Digital water is already here. That is the conclusion of a new report, produced by the International Water Association (IWA) and Xylem, that reviews the current state of digital technologies in the water sector and the lessons learned by 40 utilities around the world. Download the report now to see its key findings and get a roadmap for your utility’s digital transformation.
The water sector has never faced greater challenges, but it has also never had as many opportunities to solve these challenges with new digital technologies. The IWA and Xylem report, Digital Water: Industry Leaders Chart the Transformation Journey, shows how leaders in the water sector are using digital solutions to solve water affordability, scarcity and resilience.
Digital water, or what is also called smart water, the internet of water, or water 4.0, involves using data, automation and artificial intelligence to improve water services and operations. Water utilities are now using digital technologies to extend water resources, reduce combined sewer overflows by a billion gallons a year, and cut non-revenue water losses dramatically.
Digital solutions also provide the basis for a water utility’s financial security. They create water, energy and cost efficiencies that were previously unimaginable, in addition to improving customer service and affordability.
A roadmap to digital water transformation
“The dawn of the digital water economy will prove transformational in enabling the water sector and its customers to transition towards a new paradigm for urban water management,” writes Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, Executive Director of the IWA. “The paper offers utilities a roadmap to assess where they are in their digital journey, and what steps they can take in order to cultivate their digital maturity.”
The report, authored in part by Will Sarni, CEO of Water Foundry, is based on interviews, surveys and input from nearly 50 water utility executives and over 20 subject matter experts.
“It has been our great honor to work with the International Water Association and Water Foundry to engage in this in-depth examination of data and water,” writes Patrick Decker, President and CEO of Xylem. “No one can solve water alone. By tracing the digital journey and capturing the experiences of dozens of utility pioneers, we are starting a dialogue and building a body of knowledge that can inform and inspire water managers from around the globe.”
Assessing your water utility’s digital maturity
In addition to presenting an overview of the water sector, the report was also written to be a working tool for utilities. The report includes the Digital Water Adoption Curve, which helps utilities assess where they are in their digital maturity.
The curve begins with utilities at an immature digital development phase. It then expands through utilities that have become digitally aware or that have incorporated digital technologies in their processes. It then moves on to utilities with an agile, innovative business structure that have fully embraced digital technologies.
Many of the water utility executives interviewed for the report understand that digital transformation is not just an opportunity, but something they need to do. Utilities must branch away from traditional, legacy infrastructure in order to continue providing adequate services for meeting the demands of society.
“If you have any doubt, just try it,” said Claire Falzone-Allard, CEO of NovaVeolia, France. “Try small at first. This is just the beginning of the digital water journey, and if you don’t adopt digital technologies, someone else will.”