The water sector is at a moment of opportunity. Digital solutions have demonstrated the potential to transform water systems and address escalating challenges of accessibility, affordability, and resilience.
So, what can we learn from those reaping the benefits of digital transformation? How did they start? And how did they scale?
Moving From Ripple To Wave:
A Digitalization Playbook
“Going digital” is not an outcome, it is a way to solve problems. Each utility’s unique strategic goals, regulatory demands, and available data should always underpin any decision about digital investments.
Listen to your team and connect digital strategy to daily work. Empower operators to use data and digital tools in ways that make their work easier and optimize outcomes.
Successful operators find a sustainable pace of change, delivering small wins by putting quality data to work and building thoughtfully on each success. This creates a ripple effect with efforts gaining momentum over time.
Articulate the value of digital in a way stakeholders can understand and show progress at every step of the journey. Don't wait to tell the story of what's working.
City of Columbus, Ohio, USA
"Getting visibility of the system has been crucial for our staff. Previously, they were dealing with a wall of water. Now they have real-time information and can make data-driven decisions."
-Holly Boyer, P.E.
Buffalo Sewer Authority, New York, USA
"The way we deliver our projects now is completely different from seven or eight years ago. Everybody is at the table. Our technology is no longer a black box."
- Oluwole A. McFoy, P.E.
CEO & General Manager
Howard County Water Department, Maryland, USA
"When you show it, they get it - build a little and show where it has been successful."
- Daniel L. Davis, P.E.
Chief, Utility Design Division (Water/Sewer)
International Water Association
"The right data will get you the right results. Quality data will help you avoid drowning in numbers."
- Oliver Grievson
IWA Digital Water Program Chair
South Bend Municipal Utilities, Indiana, USA
“We realized we could use the smart sensor data we were gathering not just for immediate maintenance, but also for future infrastructure planning."
- Kieran Fahey
Long-Term Control Plan Director
Syndicat d'Eau de l'Anjou, Angers, France
"I explained to my operators that I wanted to optimize their roles so they could spend more time in the field, reducing the distance between them and our customers."
- Romain Lhermitte
Director of Operations
Air Selangor, Malaysia
"We have a lot of data but we need it to be meaningful – we have to be able to connect all the dots. Now, we have cultivated a digital working culture."
- Ir. Abas Abdullah
Acting Chief Executive Officer