The twin challenges of urbanization and climate change are resulting in growing water scarcity in cities around the world. More and more people are moving to urban areas – already half of the world’s population (55%) lives in cities, and the United Nations expects that number to rise to two-thirds (68%) d a few decades from now. At the same time, climate change is already seeing large swathes of the planet affected by drought, coastlines eroding and livelihoods disappearing. In 2022, more than 2.3 billion people are facing water stress, nearly 160 million children are exposed to severe and prolonged droughts.

Yet, although more than 70% of the planet is covered in water, only 3% of it is drinkable, and a significant portion of these freshwater resources are locked up in glaciers and ice caps. Worse still, water demand is expected to increase by 30% by 2050, with the United Nations predicting a global water deficit of up to 40% by 2030.

In response, a growing number of cities are imposing water restrictions to solve the problem. Santiago and Los Angles are two of the latest. National governments, from the Netherlands to Brazil, have formulated policy frameworks to regulate water production and management.

However, guaranteeing access to water, a fundamental right for all and enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, increasingly requires real-time on-site management that makes it possible to circumvent the challenges of water scarcity. ‘water. To this end, municipalities around the world are turning to digital technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, as well as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to meet their water security needs. By generating valuable predictive business insights and improving operational resilience, these smart city solutions can help authorities understand water needs, preserve existing water sources, and minimize leaks to increase water availability. drinking water for all.

How Naples manages water systems remotely
As hybrid workplaces become the norm but supply and distribution challenges increase, digital technologies are already supporting water and wastewater management. Gori centralizes water services to 74 Italian municipalities in and around Naples, including Salerno, Vesuvius and the island of Capri, taking over from a patchwork of local suppliers. But calibrating the delivery of 207 million cubic meters of water to more than 1.5 million people over a 4,000 km (2,485 mile) network as a single entity was becoming unmanageable on a large scale. A 2,240 km (1,391 mile) sewer network covering 13 treatment plants compounds the problem.

Gori’s SCADA team turned to digital technology solutions to reconcile their significant operational challenges and reduce energy consumption along the way. The implemented smart city solution provided operators with one-stop access from fixed and mobile stations.

Since the system’s implementation, Gori’s operations have seen increases in efficiency and sustainability. In its Mercato Palazzo factory, for example, the remote monitoring and control system has reduced energy consumption by 45% or saved around 80,000 euros per month.

How the City of Salem Predicts and Ensures Water Quality
The effects of climate change are complicating water management for utilities around the world, with events such as droughts and changing precipitation patterns altering water availability patterns. The city of Salem, Oregon faces a different kind of water quality risk. Warming temperatures have led to an increase in dangerous algal blooms on the lakes and rivers that supply the city with drinking water. Many of these algae produce dangerous cyanotoxins that pose significant challenges to water utilities, including serious safety risks and costly interference with treatment processes. Such a four-day event in 2018 led to a month-long drinking water advisory, and eventually a declaration of emergency.

The city turned to our data hub to ensure they would never be surprised by such a scare again. Scalable cloud data management platform brings together live data points such as water depth, weather information, water turbidity, satellite imagery and lab samples in one web interface unique. City officials then share this unified information with engineers, ecologists, mathematicians and other analysts in real time.

The program puts previously inaccessible data sources at the fingertips of officials, allowing them to perform predictive analysis that predicts the need for water treatment a week before any algal blooms and toxic hazards occur. That’s enough time for operators to take corrective action such as changing pumps and filters or redirecting water flow, ensuring Salem residents always have clean, safe drinking water.

How Puerto Rico Improves Asset Resilience and Efficiency
The Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico lacks a source of clean fresh water. Yet, with more than three million inhabitants and an equal number of annual visitors, the demand for water continues to grow. The system serving them has extended to more than 16,100 km (10,000 miles) of water and aqueducts and 3,218 km (2,000 miles) of sewer lines between 1,500 sites serving the five regions of the island. The island’s diverse and remote terrain means increased visibility and reduced travel is essential.

The Puerto Rico Water and Sewage Authority, already one of the most advanced utilities in the world, recently transitioned to a fully automated system with an integrated suite of digital solutions to reconcile the competing goals of increasing water production , EPA compliance, improved efficiency and lower costs.

Manual operations have been eliminated wherever possible for proactive management of all aspects of water and wastewater systems. Real-time diagnostics allow operators to monitor the quality of water and wastewater treatment processes, troubleshoot issues, and make timely changes that help prevent compliance violations. Tangible results include clean, EPA-compliant water, fewer downtimes, and improved customer satisfaction. Production has increased from 12 million gallons (45 million liters) to 20-30 million gallons (75-113 liters), while approximately $15 million has been saved over seven years.

Smart water solutions improve access to water
With the increasing incidence, severity and complexity of water crises, human effort alone cannot solve the growing water challenges facing cities around the world today. . The use of digital water technologies is transforming water and wastewater management in urban areas around the world. By adopting smart water management, municipalities and utilities can improve resource efficiency, optimize supplies, maintain water quality and predict maintenance needs, while avoiding costly interruptions. By doing so, affordable access to water can be improved for all. Technology can help alleviate the water crisis – if we deploy it appropriately.

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