The water sector urgently needs to find ways of doing more for less and spend more to keep ahead of new regulations. These are some of the main conclusions from the Global Water Intelligence (GWI) whitepaper ‘Accelerating the digital water utility’, which was released in partnership with Grundfos Water Utility at the American Water Summit (AWS) in Houston, Texas on November 13, 2019.
The whitepaper argues that digital technologies can contribute to improving operations at a lower cost and maximizing overall benefit. Initial inspiration for the paper came from a workshop at AWS in Philadelphia in November 2018.
“At the event, we met great utilities which provide outstanding service to their ratepayers with the resources they have available. We want there to be more of them in future, and the way that is going to happen is through the adoption of digital technologies which allow them to do more for less,” explains Christopher Gasson, Publisher, GWI. He adds:
“To this end, we chose to partner with Grundfos for this whitepaper, because they are the biggest pump manufacturer in the world in terms of unit production and it seems to me no coincidence that the company is also one of the biggest investors in water’s digital revolution. Pumps are the hidden giants of the water industry; the more data its pumps produce, the more visible their value becomes, and the stronger the argument is for treating pumps not as a capital asset, but as an operational service – and this makes the pump manufacturer of vital importance for utility leaders or industrial facility managers.”
Data at every opportunity
The whitepaper takes digital adoption and pump data into consideration and elaborates substantially on responses to a worldwide survey of water utility leaders and decision makers. Water utilities combine a difficult brief – they have a critical, must-not-fail function, while not necessarily managing revenue streams themselves to ensure compliancy. GWI has succeeded in eliciting responses from water utilities which highlight the challenges they face. Grundfos agrees with the position that the water sector urgently needs to find ways of doing more for less.
“In the whitepaper, we present several areas where Grundfos is progressing from intelligence built-in to intelligence added-on, where we make use of artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet-of-things to minimize the energy, maintenance, and operational costs of our pumps,” says Robert Montenegro, Grundfos USA Executive Vice President of Water Utility, and concludes:
“As a global water technology company, we at Grundfos are already entering into digital partnership agreements where we see opportunities to use digital solutions as an enabler in industrial and smart city systems, including smart buildings, smart water and smart factories.”
FACTS: FOUR INSIGHT AREAS
Grundfos has contributed to the whitepaper with insights into four areas, which are presented in the whitepaper:
- Digital solutions for wastewater networks capable of instructing and guiding water utilities towards a proactive service strategy, saving costs
- Machine diagnostics that make it possible for utility partners to have continuous visibility into the health of their most important assets and extend product and component lifetime
- A discussion about partnership and how this is essential to the iterative process of digital solutions
- A pressure management solution that uses an algorithm to improve asset management for water utilities through leakage reduction, increased energy efficiency and reduced frequency of pipe bursts
GWI and Grundfos at AWS
GWI is based in Oxford, United Kingdom, and is a leading publisher and event organizer serving the international water industry. The American Water Summit (AWS) held at the Omni Houston Hotel in Houston from November 12-14 brought together leaders from across the public and private sectors to address the challenges facing the water sector today. As a featured panelist at AWS, Robert Montenegro discussed the learnings from the paper during the ‘Unlocking the Digital Opportunity’ session on Wednesday, November 13.
Picture text: Robert Montenegro, Grundfos (left) and Christopher Gasson, GWI, holding the whitepaper.