How much important is it to digitize the water industry? The water and the utility sectors have been understood in their entirety as a supply chain, that they have an extremely high strategic value. With India continuing to fall down the chart as compared to other countries in terms of access to safe water, plus with the overall population that is expected to touch 1.6 billion by 2050, along with the pandemic, the pressure has been increasing on the already strained water resources.
By the year 2030, India’s water demand ratio is expected to be twice the available water supply, resulting in severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6% loss in the country’s GDP. The environmental issues and rapid population growth are not the only factors that contribute to complicating this already complex and sensitive sector. It is also complicated by consumers, who are indulged in constantly evolving social and technological environments that change behaviors in unpredictable ways. Companies dealing with water management and its supply, find themselves in a constant emergence to invest in new technologies and treatment processes to be able to guarantee both the quality and continuity of the service provided to the customers.
It is time that the water industry gets empowered to become more resilient, efficient, and innovative when arriving at effective and economically viable strategies. This is where digitization comes into the picture. Digitization is one of the solutions that could help multiply opportunities and reduces water-related issues. Most industries are already exploring the possibilities of the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor systems. There is a substantial shift from traditional systems to smart systems, which have now become the growth drivers for industries like water, petroleum, and others. Smart water solutions could cover up most of the areas within towns, cities, and industries, providing an improved quality of life with digital connections and operational efficiencies. While in the retail, finance, and automotive sectors, digitization is the key for companies to survive, in the water sector, on t d by all the stakeholders as a fundamental lever for long-term social and economic growth.
Digitization of the Water sector in India suggests adopting a more intelligent approach to water management. Digital technology has unlimited potential for transforming the world's water systems and assisting utilities in becoming more innovative, resilient, and efficient. We can simply integrate and improve smart pumps, sensors, valves, and actuators with the help of IoT supporting data-driven models, allowing each device to "speak" to each other and communicate real-time data that can be viewed and shared via the cloud. Water utilities can analyze, automate, correct in real-time, predict, and minimize risks by adopting digital infrastructure. This will help them address many of the current challenges they face, including extending the life of aging assets and minimizing leakages, attacks, or other issues which would otherwise disturb the water network.
Digital solutions are crucial in monitoring the water and sanitation network, as well as in equipment management, and water quality for human consumption. With the hasty rise in water demand and the exhaustion of water resources, adopting digital water solutions can aid to reduce the demand and supply divide.
Digital technologies such as a dense network of sensors, real-time source-to-tap twin, intelligent equipment, and advanced simulation tools enable the utilities to be better equipped to address their changing environment. Improving day-to-day water management and building long-term resiliency to disasters and climate change should be a considerable priority for the utilities.
Digitizing the water management system will prove to be a huge leap for infrastructure as well as for society. It can potentially put an end to the inefficiencies one had to face due to a lack of proper technological backup.
With the rise of the digital revolution in the water industry, data collection is growing exponentially, replacing conventional methods and practices. The ability to monitor water consumption patterns and collect data of the highest precision remotely has a huge advantage. Tackling a large number of complaints such as low pressure, and improper water supply, are concerns that are likely to rise under the pandemic water use which might lead to challenges like wrong billing, lower efficiency, and lesser collection of billing amounts. Remote monitoring and data collection capabilities under digitization will help in addressing such complications.
Despite the uptake of implementation of digital technologies in the water sector, there are still some industries that are falling behind. The need of the hour is to build a holistic digital roadmap to give a head start for the beginning of the digital water. The real effect of digitization lies in linking new technologies to reimagine business processes with the help of advanced technology. Although India is gaining momentum in its digital journey of water, we would need more constructive and collaborative efforts among the water industry stakeholders to accelerate this revolution.