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Staying current about Utilities & Water security issues

  • Staying current about Utilities & Water security issues
  • We are introducing a new format for our newsletters. Every week we will send three thematic newsletters, focusing on Water and wastewater treatment (on Tuesdays), Digital (on Wednesdays) and Utilities & Water security (on Thursdays).
  • We invite you to subscribe to our new thematic newsletters here.

You might have heard by now that Smart Water Magazine has launched three new thematic newsletters, focusing on Water and wastewater treatment news, on Digital news, and the third one we are pitching here: Utilities & Water security, coming to your mailbox every Thursday.

The diversity of issues of interest to water utilities, and the wealth of topics under the umbrella of water security, are sure to make this a rich and diverse newsletter, packed with current news, as well as comprehensive features and discussions with relevant stakeholders.

Utilities & Water security: most read stories in 2023

We want to close 2023 with a recap of our top news and stories, those that gained the most attention from our audience concerning water utilities and water security, including droughts, floods, climate change, and Sustainable Development Goals. The following are the 10 most-read ones:

The Ashford Common water treatment plant in England is one of Europe's largest water treatment plants, supplying about a third of London's water. In 2018, the plant experienced equipment breakdown and needed a replacement motor. WEG, a supplier chosen by Thames Water, provided a turnkey solution with a custom-assembled motor, which improved the plant's stability and reliability.

Saudi Arabia has allocated over $80 billion for water projects to ensure universal access to safe and affordable drinking water. In addition, the country aims to provide sanitation services to over 95% of the population by 2030. Thanks to the reorganization of the water sector and the creation of the National Water Strategy, Saudi Arabia is on track to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Thames Water Utilities Finance plc has appointed Chris Weston as the new Chief Executive Officer of Thames Water Utilities Limited, effective from January 8, 2024. Weston has a strong background in regulated environments and turning around business performance. He will focus on delivering the company's turnaround plan and improving performance in the coming years.

India plans to invest over $240 billion in its water sector, with a focus on achieving clean water and sanitation goals. The country is also implementing the world's largest dam rehabilitation programme and working to restore groundwater levels. India has also made significant progress in improving sanitation, building over 105 million toilets since 2014 and transforming sanitation habits for 600 million people.

Saudi Arabia has announced the creation of a Global Water Organization based in Riyadh, to integrate and enhance global efforts towards water sustainability. Saudi Arabia has allocated over $6 billion in development aid funds for water and sanitation projects worldwide. The organization will collaborate with countries to address their water challenges, promote innovation in water resource management, and fund high-priority projects for universal access to water resources.

Saur, a French company providing water utility services worldwide, aims to become the leader in the water transition by 2030 and has set a goal to generate 50% of their revenue from international operations by 2025. The company prioritizes digitalisation and has invested in AI and data analysis to improve water management, as part of its commitment to reducing water consumption and promoting sustainable practices.

Veolia Water Technologies is a leading player in the water treatment and desalination industry in the Middle East. They offer a wide range of sustainable and innovative technologies, including their Barrel™ solution, a compact and efficient membrane technology for desalination and drinking water treatment. Veolia is dedicated to addressing water scarcity challenges in the Middle East by maximizing water reuse and implementing sustainable water management practices.

Construction has started on Sydney Water's $1.2 billion Upper South Creek Advanced Water Recycling Centre in Western Sydney. The facility will provide wastewater services to 400,000 new homes in the growing Western Sydney Aerotropolis Growth Area. It will be one of the most advanced wastewater recycling facilities in the southern hemisphere, treating 70 megalitres of wastewater daily to produce high-quality recycled water for homes and businesses, and generating biosolid products for agriculture.

African countries are facing environmental problems that are threatening the health, economy, and social cohesion of the region. Water pollution is one such problem in the continent, where lack of access to clean water is causing preventable illnesses and diseases, while women and young girls travel lengthy distances to fetch drinking water. To address these issues, governments need to pass laws to protect public health, hold polluting industries accountable, and invest in sustainable practices.

Singapore's National Water Agency, PUB, has launched a $125 million research programme called the Coastal Protection and Flood Management Research Programme (CFRP), which aims to strengthen coastal protection and inland flood management capabilities in the face of climate change. It will focus on developing innovative, sustainable, and smart solutions tailored to Singapore's urban environment.

Welcome 2024: what we are likely to hear about

Water utilities bear a responsibility that goes even beyond providing quality water and wastewater services, as stewards of a vital resource and with a key role in advancing sustainability. The focus on optimizing water systems strives to increase water and energy efficiency and ensure water affordability and access. Water utilities grapple with challenges posed by ageing infrastructure and workforce constraints, at the same time as they navigate compliance with new regulations. Beyond regulatory compliance, sustainability takes centre stage and specifically the pursuit of carbon neutrality, and resilience to climate-induced changes.

New technologies are instrumental in enabling water utilities to address contemporary challenges. Advanced solutions for real-time monitoring and data analytics enable better decisions, while automation streamlines operations. Evolving business models, particularly public-private partnerships, are also influencing how water utilities operate and invest in infrastructure. At the intersection of new technologies and novel business models is the uptake of approaches such as decentralized water and wastewater treatment solutions.

Water utilities play a pivotal role in the broader goal of achieving water security for communities and regions. They work towards a reliable and resilient supply of quality water, promote conservation measures, implement sound governance practices, and foster community awareness of the value of water resources.

In this newsletter, we are going to cover multiple dimensions of water security: access to safe drinking water for human well-being and economic activities, but also for preserving ecosystems and ensuring protection against water-related hazards including floods, droughts and pollution. We will also explore the delicate balance within the water-energy-food nexus, crucial for sustainable development, and the specific opportunities for the water sector in the energy transition as part of its role in supporting broader sustainability goals.

In this dynamic landscape, the year 2024 unfolds as a critical juncture, where water utilities navigate the intricate web of business model evolution, technological integration, and environmental imperatives to ensure resilient and sustainable water management for the future.

We invite you to subscribe to our new thematic newsletters here.

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