Utilities Middle East
BOOSTING RESILIENCY IN WATER NETWORKS
Technological advancements pertaining to smart meters and their integration with communication solutions (SCADA, GIS, etc.) have transformed water management, to address the challenges faced by water utilities, residents, and industries.
The smart water management market was valued at $13.54bn in 2019 and is expected to reach $25.61bn by 2025, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 13.18%, during the forecast period (2020 - 2025).
There will be more than two-thirds of people will be living in water scarce areas by 2025 according to Xylem. By 2050 water demand will increase by 55% compared to 2015 levels due to the destruction of water resources by humans due to contamination.
The major drivers for the smart water management market are technological advancement, growing population and decrease in water resources globally. Increase in supervisory control and data acquisition is also a major driver for the market.
However, the major restraints to the market include high investments required initially and a very low and slow rate of return. Moreover, lack of expertise to implement these technologies across the globe and slow rate of adoption is also a challenge for the market.
Nevertheless, the proliferation of IoT and smart cities across various regions promote the growth of the market studied. Technological advancements pertaining to smart meters and their integration with communication solutions (SCADA, GIS, etc.) have transformed water management, to address the challenges faced by water utilities, residents, and industries, in terms of erroneous billing and water management. By 2050 it is estimated that 70% of the
population will live in urban areas and historical lack of investment in water management is putting the entire water networks in immense pressure. Owing to this, SCADA is being increasingly used in water control and management.
Further, SCADA adoption is set to penetrate with the growth in smart cities and smart water projects worldwide. In Europe, 100 smart cities have a great scope for adoption of SCADA for solving the problems of water management. London had deployed SCADA for its Thames water management which saw a 13% decrease in water consumption.
Additionally, from 2018 to 2024 the governments worldwide will invest in $14bn smart water projects which is further expected to augment the market growth.
As an ongoing trend, the capabilities of cellular and IoT-based technologies will continue to expand in 2020. Cellular technologies eliminate the need for traditional fixed-network infrastructure and provide a flexible transition from mobile technology.
Without the need for traditional fixed-network infrastructure, water utilities can focus their network installation and maintenance costs on other projects. In the past, water utilities upgraded their systems by installing a new physical network around a city. In contrast, cellular-enabled water metering solutions eliminate the upfront expense and hassle tied to fixed-network deployment.
One of the largest, albeit hopefully unused, benefits of cellular-enabled technologies is resiliency. Because of the importance to first responders, cellular networks typically come back online fast in order to support emergency efforts. That means a water utility using cellular networks would be back online too, without having to repair infrastructure.
As key decision-makers in how a city implements its smart city technologies, water utilities must consider the value of flexibility. By implementing IoT-enabled cellular networks, water utilities and the cities themselves have options. Cellular-enabled technologies are not a one-sizefits-all solution.
Because cellular does not require any infrastructure, the water utility and city can install technologies that best fit their respective needs. For example, cellular can also support smart sensors for parking meters, lights, transportation and more.
Accurate and reliable data analytics have changed the water utility landscape. But water utilities alone can only go so far in reducing water loss and meeting water usage goals. That’s why a growing number of utilities are engaging their customers in helping to manage their water usage.
A growing number of utilities are engaging their customers in helping to manage their water usage.
As part of many advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and AMA solutions, water utility customers have access to engagement tools which enable them to see their personal consumption data daily, hourly, monthly and annually via their smartphones, computers or tablets.
By providing clear and transparent information about water usage, water utilities are empowering and educating their customers.
This can help mitigate questions about water rate increases or leaks and reduce response time – all of which can improve efficiency and support water conservation efforts.
Companies that work on integrated water cycle management, also have the responsibility and the duty to work towards achieving efficient integrated water cycle management. For instance, ACCIONA has put BIONS (Business Intelligence Of Network Solutions) into operation, a cloud-based data intelligence platform, which integrates several sources to provide value-intelligence to the business and improve the management of the water supply system through water efficiency.
