Apr 23, 2021

Every drop of water counts

We need to protect our water before it becomes scarce. Artificial intelligence and modern ground filters in densely populated areas can help.

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Have you experienced water scarcity?  You may already have. Think back to recent past summers when we were no longer allowed to water the garden or wash the car because of heat and drought. This was the case in many cities. But that was probably only the tip of the iceberg.  Water scarcity means not having water because there is too little of it available or because the available water is too polluted to drink.

According to the UN, four billion people live in areas where they are exposed to this kind of water shortage for at least one month a year.[1] And about 1.6 billion people face water scarcity, due to physical shortage, or scarcity in access due to the failure of institutions to ensure a regular supply or due to a lack of adequate infrastructure. It's no wonder then, that the UN has dedicated one of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to water and improving sanitation.[2]

Artificial intelligence and digital technology are helping water utilities in their search for leaks in the pipe system.

Digital noise detectors help find leaks and cracks

The water utility companies of the future will be called upon for their expertise when it comes to detecting drinking water losses caused by defective water pipes. This can involve considerable amounts, as the examples of England and Wales show: almost three billion liters of water disappear there every day due to defective water pipes. This could fill 1,180 fifty-meter swimming pools.[3]

Artificial intelligence and digital technology are helping water utilities in their search for leaks in the pipe system. In this process, intelligent audio detectors register even the smallest sounds underground and send their data to water companies' central servers via the internet. In this way, pipe bursts and cracks can be quickly noticed and localized.

Not all water is the same - separating drinking and service water

Differentiating the use of different types of water also helps to use the scarce resource more sparingly. Water suppliers are called upon to develop technical solutions that reuse water in accordance with hygiene and environmental requirements - for example, for irrigating fields, supplying service water to industrial parks or sprinkling green areas.

Safeguarding drinking water quality is another important task for the future, especially in dense areas. Pollutants such as microplastics, which come from tire abrasion, and biocides, which are used in facade coatings to protect against algae and fungi, must be captured from rainwater using special soil filters.

Every individual can also do his or her part to save water. If you still need a few ideas for this, take a moment and determine your personal water use footprint here.

Water suppliers are called upon to develop technical solutions that reuse water in accordance with hygiene and environmental requirements.

One earth doesn't seem to be enough

Besides the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, an essential role on the path to net zero will be played by land, freshwater and the oceans, which constitute some of the components of natural capital. Natural capital solutions are essential to help society cut emissions and improve resilience.

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Water - the blue gold

Water is the basis of all life - but an increasingly scarce resource. Billions in investment might be needed to alleviate the global water shortage.

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1. www.unwater.org/publications/un-world-water-development-report-2021/

2. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/

3. www.bbc.com/news/business-53274914

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