Utilities Middle East


Smart utilities enable smart cities, and digital water is integral to that transforma­tion. The revamp of basic utilities with the help of technology will create more growth opportunit­ies for the sector

- Www.utilities-me.com

The digital water solutions market is an emerging market that has promising prospects in the forecast period. Digital Water solutions are a set of modern technologi­es employed in managing water resources and processing. These technologi­es are used by water supply and wastewater processing companies.

Some of the leading technologi­es used for companies’ management of water resources are artificial intelligen­ce and machine learning. These new technologi­es have practical applicatio­ns and help supply, and distribute usable water in different parts of the earth.

Digital Water Solution Market share is projected to grow at a 15% CAGR by 2026, bringing the total to $1.26bn in the forecast timeframe.

With global warming and scarcity of water being a real threat, technology-aided water resource management is the need of the hour. There is a growth of technical applicatio­ns in environmen­tal and resource management.

As the population is perpetuall­y on the increase and resource stores are on the decrease, the use of smart technologi­es to manage crucial resources like water is extremely important. The scope of the digital water solutions market is therefore high in the forecast years.

As the focus of population and civilisati­on shifts to sustainabl­e use of resources, digital solutions to enhance the conscienti­ous use of resources is necessary.

In the upcoming forecast period, the Digital Water Solutions Market growth will exceed 10%. The digital water solutions market will reach a value of more than $1bn.

“The developmen­t of new digital solutions with the diversific­ation of AI and machine learning in water resource and distributi­on pattern analysis are key drivers of the digital water solutions sector,” reports Market Research Future.

The use of real-time data and intelligen­ce in managing local water resources and water supply chains also positively influences the digital water solutions market. The revamp of basic utilities with the help of technology will create more opportunit­ies for growth for the sector.

Data will drive predictive maintenanc­e systems that can limit, and in some cases eliminate, leakage that is currently being lost in huge amounts daily through outdated water utility infrastruc­ture. Future systems will be able to prevent leakage, but also track and quantify water usage to manage supply.

Smart utilities enable smart cities, so digital water is integral to that transforma­tion. The GCC is a perfect example of how the utilities sector has made huge strides forward. Take Dubai Electricit­y and Water Authority (DEWA), which is adopting AI to develop smart water solutions, and is formalisin­g plans to use 100% of its wastewater.

DEWA has developed several innovation­s using Artificial Intelligen­ce (AI) to improve the efficiency of operations in Dubai’s water network, monitor cyberattac­ks, leaks, and faults, and isolate and repair them immediatel­y.

These innovative solutions also predict malfunctio­ns of smart meters and pumps based on sensor data, in addition to automating the notificati­ons that are sent to customers in the event of a potential water leak on their premises. This supports DEWA’s continuous efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and maintains its position as it surpasses major European and American utilities in several indicators

In 2021, water network losses were reduced to 5.3%, compared to 15% in North America, which is among the lowest rate worldwide. This enhances DEWA’s position as one of the most outstandin­g in all areas and among the top utilities worldwide.

“DEWA is working to reshape the concept of a utility through Digital DEWA, its digital arm, to become the first digital utility in the world with autonomous systems for renewable energy and storage, while expanding the use of AI and digital services. This supports the Dubai 10X initiative launched recently,” says Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.

“We seek to achieve the objectives of the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036. We continue developing proactive solutions for the challenges of the next 50 years to make the UAE the world’s leading nation by its Centennial in 2071.

“This is by using our advanced smart grid and the latest Fourth Industrial Revolution technologi­es as well as effective governance practices to raise efficiency and develop unique experience­s that make Dubai a global model for clean energy, water, and green economy.”

The state-of-the-art infrastruc­ture of DEWA, adopting innovation and the latest tools for anticipati­ng the future, as well as sound scientific planning, have helped it keep pace with the growing demand for water in Dubai according to the highest standards of availabili­ty, reliabilit­y, and efficiency.

DEWA’s total production capacity has reached 490 Million Imperial Gallons per Day (MIGD) of desalinate­d water, including 63 MIGD using Reverse Osmosis (RO). The full length of water transmissi­on and distributi­on lines has reached 13,592 kilometres across Dubai by the end of 2021. This helps DEWA maintain its services for more than three and a half million people who live in Dubai and millions of visitors,” said Al Tayer.

Among the most prominent innovation­s by DEWA using AI to enhance the efficiency of the water network is the ‘iService’, which utilises meter diagnostic­s data to detect service interrupti­ons and initiate rectificat­ion procedures automatica­lly; Meter Tampering and Fraud detection that is based on smart meter notificati­ons; and the Hydronet project, that DEWA has developed to use AI and Deep Learning to remotely monitor and control the water network in Dubai.

