Smart Water, Wastewater Management Drives Down Costs, Reduces Loss


by | Mar 23, 2017

FlygtSmart water solutions can help corporations save on water bills and improve water management. Fetzer Vineyards, for example, recently installed smart water metering technology from Apana that the winery expects to reduce its water use by a quarter.

These intelligent systems that rely on big data and the Internet of Things to pinpoint leaks in real-time and improve facilities’ water management are also important tools for overcoming the problem of crumbling water infrastructure.

There’s a huge demand for water infrastructure spending — the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the US needs to invest a minimum of $123 billion per year in water infrastructure over the next 10 years to achieve a good state of repair. And this, in part, is driving the smart water metering market, which is expected to reach about $8.70 billion globally by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.8 percent over the next decade.

To this end we are increasingly seeing public-private partnerships formed to improve water infrastructure and prevent water loss. This also benefits companies by reducing the cost of water and conserving water resources, which all companies require in their daily operations.

One example of this is a partnership between Qualcomm, AT&T, CH2M and Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources in Georgia, that is working to reduce the amount of drinking water lost on its way to customers. The partners say it will be one of the first projects using power-efficient modems from Qualcomm Technologies to monitor non-revenue water usage — or water that has been treated and “lost” through the conveyance system before it reaches the customer whether through leaks, theft or meter errors.

Non-revenue water has a significant financial impact on water utilities, leading to the waste of water and energy resources. In addition, identifying water leaks on a customer’s property can provide them with information needed to take corrective action resulting in lower monthly water bills for corporations and individuals.

This will be AT&T’s largest pilot of its type using new ultrasonic meters connected to AT&T’s LTE network. During the pilot study, meters will be installed and the data analyzed with the goal of identifying opportunities to reduce the cost of water delivery and distribution, improve management of water resources, improve system operations, and save money for customers.

The pilot study will use Qualcomm Technologies’ modems in solutions such as smart water meters to produce data to be used in the development of software algorithms. While this project is set for a pilot area, the partners say it can be expanded to the entire Gwinnett County water distribution system, helping to reduce water loss and deliver savings in energy and cost.

Qualcomm, CH2M Hill and the city of Cincinnati also collaborated on a similar smart water project.

The ongoing partnership between water technology company Xylem and DC Water is another example of public-private collaboration using smart water infrastructure to benefit water customers.

Xylem today presented to DC Water the first installation in North America of Flygt Concertor (pictured), which Xylem says is the world’s first wastewater pumping system with integrated intelligence. The system makes wastewater management more sustainable by consuming less energy, reducing inventory needs, and ensuring reliable, clog-free wastewater pumping while also reducing the overall cost of ownership, Xylem says.

Also, to advance research and development in the area of smart water infrastructure and advanced data analytics in the sector, Xylem and DC Water have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on future innovation initiatives.

The two organizations say they are commitment to accelerating innovation through field-driven pilots that focus on increasing the productivity of managing water and wastewater and improve the resilience and sustainability of those operations.

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