Water is imperative for life, but has long been plagued by pollution and scarcity. Water stress can be exacerbated by climate change in many areas, and rising water contamination will lead to a severe water crisis for which we are not yet prepared. Water is used for a variety of purposes by authorities, including agriculture and sanitary purposes. 

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Digital Water_ ©iStock

Why is this a big deal? 

Only when it is appropriately managed can water be considered a renewable resource. Management entails understanding however much water we have at any one time. The amount of fresh, drinkable water on the planet is only 3%. Less than 1% of that 3% are genuinely accessible. The remainder is too far away or locked in glaciers and ice caps for practical usage. We have to manage a minimal amount of water to meet our needs.

The water cycle has been considerably altered as a result of global warming and climate change, placing major stress on many facets of human life. People all around the world require information on the water at a faster pace, with higher accuracy, and at a lower cost in the age of growing floods, droughts, and water-related disasters, as well as changing ecological and human dynamics behaviour. Recent research has demonstrated that AI can aid in achieving these objectives. Practically speaking, AI techniques are a significant forward-thinking force that can support sustainable growth.

How should this ongoing situation be handled?

The presence of a reliable source of water supply nearby has always been essential for human settlement. We are always searching for solutions that will guarantee a consistent clean water supply due to the rise in world population and deterioration of our freshwater resources. Artificial intelligence serves as a helpful substitute for human judgment in difficult situations involving water management. The water sector is embracing artificial intelligence (AI), which powers intelligent operations that use machine learning to maximise resource use and operational budgets for businesses. ANN (Artificial Neutral Networks) algorithms, one of the AI technologies, are helping to construct water plants that provide up-to-date statistics about the available resources and support the development of models for potential future scenarios.

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Water distribution system in buildings | ©International Water Association

One of the four major sectors where AI can create $5.2 Tn is the water industry, according to a 2019 PwC analysis titled “Artificial Intelligence and the Fate of Planet Earth.”

Proactive Management of Urban Water Networks

Due to sewage overflow, capacity issues, and foreign objects, rainy events are when water authorities are most susceptible to clogs. Aquasuite employs artificial intelligence to identify high-level discharges in sewers that are too high or inconsistent with expected flows. These are recognised as anomalies by the system thanks to a customisable smart alert warning system. Artificial intelligence (AI) is used to significantly minimise false alarms and prioritise the remaining alarms to precisely and efficiently manage obstructions through timely detection and real-time reaction, eliminating additional issues like fatbergs. Monitoring stations strategically placed all around the catchment gather flow and level information. This information is transferred to the dependable, secure Aquasuite cloud platform, which displays it in simple visualisations and reports for analysis.

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Water distribution system in buildings _©Worldwide Public relations

Wastewater treatment

The most crucial step in promoting hydrological contamination abatement and water environmental stewardship is wastewater treatment. AI can be used to lessen water pollution, reducing water contamination and the scarcity of clean water. Since AI is based on optics, it may detect the quantity and makeup of dangerous substances, improving the effectiveness of waste disposal systems. With the advancement of machine learning and big data, it is feasible to monitor the quality of the water continuously and to obtain real-time data. The energy expenditures that would typically rise while utilising conventional methods will decrease using neural networks and IoT.

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Optimisation of digital water_©Thyssenkrupp

Digital Water

Data analytics, regression models, and algorithms used in AI can simplify the management of water resources. These innovative technologies support the development of effective water networks and systems. AI is a tool that can be used to create water plants and monitor the state of water resources. AI can be used by water managers and governmental organisations to create an intelligent water infrastructure that can provide adequate infrastructure for managing water and can respond to changing circumstances. These solutions will be affordable, long-lasting, and capable of optimising all water management options and foreseeing possible harm.

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Distribution of water within sectors ©W2Bill

AI in the Residential sector 

A typical household can squander 180 gallons of water on average weekly, or 9400 gallons yearly, due to leaks in their homes, which is the same amount of water as required to wash over 300 loads of laundry. AI and IoT can assist in lessening the amount of water wasted due to leaks, burst pipes, and other issues. Water wastage can be reduced by automating pipes to cut off if there is a leak and implementing AI to assess real-time water loss. AI can anticipate storage tank leaks and assist in stopping them before it’s too late. IoT-connected devices can improve communication and integrate different systems throughout a city or location.

Wtaer conservation and Artificial Intelligence ©_Biz4intelia

Conclusion 

Organisations are given the tools they need to pursue data-driven, intelligent management of their water systems as they move toward AI adoption. As a result, water management will continue to be dependable, sustainable, and affordable. The industry, start-ups, and scientists—all of whom have the power to influence the direction of AI in water—need to start thinking about these challenges and engaging in a much more open debate. The water and AI worlds need to interact more. To overcome the authentic and pressing difficulties faced by water utilities, we must cross over the boundaries of the water and enter a creative and imaginative world.

References:

  1. Pavithra Rao. (07 February 2021)  “How AI is transforming the water sector”, Inc42, , Available at: https://inc42.com/resources/how-ai-is-transforming-the-water-sector/ [ Accessed: 27 November 2022]
  2. Autodesk. (01 May 2022)   “AI in water: 10 ways AI is changing the water industry, Available at: https://blogs.autodesk.com/innovyze/2022/05/01/ai-in-water-10-ways-ai-is-changing-the-water-industry/#:~:text=Water%20and%20wastewater%20operations%20are,digital%E2%80%9D%20with%20smart%20infrastructure%20solutions. [ Accessed: 27 November 2022]
  3. Science Direct. (01 January 2022)  “How AI is transforming the water sector”, Chemical Engineering Journal, Available athttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1385894721015965 [ Accessed: 27 November 2022]
Author

Varsha Mini Veronica, an architect and urban enthusiast, driven by desire to envision modes of sustainability through design as a tool highlighting architectural writing as the medium to critique, create a demand for better architecture for society. Her strengths include her as a vertical thinker, as she believes in developing platforms that are not just human- centric but to address the livability of the environment.

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