 2030. To get there, Microsoft is relying on five key pillars: reducing water use intensity, replenishing more water than we consume, increasing access to water and sanitation services for people across the globe, driving innovation to scale water solutions, and advocating for effective water policy.
Eliza Roberts, water lead at Microsoft, said: “In order to become water positive by 2030, part of our strategy is to replenish water sources and drive innovation to scale water solutions. The continued collaboration with FIDO Tech, using actionable AI-enabled acoustic analysis to reduce water lost to leakage, helps to achieve both goals.”