water management

(Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP)

Solving water management woes with a unified operations center

Water management tools are increasingly in demand globally as countries look to the best ways of handling their water supply. In Asia, ensuring an efficient and clean water supply has been a constant problem in most countries, large or small. Part of the reason for this is due to legacy technologies that have been used to monitor the water supply.

According to a Moody’s report, water management risks related to supply and quality issues, as well as climate risks, pose credit challenges across multiple sectors in Asia. The report stated that South and Southeast Asia face more risks as water scarcity and mismanagement are prevalent.

“Asia is generally more vulnerable to water risks than other regions. Across sectors, issuers are facing water management issues such as inadequate access to clean or purified water supply, and reputational and regulatory risks related to the downstream effect of water use, including supply, pollution, and sanitation,” says Nishad Majmudar, a Moody’s Assistant Vice President and Analyst.

In Malaysia, water management continues to be a major problem in some states. For example, the state of Selangor has areas that experience water cuts almost every month. While some of these water cuts are short-term, they can still have serious implications on businesses that rely on water supply.

CTI Resources, a Malaysian company has partnered with Schneider Electric, AVEVA, and Stratus to leverage each other’s expertise in the development of Water 4.0 technologies as well as solutions to resolve water management constraints.

Some of the biggest problems with water management include visibility, aging infrastructure, and financial constraints. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought a unique set of challenges for the water and wastewater industries as well.  This is on top of existing challenges such as aging infrastructures, financial limitations, and lack of knowledge transfer within the workforce as well.

“The pandemic has not changed the real priorities of utilities, instead, it has created new and emerging challenges. With the acceleration of digital transformation, it is now time for industry leaders and key players to take on this challenge by considering the adoption of digital technologies,” said Shanmugavel Subramaniam, Schneider Electric’s Water & Wastewater Segment Leader.

He added that Schneider Electric is committed to tackling these challenges by moving towards a ‘remote everything’ concept. This includes a good investment in digital technologies that enable operators to lower implementation costs as it will help address challenges quickly, avoiding potential costly issues.

Water providers should also look to implementing a simple IT/OT convergence-based solution as it will also empower the next generation of workers to easily adapt, saving on training time and reducing operational risks.

“In the long run, we foresee that going digital will improve operational sustainability, with reduced water leakage and loss through better decision making and processes,” he added.

A unified tool for water management

To address emerging challenges in the industry, Schneider Electric, CTI Resources, AVEVA, and Stratus introduced the Unified Operations Center (UOC) for water management. The UOC is a real-time operational performance management center that utilizes Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and big data analytics with a centralized view that supports water and wastewater organizations to make informed decisions in a short time. The tool will be a crucial consideration when facing highly disruptive issues.

The UOC leverages Water 4.0 technologies to digitally transform the water and wastewater management industry for improved sustainability, efficiency, and resilience.

Key benefits of the UOC include:

  • Transparency and collaboration as the UOC will provide full visibility of data to streamline processes and avoid operational silos.
  • Seamless integration enabling integration of the UOC with all operational systems to deliver faster, better, more efficient decision-making.
  • Being agile and highly receptive for faster and more informed decisions especially for crises response to maximize performance.
  • Being predictive and not passive-active risk management by spotting problems before they occur through predictive analytics.
  • High compatibility for adaptation to current systems with vendor-agnostic technology.

As water crisis and shortages are expected to continue for some time, water management tools like the UOC may just allow water companies and businesses to have better visibility and management capabilities in handling their resources and solving problems.