World Water Day 2019: GWI Launches Water Security Solutions Centre Initiative to Help Water Companies Combat Rising Water Scarcity
Global Water Intelligence (GWI), the International Desalination Association (IDA) and the Global Water Leaders Group (GWLG) have launched a new initiative; the Water Scarcity Solutions Centre (WSSC) to help utilities and end-user build successful strategies for water scarcity. The Centre, which connects water companies with relevant suppliers, plant designers and technology providers comes as utilities and industries in water-scarce regions are turning to desalination, reuse and leakage reduction technologies to secure their future water needs.
With the long-term future of many local water resources becoming a pressing concern for many utilities and industrial end users, water scarcity has notably moved up the international agenda. Two-thirds of the world’s population already experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year and by 2050 water scarcity will affect the lives of 5 billion people.
The theme for the UN’s World Water Day 2019 is ‘No-one left behind’, adapting Sustainable Development Goal 6’s aim of providing everyone with access to water by 2030. As the deadline for this ambitious goal approaches, a growing number in the international water industry are feeling that it’s imperative to start moving in the right direction to tackle this growing crisis.
To help utilities and industrial water users tackle water scarcity, Global Water Intelligence (GWI), the International Desalination Association (IDA) and the Global Water Leaders Group (GWLG) have launched a crucial initiative; the Water Scarcity Solutions Centre (WSSC).
The WSSC is an online hub that promotes new approaches to water sustainability, providing a platform for politicians, policy makers and water professionals to educate themselves on successful strategies for water management and identify solutions providers working in desalination, water reuse and smart leakage reduction technology, to guide them through their specific scarcity problems. It brings together success stories and case studies from cities battling water crises, and a ‘Solutions Finder’ featuring over 250 profiles of desalination and reuse plant designers, equipment suppliers and software providers, allowing decision makers in water scarce regions to find and connect with the solutions providers they are looking for.
The Solutions Finder’s key sub-sections, desalination, water reuse, smart leakage reduction and demand management represent the solutions that water scarce regions are increasingly turning to as the future of existing water sources becomes at risk. Factors such as population pressure, groundwater overconsumption, seasonal variability and climate change can combine to produce water stress in areas not used to water scarcity. As more traditional methods (such as dams and pumping groundwater) become less effective and global water demand looks to increase 40% by 2030, water security is an imperative for utilities, consumers and industrial users alike.
According to the WSSC, strategies for water scarcity can be broadly split into two categories: decreasing demand (smart leakage reduction, conservation and demand management) and increasing supply (water reuse and desalination). Typically, one or more of these approaches must be adopted for a strategy to be effective.
A crucial component of increasing the availability of water will be driving utility efficiencies, with leakage reduction often being the most effective strategy. However, utilities often face immense problems in locating problems and managing the response across their often-vast infrastructure networks.
Digital and software solutions are increasingly being applied to create smart network systems and specialist leakage reduction services to improve the efficiency of this process. To reduce the rate of non-revenue water (NRW) down from 60%, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia embarked on a digital transformation to their utility infrastructure. The Kingdom is planning to install 2.1 million smart water meters across the country by 2021. These meters will contain software enabling the mass collection of accurate data, allowing for leaks to be quickly identified so maintenance in areas with higher rates of NRW can be prioritised.
Similarly, to combat a significant drop in Perth’s dam networks after a 19% drop in Western Australia’s rainfall, Water Corporation of Western Australia (WCWA) implemented a long-term water security plan. Alongside two seawater reverse osmosis desalination plants that are set to account for 48% of the city’s freshwater in 2019, WCWA implemented successful public engagement initiatives aimed at changing consumer habits. As reported by the WSSC, they ran campaigns encouraging the installation of more efficient appliances alongside seasonal water use restrictions and gradual tariff increases which resulted in a 19% reduction in water consumption over the last decade.
Successfully addressing water scarcity will require the combined efforts of policy makers, politicians and water executives. The Water Security Solutions Centre will therefore be a crucial tool to connect politicians and decision makers working in water with the partners and solutions for their own specific issues with water scarcity.
To find out more about the Water Security Solutions Centre, and to view the Solutions Finder and water security case studies visit: www.globalwatersecurity.org