Posts filed under ‘Water Scarcity’
What is the “magic tool” to reduce water loss? I always like to say that it’s a problem which takes a toolbox, not just one tool, and just recently I ran into this fantastic chart presented by Yarra Valley Water which demonstrates this very neatly. It shows YVW’s total Non-Revenue Water and estimated leakage per connection per day over 16 years, with an overlay of the water loss control measures put into use during those years. In percentage terms, that last bar is somewhere under 12% NRW.
By Amir Peleg
Last week, Some of TaKaDu’s employees and I had the pleasure of meeting Israel’s President, Mr. Shimon Peres. We met the president just as he was returning from the World Economic Forum at Davos, where I happened to meet him for the first time, two years ago, when TaKaDu was recognized as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer for 2011.
This meeting was at his request: he wanted to learn more about how innovation can solve some of the world’s water problems and the looming water security crisis, recently ranked high by the Global Risk Survey 2013 of the World Economic Forum.
President Peres commented that the water crisis is one of the more imminent global crises facing humanity. We spoke about the fact that over 25% of potable water in the world is lost in the water distribution system as a result of leaks, bursts and other network issues (the professional term is “non-revenue water”). I was impressed by Mr. Peres’s interest in water efficiency and its wide implications, and his excitement about the opportunity to impact global problems through the use of new water technologies.
We presented TaKaDu’s vision of water network monitoring, to reduce water loss and improve operational efficiency by identifying and alerting upon network issues as they occur, through data analytics. I made the point that the issue is not as simple as it seems. The scarcity of water as a resource is not the only issue at hand. The bigger scarcity in the water sector is scarcity of technology innovation. This innovation has the potential of resolving many water sector issues. Israel’s high tech industry can serve as an optimal breeding ground for water technology innovation, since it has the three major requirements needed to foster technology innovation: (1) an entrepreneurial spirit and seasoned entrepreneurs, (2) a high degree of awareness of water issues, and (3) a well-developed venture capital community and government support of R&D efforts. Water innovation can take today’s water networks into the 21st century, solving water scarcity issues by better management of water distribution networks.
Mr. Peres expressed his support and hope that more people, in both industry and academia, will see water innovation as the core theme of the companies they found and the technologies they seek to develop.
This is the third post in the “CTO Smart Insights” series by Haggai Scolnicov, TaKaDu’s CTO.
The OECD and the European Commission held a fascinating workshop earlier this year in Copenhagen titled “The future of Eco-Innovation: The role of business models in green transformation”, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak there. A handful of representatives from some truly amazing companies were asked to help the workshop experts “showcase good practices of radical and systemic eco-innovations”. What a great validation for our belief in TaKaDu’s potential to transform the water industry!
It’s not an easy subject for idealists, policy-makers, academics, and people from industry – all present at the workshop – to discuss, though. Whatever their beliefs and private motivations, business leaders need to build viable businesses, where “green” technology can triumph only if it promotes great tangible value. This can typically be through marketing and public perception, concrete cost savings, or regulatory compliance. Yet on a national or global level, innovation for sustainability is often recognised as a goal in its own right. Can the two paradigms be brought together, and not just at the superficial “greenwashing” of entrenched industrial methods? Are big government grants for R&D consortia the best way to encourage this – vying with business investors to steer the industry, or should policy-makers wield their power in more unique ways?
For the case study of TaKaDu, I tried to explain what makes our technology, business, and industry so special, and how they are inextricably linked. Building on that, I shared some views on where government or international economic policy (the OECD’s main interests) can encourage and shape ecologically beneficial innovation. This, we hope, can harness and reinforce the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative capacity of business and technology innovators towards globally beneficial goals.
This is the second post in a new series we’ll call “CTO Smart Insights” by Haggai Scolnicov, TaKaDu’s CTO.
To view the first post, go here.
When I was asked to speak at the Intelligent Cities Expo in Hamburg about Smart Water Networks, I assumed I would be on a double defensive: apologizing for an industry late to catch up on the data revolutions of the past hundred years, and struggling to demonstrate the value of data in water against a backdrop of data-poor, “conventional” engineering water innovation. I’m glad to say I was completely wrong!
At the water-themed session I was flanked by brilliant colleagues Steffen Schaefer from IBM and Francis Campan from Suez Environnement, talking data-driven solutions from start to finish. With these two industry giants helping to drive home the point (one from the data processing side, and one from the water business), the clear message was that smart water management is data-driven water management. We were practically “singing from the same hymn book”, perhaps not surprising, considering our three companies’ commitment to SWAN – Smart Water Networks Forum. Moreover, contrasting the session as impartially as I could with other sessions on power, heating, transportation, and other city infrastructures, water seemed to stand out as the industry with the clearest “program” (however unofficial) to get the right data and put it to good use.
In this presentation, I defined the “Smart Water Network Revolution” and the benefits it is bringing, talked about how policy-makers and water professionals can and should help it along, and did my best to dispel the four great myths about water utilities and adoption of data technology:
- Water utilities are too conservative or low-tech to adopt such technology
- Water is a low-value commodity, therefore not a magnet for industrial R&D innovation
- Water utilities are not yet ready for “smart data systems”
- It’s too big an investment
Flip through the slides for the reality behind these myths.
