Leading water utilities are increasingly embracing data analytics and digital technology to optimize their operations, save millions for communities and increase water networks’ resilience to climate change.
Insights from 18 global water utility leaders and experts that are influential in early-stage digital adoption are featured in a new paper from water technology leader Xylem and Bluefield Research. These utility experts share perspectives on how “going digital” is helping them to solve big water challenges in their communities. Their shared expertise provides a blueprint to accelerate the modernization of 400,000 water, wastewater, and stormwater systems worldwide.
Utilities that participated in the paper implemented digital technology to save billions of gallons of water, prevent millions of gallons of sewer overflow pollution, and save millions of dollars in energy costs.
For example, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati used data and digital solutions to give its existing infrastructure new capabilities.
“We grabbed our combined sewer overflow monitoring data, flow monitors, and real-time control facilities, and tied them together in a SCADA system. The insights were mind-blowing,” Reese Johnson, Compliance Services Division Superintendent at MSD, said.
Utilities that participated in the paper implemented digital technology to save billions of gallons of water, prevent millions of gallons of sewer overflow pollution, and save millions of dollars in energy costs
In Queensland, Australia, Unitywater used leak detection technology to reduce lost water and revenue, and used smart meters to help reduce leaks for customers.
“We learned a lot from our initial 1000-meter pilot project before launching the smart meter network as a second step. Smart water meters have been a sustainable decision, both environmentally and financially,” Daniel Lambert, Unitywater Executive Manager of Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions, said.
Chinese utility Beijing Drainage Group (BDG) is leveraging digital technologies to optimize energy usage and cut carbon emissions. By implementing a suite of control systems for aeration, chemical dosing, and drainage, BDG has already cut annual energy use by 10 to 15%.
The utility leaders and experts featured in the new paper, Ripple Effect: A Movement Towards Digital Transformation, demonstrate how incremental approaches to digital adoption can lead to powerful outcomes.
“Utilities are transforming the water sector and delivering big benefits for local communities -- saving money, preventing leaks and overflows, and cutting emissions,” Matthew Pine, Chief Operating Officer at Xylem, said. “Learning from the experiences of these pacesetters, utilities of all sizes, and at any stage of digital maturity, can accelerate their transition to more affordable and more sustainable infrastructure.”