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IoW: The role of IoT in smart water management

Remote monitoring and control technologies like SCADA and IoT technologies should be used to not only conserve and maintain quality of water for the citizens of the country, but also use it to create sustainable and scalable water economy for water utilities, says Sunil Bist, CEO, NetConnect Global

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By Sunil Bist

Sunil Bist, CEO, NetConnect Global

Estimated global water losses from drinking water supply networks are 34.6 billion litres per day. A recent study conducted by the Global Water Intelligence (GWI) world’s top 40 water markets shows that the water loss is properly managed in Netherland with 4 per cent, Denmark with 6 per cent to Japan having 7 per cent and very poorly managed in countries like India with almost 50 per cent of total supplied water.

The water infrastructure in most of the cities is old with vulnerable water distribution networks having aged pipelines that are well beyond their useful life cycle but still in use.

Traditional water resources in India are facing serious challenges. Many large cities in India including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad have been affected by the shortage of water. The situation is deteriorating faster than any assumptions and it is projected that more than 40per cent of India’s population will have no access to drinking water by 2030.

“Economics of Water + Internet of Water = Conservation of Water”

If these water losses were reduced by only 30per cent, 800 million people could be supplied with clean and treated drinking water globally.

Water Loss or Non-Revenue Water (NRW) is treated and cleaned water that is lost in the water distribution system and never reaching its destination thus affecting the economies as well as resources of the water utilities.

Economics of water:
Need of the hour is to change the culture and mindset of using water as a free resource.
By tariffing water in a “Pay as you Use” model, offering a plethora of discrete Prepaid and Postpaid plans, tailored to the needs of the consumers would be the first step towards creating sensitivity around consumption and better use of water, avoiding wastage.

There are examples across the globe, where the wastewater is treated and “Water is bought as a service” by the citizens of the county.

The Internet of Water:
It refers to the ability to interconnect devices through the internet in the water value chain – from the reservoir to pumping station to distribution network to our home. These connected devices in turn help monitor and control the state, flow and volume of water through the Smart Water Networks, Automatic Metering Infrastructure, Remote Control Monitoring & Management Systems.

Remote monitoring and control technologies like SCADA and IoT technologies should be used to not only conserve and maintain quality of water for the citizens of the country, but also use it to create sustainable and scalable water economy for water utilities. The water utilities in the country need smart technologies to provide such services to the citizens of the country and make the change in the cultural and traditional thought processes.

The next big issue of water contamination due to dilapidated supply networks. More than 2,00,000 people die every year in India due to inadequate access to safe water. SCADA & IoT Technologies, strategies & solutions are now resolving problems of water scarcity, water quality and water consumption and to do that Smart Water Networks & systems are developed.

The water Industry requires technological enablement & advancement through:
1. Water monitoring solutions to monitor the quality of tap water across Indian Infrastructure.
2. Technologies to detect real-time leakages and waste of factories in rivers and other natural water bodies.
3. Technologies for remote monitoring of water level variations in rivers, dams, and reservoirs, for proactive disaster management.
4. Solutions and technologies for creating Water as Service (Billable Service) and help water utilities in creating an impact in culture change and make the world realize that water doesn’t come free or cheap; it’s a scarce resource.

Mature and trusted IoW technology such as true Smart Water Network (SWAN) is a must for the industry. These utilities can control and monitor all sites from Water Source – WTP – Pumping Station – Production Meter – Service Reservoir – District Meters – Reservoirs and so on.

The solution is developed as an end-to-end information and communication technology (ICT) that gathers and controls critical & operational data, in real time, for water networks, analyzers and controllers. It consists of a site module (Gateway), communication, server, historical server, real-time, User Interface (UI), alarm handling and report generator, it allows serial, Ethernet, or I/O interfaces to connect the control system while supporting all standard communication protocols

Reducing water losses, maintaining water quality, adequate supply, is very important for the efficiency and financial sustainability of the water utilities in India and around the globe. There is a strong need to use technology in developing smart water networks so the economy can thrive on available resources and conserve them for our next generation. All technology and solutions should be focussed toward the pillars of – ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) for a smarter and sustainable tomorrow.

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