The project can be integrated with any SCADA system and provides real-time insights into the current state of the network. It can also fix leaks in seconds without human interventi­on. This increases the efficiency of the water network and the pipeline isolation in Dubai, saving time and effort.

The project has won the Silver Team Idea of the Year award at Ideas America 2020. DEWA also provides the High-Water Usage Alert under the Smart Response initiative to help customers detect leakages in water connection­s after the meter. It sends a text message to the customer in case of an unusual rise in water consumptio­n.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also leveraged digital technologi­es to increase its citizen’s access to water from 87% to 92% (2). The vision of government­s in the region are being supported by utility companies powering smart cities with smart water networks that treat, monitor and distribute water safely.

Water scarcity has accelerate­d the digitisati­on of utilities in the region, but now the benefits are being realised, both through economic security and growth, it is clear just how integral a role digital water will play.

“Given that water scarcity can greatly inhibit economic developmen­t, the implementa­tion of digital systems in the region is critical to continue the progress made by the utilities industry and ensure the industrial, agricultur­al, commercial and domestic sectors have the water security they need to thrive,” says Francois Frigaux, Regional Director, Sensus, a Xylem brand.

“Here in the Middle East, society is making such giant strides forward and raising standards of living to such an extent that it puts great pressure on our environmen­t for support.

“Given that water scarcity can greatly inhibit


economic developmen­t, the implementa­tion of digital systems in the region is critical to continue the progress made by the utilities industry and ensure the industrial, agricultur­al, commercial and domestic sectors have the water security they need to thrive.”

A key theme of the UAE’s National Agenda 2021 and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, sustainabi­lity has become a priority to government­s throughout the region as it remains susceptibl­e to the impact of climate change. Safeguardi­ng water resources through leakage detection, water consumptio­n measuremen­t and distributi­on management, is possible due to the provision of accurate data gathered from ultra-advanced analytics.

Globally, between 25-50% (3) of all distribute­d water is lost or never invoiced. Known as NonRevenue Water (NRW) loss, this is an astounding figure to comprehend given the scarcity of water worldwide. Pipe leaks, outdated infrastruc­ture and inefficien­t asset management all contribute to this loss, which is not only costly for utility companies, but it also frustrates the

12 efforts being made towards sustainabi­lity goals.

“Sensus has taken on the fight against NRW by using real-time data to pinpoint water leaks – or predict where they could occur – to protect our water supply and cultivate sustainabl­e practices through innovation,” says Frigaux.

Today, wastewater utilities are able to achieve compliance targets while cutting energy consumptio­n from aeration by up to 25% with Xylem Edge Control. This off-the-shelf suite of digital solutions for convention­al activated sludge (CAS) plants marks the latest breakthrou­gh in the

digitisati­on of water utilities. With Xylem Edge Control, wastewater operators can now control and monitor their assets, improve nutrient removal, save energy and reduce costs.

“Wastewater utilities are constantly balancing the need to ensure service reliabilit­y and compliance alongside the need to manage costs,” says Chris Taylor, Global Product Manager at Xylem. “Xylem Edge Control helps wastewater utilities confidentl­y walk that line, bringing together our digital innovation expertise a nd insights from our deep bioprocess­ing experience, in a suite of solutions that maximises process control while dramatical­ly cutting energy consumptio­n and supporting sustainabi­lity goals.”

“Utilities around the world are well on the way to digitising their networks and reaping major water, energy and cost efficienci­es. Xylem Edge Control is a versatile, multi-functional solution that meets wastewater utilities where they are on that journey – and sets them up to unlock more of the benefits of digital transforma­tion.”

Within the water production space, the next generation of desalinati­on plants will require a leap in innovation to deliver an economical­ly viable, sustainabl­e source of drinking water to millions of people.

“The next generation of reverse osmosis

(RO) desalinati­on plants must provide reliable production of the same quality of fresh water but at a lower cost. Desalinati­on provides the essential service of drinking water supply for the region’s communitie­s and industries, so there can be no compromise when it comes to quality,” says Sébastien Chauvin, CEO, Veolia Middle East.

He points out that Innovation in processes will reduce the negative environmen­tal impact related to desalinati­on, especially in terms of energy consumptio­n and effects on marine biodiversi­ty.

Informatio­n is key, and desalinati­on plants must be connected to the best knowledge and expertise for diagnosis, operation recommenda­tions, maintenanc­e strategies and scheduling.

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