• Novel Business Models Accelerate the Growth of Digital Water Solutions and Services
    Outcomes-as-a-service analytic platforms are enabling the digital transformation of the water sector

    Research Overview

    Water utilities across the globe are under pressure to improve the resilience of their infrastructure to water stress, drought, and flooding-related events that are occurring due to climate change. Policy makers are implementing new strategies to ensure long-term sustainability through extensive replacement and rehabilitation plans to modernise the water infrastructure and also short-to-medium term measures to ensure the continuity of essential water and wastewater services by focussing on efficiency improvement of the existing infrastructure. Digital transformation has become the core solution for short-, medium-, and long-term sustainability goals. Digital solutions have the capability to jump-start efficiency improvement and help optimise the entire infrastructure. In the last 5 years, there has been a significant growth in the adoption of smart IoT based sensors, pumps, valves, and smart water meters across the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has given a fresh impetus to the growth and adoption of software and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) based data analytics solutions that primarily help in holistically improving the workforce’s efficiency, especially in operation and maintenance of the treatment and pipe network infrastructure. Other factors for growth in the adoption of advanced AI and ML based data analytics solutions are the ageing workforce and ageing infrastructure, for which the pace of new investment is slow and, in some cases, severely lacking. Digital solutions play a key role in acting as a reliable substitute for the dwindling workforce and also improve or provide actionable insights to help prioritise the replacement or rehabilitation of ageing infrastructure. Digital Twin (DT) solutions for water and wastewater treatment and pipe network infrastructure are major disruptors that have heralded a significant leap in the digital transformation of water utilities. DT solutions is currently being explored for the optimisation of treatment facilities. Operators can be prepared for disruptive events and ensure that the performance criteria are met. With respect to pipe networks, DT solutions are used to monitor performance, optimise asset use, and predict disruptive events well in advance for operators to have data-backed decisions for action. In addition, DT solutions are used in greenfield projects to model and simulate various scenarios at the planning, design, and engineering stage. They are also used to simulate various conditions that can be used to train operators.


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