How can water utilities gain profit of new digital technologies and what will they look like in the future? The Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) currently published a report that lays out the many opportunities the digital age offers water utilities, along with the risks and challenges, and how these can be managed. TZW is member of GWRC and the report steering group.
Digitalisation offers a wide range of opportunities for enhancing or re-imagining existing business processes in order to reduce cost, speed up resolution, minimise human intervention, assist decision-making and improve the customer experience. It diversifies our available approaches to address emerging challenges and external developments such as climate change and manage the densification of cities.
There are opportunities along the entire system including supply sources, network maintenance, network performance, customer interactions and market-based trading. The ability to gather, analyse and interpret large quantities of disparate data combined with automation are key enablers. The ability to harness large amounts of disparate data is particularly powerful when combined with the ability to optimise system design, performance and resilience using models and optimization tools. The speed of data analytics and advances in monitoring devices bring about opportunities for optimisation not previously been recognised or achievable.
The outcome is better service and value for customers through more proactive, informed and timely decision making that is hopefully holistic and context sensitive.
The report includes several case studies from around the world that cover digital solutions used in practice at various levels of digital maturity across the service line.
Have a look inside the booklet: GWRC Digital Water Utility of the Future (pdf-file)