Great report released by AWA (Australian Water Association) on water efficiency.
You can read the report here.
The report speaks about the absolute necessity of water efficiency techniques to ensure water security for Australia, an arid continent. Rather than focusing on the supply side (e.g. desalination) the reports focuses on the measures of water efficiency as a more economically viable way to enhance water security. It mentions rightly that water efficeincy is always best:
“Water efficiency also makes sense in its own right and is worthwhile even when water security is not a goal; water efficiency can increase the availability of water for environmental, economic, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic purposes.”
The report also discusses the installation of smart meters in Australia to collect and analyze, in real-time, end user consumption patterns. In addition, it mentions Australian utilities installing data loggers at commercial water users’ premises to track their consumption patterns too. This data, mentions the report, is only worthwhile if it is used to continuously monitor and maintain the distribution network.
We all hear that water is scarce. But how scarce?
In developed regions where water is “delivered straight to an indoor faucet”, we don’t think much about where that water comes from or goes to. Yet in developing countries, individuals work hard to get water for everyday basic use and suffer from real scarcity. The below infographic exposes the gaps between developed and developing regions.
Take a look – the numbers speak for themselves; it makes sense to do what we can to save water – from the simple, such as shutting off the faucet while brushing our teeth to the more involved such as encouraging stakeholders to take action.
The world is starting to realize that water is not an infinite good. The risks related to water supply, considering the fact that water is a finite resource while global demand is constantly growing, is gaining more and more attention. Several respectable organizations have recently published papers on this topic and they all agree that water supply challenges are a major global threat.
WEF: 2nd highest global risk
The World Economic Forum has published last month its Global Risks 2012 report, which is based on a survey of 469 experts from various backgrounds that examines 50 global risks. According to this comprehensive report, water supply crises represent the 2nd highest global risk in terms of its impact (second only to the risk of a major systematic financial failure) and the 5th highest in terms of likelihood over the next 10 years.
Northern Chile, one of the driest regions in the world, suffers fresh water availability limitations and faces a real challenge sustaining water resources in the face of growing demand. While water is a scarce resource in Northern Chile, it is rich with copper and minerals, making it a hub for mining facilities. Unfortunately, the mining industry is highly dependent on water as the mining process requires huge amounts of water – the same water that is scarce in this dry region…
The city of Antofagasta is a striking example. A city with a developed mining industry located in the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world. Antofagasta addresses this challenge by desalinating water. 60% of the city’s water is currently desalinated, and by 2015 it is forecast to use 100% desalinated water. But desalinated water has its costs. In addition to the high investment required for planning and building the plant, operational costs are very high due to high energy consumption. This makes desalinated water much more expensive than fresh water. According to the American Chemical Society, the average cost to produce one acre-foot of desalinated water from seawater ranged from $800 to $1,400 (compared with $200 per acre-foot for water from other supply sources).
Recently, Eddy Segal of TaKaDu was the guest of the Aguas de Antofagasta water utility in a visit to the city’s impressive desalination plant. As you can learn from the photos, Aguas de Antofagasta’s desalination plant is one of the biggest and most impressive in the region.
The Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2011 (“Summer Davos”) is taking place this week, and we thought it’s a great venue to announce our first research report. This report, planned to be the first of many, shows the connection between water prices and water loss rates. Water loss is a key metric that impacts the sustainability, conservation and efficiency of water networks.
In some of the world’s cities, water is priced lower than the costs to pump and transport it, let alone sustain its delivery infrastructure: the network of pipes, pumps, reservoirs and valves that brings water to our homes. In some places water is free.
The question raised by TaKaDu’s research was whether the price of water also affects water loss rates. Theoretically, water underpricing can lead to undervaluing of water and underinvesting in the water distribution network.
Water pricing doesn’t impact residential consumption alone. Globally, only about 10% of water is used residentially, while the remaining 90% is used for agriculture and industry, so water mispricing obviously affects the way all sectors use water.
You can read more by clicking on the ‘Continue reading’ link below.
In this blog post, Amir Peleg, TaKaDu’s founder and CEO, argues that water isn’t the only thing that is scarce in the world of water. Innovation, necessary to protect us against a future of diminishing water availability, is missing even more.
In the 20th century the world’s population has grown threefold, while the world’s water consumption is six times higher. The World Economic Forum predicts that water scarcity is about to become a global crisis. Insufficient water could mean food shortages, demographic changes, political strife and even armed conflict. Lifestyle changes that come with economic development have enormous “virtual water” price tags. For instance, producing one kilogram of beef requires 15,500 liters of water. Nestle, Coca Cola and others are openly discussing their efforts to reduce their water consumption, in preparation for a world with less water.
As a newcomer to the Water industry, I often hear mention of “Water Crisis” or “Global Water Scarcity”, as if the only missing element is water. Initially, I accepted this as an axiom, having grown up in Israel, an arid country. However, as a technology entrepreneur, and having had the opportunity to define a new sector in the water industry, I can say that the water sector is facing an altogether different scarcity. It is not about lack of water; it is about lack of Innovation.