Water Europe believes we can create a net-zero water-smart digital sector by 2050. In its new paper 'Digitalization and Water', the organisation calls for accelerated digitalisation of water and smart-water infrastructure.
A blueprint for success
To help reach a water-smart society, the water sector needs to fully utilise the current and emerging digital solutions available.
In this future society, the value of water is recognised and our available water sources are managed in a way that eliminates water scarcity and pollution.
That’s according to Water Europe which has released a new proposition paper, 'Digitalization and Water', calling for the sector to embrace digital and water-smart infrastructures.
The organisation has proposed three objectives:
- Assess and reduce the water footprint of direct operations
- More commitment and disclosure of water-related data is needed to achieve this objective
- Break the silo by collaborating with customers and providers towards a Water-Smart Society.
According to the World Water Institute, by 2030 there will be a deficit of 56 per cent in the global water supply.
An open data platform
Water Europe advocates for an open data platform to help with data valorisation and facilitation of information-sharing among different stakeholders.
The organisation believes this would encourage a proactive and collective engagement in the water agenda, enable free use and security.
The platform should be open source, with a versatile and flexible architecture to enable water managers to exploit data in real-time and encourage collective engagement and co-creation processes, Water Europe said.
Other recommendations for the digitalisation of the water sector towards a Water-Smart Society include:
- Adopt a common data platform for data valorisation and information sharing
- Support smart quantitative water management and water conservation through monitoring
- Support the water sector upskilling of the workforce to diffuse digital culture in the water sector
- Optimise drinking and wastewater plants to reduce OPEX and CAPEX
- Support the upskilling of the workforce to diffuse digital culture in the water sector
- Improve transparency and data sharing within the sector and the public to promote multidisciplinary cooperation.
A missed opportunity
The report also calls for better exploitation of the value of water in order to build a new water-smart society.
This idea of a water-smart society was not included in the European Digital Targets for 2030 - which Water Europe highlighted as “a missed opportunity to contribute to the Green Deal, the Digital Europe Objectives and to move towards a WaterSmart Society”.
Despite the omission, multiple EU projects are seeking to build a water-smart society. For example, PathCERT Project is aiming to strengthen the coordination capability in handling waterborne pathogen contamination events with new technologies.
Digital Water City, an EU-project, aims to bring together digital technologies to improve water management across five major European cities.
The aqua3S Project is looking to combine novel technologies in water safety and security, aiming to standardise existing sensor technologies complemented by state-of-the-art detection mechanisms.
“This was a missed opportunity to contribute to the Green Deal, the Digital Europe Objectives and to move towards a water-smart society.”
Stop-IT focuses on the strategic, tactical and operational protection of critical water infrastructures against physical and cyber threats - a growing concern in the water sector.
And finally, the AquaSPICE aims at materialising circular water use in European process industries.
The full Water Europe report can be found here.
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