Centralized water systems dominate in economically advanced nations. However, alternative models are now emerging that may save substantial amounts of money and help alleviate pressure on water supplies across the globe.
Most industrialized countries use a centralized water supply approach to control, treat and distribute water among their populations. This has proved an effective way of reaching the various regions in nations where a developed infrastructure is in place. However, there are problems with centralized supplies including leakages (which amount to 45 million cubic metres a day), bacteria that can develop when water stagnates, and uneven water quality across different areas.
Upgrade and maintenance costs are expensive. For some countries, replacing archaic pipes could take decades. For others, it may never happen. To properly address the situation, we may need more innovative solutions. It could be time to revolutionize the way we think about how water is distributed and managed.
With factors such as population growth and climate change expected to exacerbate current problems with global water shortages over the coming decades, we may well see more developing countries exploring decentralized approaches to find ways of improving access to water among their populations.