The role of smart technology in the water crisis

Technology is changing the way we access, produce, manage, and monitor water supplies. Some of the new and emerging developments will play a vital role if we are to avoid the predicted global water crisis.

Already, around 1.2 billion people worldwide are living in areas experiencing water scarcity. According to the UN, this figure could rise to as much as 5 billion by 2050. 

Smart technology is among the most sophisticated of today's innovations, with the Internet of Things (IoT) pioneering solutions in many industries. IoT and smart systems are now paving the way for a transformation in how we use water and manage increasingly scarce resources. 

What water smart technology is available? 

There is a wealth of water smart technology becoming available to improve the use and management of water supplies. This has the effect of boosting water efficiency in developed countries and improving access to clean water in developing countries. 

Technology now available includes:

  • Sensors – these devices can be used to measure and detect a wide variety of things in both household and commercial settings, including water usage and pressure, temperature, leak detection, water quality (with sophisticated systems able to detect chemical impurities in supplies) and even levels of water saturation in soil to improve irrigation techniques. The technology used in BOSAQ's Q-Drop systems uses IoT to break down the chemical make-up of untreated water before applying purification techniques. 
  • Data analysis and data sharing tools – smart technology has made it possible to collate and integrate data from multiple sources and use algorithms to plan future water management. An example of this is smart metering, which uses information and communication technologies (ICT) networks to not only reduce water waste at individual user level but also remotely assess water consumption levels in local areas and tailor the supply accordingly. 

How can this help the water crisis? 

The advent of smart technology has numerous potential benefits for the better management and supply of water across the globe and can play a key role in averting a future water crisis. IoT systems can greatly improve the management of water resources and help us shift towards a more water sustainable society. 

Benefits include:

  • reduction of waste – the use of sensors to control water flows, monitor water pressure and detect leaks leads to a huge reduction in the amount of water wasted and increases water efficiency at all levels, which helps to reduce pressure on water supplies. 
  • better water recycling – smart technology has improved water recycling capabilities, with the most modern systems we are now able to detect and remove impurities from wastewater, saltwater and rainwater and quickly transform it into drinkable and usable water. Again, this has benefits in terms of alleviating pressure on existing supplies. 
  • Improved infrastructure – water authorities can take advantage of IoT to use smart metering, improve monitoring and analysis of usage to make savings, manage systems remotely (which can further reduce costs) and improve hydraulics management. The money-saving potential of smart water management is estimated to reach between $12-15bn a year over the coming years. 
  • Helping developing countries access clean water – smart technology can be used in poorer areas that lack a constant supply of clean water to eliminate harmful chemicals more efficiently in the water system and deliver it as usable drinking water. This can be supplied through decentralized off-grid systems.

Water Experts provide the latest in technological solutions and expert advice to help you prepare for a more water sustainable future. From carrying out water audits and helping you promote your water sustainability best practices to providing up-to-date products such as the Q-Drop a decentralized drinking water purification technology, we can ensure that you make the best steps forward and play your part in tackling the coming global water crisis. 

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