Today we celebrate Smart Water Magazine’s first year anniversary and we take a look back at 2019 to review the most-read content, our top bloggers and most active entities. By analysing last year’s content, we can deduce the most impactful topics and the most relevant protagonists of 2019.
Launched as an exclusive online media platform specialized in delivering up-to-date water-related news for the water industry professionals around the world, the majority of Smart Water Magazine’s audience comes from the United States, followed by India, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. This past year, we have made it a priority to publish current news from all over the world, with special attention to Europe, MENA region, North America and Latin America.
In 2019, we published 3,218 news articles and 446 blog posts. Analysing the most-popular articles, there is a particular interest in tenders in the Middle East, such as the appointment of ACWA Power as preferred bidder for Taweelah IWP. Likewise, the nomination of water professionals also sparked great interest, for example Yuvbir Singh as CEO of Suez Water Technologies & Solutions Business and Emirates Water and Electricity Company’s new CEO.
Water management issues in large urban spaces was another trending topic, like London’s increased risk of floods and drought and the sinking of Mexico City. In addition, environmental issues were also appealing for our readers, especially related to excessive groundwater withdrawals, as we saw with new research by Cardiff University finding that over half of the world’s groundwater flows could take over 100 years to respond fully to climate change.
Most-read about topics
According to our data, desalination and digitalization have been the two most attractive water-related topics of 2019. This past year has witnessed ground-breaking processes regarding desalination, thus making it more efficient, including a method developed at MIT to turn concentrated brine into useful chemicals. Special attention to making this technology more environmentally friendly has also been a major goal for scientists around the world. Researchers at EPFL have, for example, designed a machine that turns seawater into drinking water in a more ecological fashion. However, the United Nations has also warned of the rising level of toxic brine as the amount of desalination plants increases to meet the growing water needs. From a business perspective, Carlos Cosín, CEO of Almar Water Solutions, wrote an in-depth article on the future trends of this technology, highlighting that desalination techniques have matured, while production and operating costs have dropped.
Meanwhile, digitalization is rapidly transforming the water sector, as new solutions drive sustainable water management and help address critical challenges. To discover the latest tendencies in this sector, we spoke to professionals working in specialized companies, such as Schneider Electric, Bentley Systems, Global Omnium and ACCIONA, as well as the IWA, throughout the year. Smart Water Magazine also kept up with the new smart water solutions launched in the market. Some of the most popular technologies were the Internet of Things, digital twins and smart metering.
Check-out some of our top smart water interviews:
- Gregg Harrin (Bentley Systems): “Digital twins will become an engrained part of every aspect of the water industry.”
- Dragan Savic (IWA): “Digitalization gives all actors in the water sector the enabling tools.”
- Nicolas Foret (Schneider Electric): “Digital solutions in water promise greater business value.”
- Will Sarni: “Cyberscurity is critical for water utilities.”
Most-spoken about countries in 2019
Throughout the year, numerous countries were hit by severe flooding and drought, but 2019 has been particularly devastating for Australia and India.
People in India faced critical drought conditions and water shortages in 2019. The city of Chennai, on the south-eastern coast of India, faced a severe water crisis in June as the reservoirs that supply drinking water to the metropolis ran dry. The country also made the headlines in November due to parts of India experiencing some of the highest levels of air pollution on record. In addition, a ground-breaking new tool launched by the Water, Peace and Security partnership predicted significant risk of water-related conflict in parts of India, but not only is the population suffering from the palpable water crisis, Indian industries are also increasingly concerned with the lack of water. Major steel companies in India, JSW Steel ltd and Tata Steel Ltd, as well as Vedanta ltd, have all identified water scarcity as a potential business risk.
For Australia, 2019 has been a year of climate disasters. Heatwaves in southern Australia with temperatures in the mid-40s hit the country at the start of the year, with fires burning in the south-east for months. Wildfires have threatened Sydney’s water supplies and the city put in place level 2 water restrictions as the reservoir storage levels have steadily dropped. To ease the drought in the Murray River and Darling River basins, ACCIONA announced in November it would increase the production of its Adelaide Desalination Plant.
In 2019, we have also given relevance to all water-related international days observed by the United Nations, including World Water Day, World Wetlands Day, World Toilet Day and World Soils Day. In addition, for World Women’s Day, we launched a cycle of interviews called ‘Women and Water: Closing the Gender Gap’ , with the aim of giving a voice to women working in the water industry.
In the face of climate change, global organizations, businesses and local authorities are giving greater prominence to events related to water, as podiums to show their latest solutions, create partnerships and share expert knowledge. This year,
Alejandro Maceira was invited to the Eleventh Water Economy Forum on July 2, where prestigious international experts on water and sustainability put forward crucial questions for the management of this resource in Latin America. In September, we travelled to Taipei, capital of Taiwan, to cover the first edition of the International Taiwan Water Week. While Maceira attended Bentley Systems’ prestigious Year in Infrastructure Awards as a Jury in the category ‘Water networks, sewage and rainwater’ at the end of October. Additionally, in Barcelona, the team was present at ABB’s first Smart Water Day and the Innovation Summit organized by Schneider Electric.
What will be the key water sector trends for 2020?
As we step into 2020, we will continue to explore the top challenges faced by different regions, companies and water professionals, as well as highlight the top emerging solutions and innovations around the globe. Subscribe to our daily and weekly newsletters and we will lead you through the latest news in this rapidly changing world.