“BIOS offers a comprehensive in depth vision of the service and the water supply network as well as the “health” of the network itself, with the aim of recording all events taking place in the water supply network,” says Julio Ratia, ACCIONA O&M Middle East Director for our water solutions.
“It integrates several data sources: smart water meters for domestic use, district metered area (DMA) sensors, management systems for users and incidents, tank levels, GIS, meteorological data or calendar variables.”
According to a report by Sensus, utilities could save up to $12.5bn by implementing smart water systems, so there are huge opportunities for smart water companies who are offering the right solutions.
Smart water networks will allow utilities to monitor and maximise existing water supplies, respond to regulatory pressure for improved customer services using cloud-based platforms, save expenditure on new infrastructure to secure water supplies and generally improve their network efficiency.
There are also long-term benefits – saving water resources now will stand utilities in good stead for a future characterised by climate change, increasing water scarcity and population growth.
The landscape of municipal water will change in the wake of the ‘smart city’. Whether you need to keep track of these developments to ensure your business does not fall behind, or you want to break into the market with your smart solution – this is an essential resource.
The UAE is already home to a strong power and water infrastructure, but there is a growing need to further optimise operations and achieve higher
efficiencies by leveraging digital technology. We are already seeing strong efforts across all utilities to introduce smart networks that will reduce distribution losses as well as proactively identify any maintenance challenges.
The region is witnessing a growing realisation that complex systems and entire cities can be managed more effectively if data is leveraged for greater visibility. The Internet of Things (IoT), which is a convergence of technologies such as remote sensors, machine learning and real-time analytics, is central to the development of these smart, digital ecosystems.
“From a water and infrastructure perspective, we are seeing a major shift towards the fight against Non-Revenue Water (NRW) loss. Water operators are adopting digital technologies that can help to reduce NRW, thereby helping cut costs and deliver more sustainable solutions overall,” says Frank Ackland, Managing Director, Middle East & Turkey at Xylem.
“A smart water network solution offers a continuous and frequent flow of data which in turn, , ensures a continuous chain of information about a network and facilitates real-time, data-based decision making. This gives utilities comprehensive, real-time insight into network activity and allows them to identify issues that can potentially cause lasting damage, ahead of time.”
Utilities have a large amount of data at their fingertips; however, this is often held in different data sets across a number of teams. If data and analytics are integrated across the organisation, better datadriven business decisions can be made - improving operational efficiency and helping combat the water stress that the region faces.
Smart water networks not only serve to improve daily water management, but also play an important long-term role in managing water needs in the face of natural disasters and environmental change. Aided by unparalleled digital innovation, utilities can ensure increased water security for the industrial, commercial, agricultural and domestic sectors, which can have a direct impact on economic security and growth, while simultaneously helping the environment.
“In the energy sector, MDM platforms play a crucial role in the efficient use of smart electricity meters,” says Harriet Sumnall, research analyst at ABI Research. “Similarly, in the water utility market, MDM platforms are needed to extract the most useful water meter data to ensure identifying and classifying not only revenue-generating water usage but also water loss considered “non-revenue” water.”
The Intelligent Water Distribution Networks Application analysis report highlights that MDM systems developed for the energy utility market are not automatically suited for water utilities though as they don’t necessarily address their unique needs.
Different from the automated metering infrastructure (AMI) systems deployed for energy utilities, water utilities need specific functionalities in an MDM platform such as flexibility to scale more gradually and integration into specific water utility systems in areas of water quality, pressure, and billing.
Regional smart water meter deployments are forecasted to grow significantly. In 2018, the AsiaPacific (APAC) region accounted for 42 per cent of the global total installed base, followed by Europe and North America. In the APAC region, smart water meter deployments will surge as water utilities in China, India, Japan, and South Korea start to move from trials to large scale deployments in early 2020.