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We take the water flowing out of our taps for granted but for the water industry, supplying clean water to our ever-growing population is a constant challenge. Let’s take a look at the 5 biggest challenges in this area.
There are a number of physical assets needed to transport water from its source to the treatment plants and onwards to homes. This includes dams, tunnels, pipelines, pumps, water storage tanks, controls, monitoring systems, etc. These assets are constantly undergoing wear and tear and ageing. Ageing infrastructure not only affects efficient water distribution, but it also causes losses in terms of water resources and revenue. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the United States loses 6 billion gallons of treated water due to leaky pipes in a single day.
A solution to these issues could lie in the Internet of Things. IoT enabled sensors can help the water industry move from reactive asset maintenance schedules to a predictive one. In this way, it could help curb wastage and reduce the costs of asset maintenance.
Even a well-organized person can make mistakes. After all, we’re only human. Unfortunately, human error can be very expensive for water utility companies. A bill may be incorrectly calculated, the reading for one meter may be entered against another meter and cause confusion, the bills may not be delivered to the right address, etc. Thus, there is a need to reduce dependency on humans for such tasks and automate them instead.
Installing smart meters could be the ideal solution to this issue. These meters automate meter readings and bill generation. GPS enabled photo meters take accurate meter readings and generate bills without any fear of mix-ups or errors in billing.
Like everything else, pipes have a lifespan. A pipe that was installed in the 1800s cannot be expected to still transport water efficiently today. According to a study, 30% of water losses around the globe can be accredited to leaky pipes. What may look like a drop falling quickly adds up. With time, corrosion in pipes combined with the high pressure of water flow can worsen leaks and cause more wastage. It’s also important to note that as a leak grows, so does the risk of contamination.
Maintaining pipes and keeping them from corroding is only one of the steps towards controlling wastage. Old pipes need to replaced with new pipes from time to time. Installing pressure sensors and variable speed drives can allow water utility companies to pump as much water as required by different zones. This can help control water loss and reduce energy consumption by up to 40%.
Technology is constantly evolving and keeping pace with it is not always as easy as it sounds. Instead of having different individual solutions for various challenges, a single platform is needed to unify the solutions and create a smooth, transparent flow. This unit should be able to track consumer queries, respond to them, link accounts to e-meters for accurate readings and billing and accept payment through secure digital channels. All of this data must be collated, organized and analyzed before it can be used to further improve services.
Smart 360 is the ideal solution to revolutionizing the way water utilities function. It is a smart, agile solution that can play multiple roles. It ensures smooth onboarding for new customers and improves customer relationships by giving prompt responses to queries and making interactions between the customer and company more convenient. The GPR photo meter billing system takes accurate meter readings to generate and distribute accurate bills, Further, payments can be accepted online for better transparency and cash flow. By cataloging asset photographs and GPS locations, the utility company can get real-time alerts for maintenance such as leaks as well as scheduled preventive maintenance. This solution is scalable and can grow with the company.
Water is a finite resource and hence needs to be managed in a better way. Leaky pipes, leaving taps open, improper transportation, etc. all contribute towards water wastage. Wastewater is not always treated and can pollute clean water sources.
There are many aspects that must be addressed to manage water better. It begins with appropriate allocation and distribution. Citizens must be made aware of the responsible use of water. Water needs to find its place in a circular economy where wastewater is recovered, treated and reused.
When it comes to water utilities, there is no one size fits all solution. Systems need to be designed and customized according to city size, population, demographics, type of water needed, etc. What can be said with certainty is that there is a need for change- a need for integrating new technology for better efficiency.
Left unattended the current challenges faced by the water industry will only grow. Upgrading existing technology with IoT and cloud-based smart water metering can help combat these challenges. Tech driven solutions cannot just help with asset management and distribution but could also optimize maintenance costs and provide a better customer experience.
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