Digital water technology is an effective catch-all for technology-driven solutions in water infrastructure. Often comprised of elements of AI, IoT, automation, analytics, and/or cloud storage, digital water technology is helping water operators across industries understand their water quality and usage to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
What is Digital Water Technology
Digital water offers data collection to gauge quality, composition, and usage across a network of sensors and intelligent management systems that are installed across water infrastructure. Using sensors to collect data, digital solutions build a digital environment of enhanced insights to inform better decision-making.
The data generated by studying water usage and quality can help correct systems and processes that, in turn, can help protect quality, decrease usage, increase the life of equipment, and reduce expenditures. Amplified visibility has knock-on benefits that allow organizations to use fewer chemicals, implement water recycling programs, protect against contamination, and better predict the output of deliverables. In addition, digital water technologies can also increase compliance, helping organizations to avoid costly fines.
By redefining current water and wastewater approaches and integrating intelligent systems, organizations can lower cost burdens, protect consumers, meet ESG goals, redirect their workforce, and refine their business models for increased efficiency and less water waste.
Why Digital Water Technology is Integral to Healthy Water Supplies
As human populations rise, production capacity increases, climate patterns change, and ongoing drought conditions affect large swaths of geographic regions (like the American southwest), water continues to grow ever more finite, protecting water resources from pollution, and over-exploitation is increasing in importance.
The challenge, however, is that water is necessary for almost every conceivable process, from industrial manufacturing to agriculture. Operators require water in cooling systems for data centers, for example. It’s also essential for produce farming and food production or as the main ingredient in the beverage industry. Clean water is critical for drinking water infrastructure in communities and remains a vital component in power production, mining, and oil and gas extraction.
Public Sector Compliance
There is also an increased focus within many industries on compliance. Companies that do not comply with regulatory requirements face reputational risk if consumers become sickened or turn away from a low-quality product. Utilities or agricultural operations will face backlash if they allow contamination into the surrounding environment or drinking water supplies. Allowing contamination events to run rampant in oil and gas or mining sites can lead to high fines and may also derail operations.
Private Sector Concerns
Additionally, as water supplies dwindle in certain areas, there is pressure from stakeholders and shareholders alike to find ways to reduce usage. Since every industry relies so heavily on water for operations, it is in everyone’s best interest to manage water usage appropriately and ensure water is returned back to the environment contaminant-free. To that end, many organizations are seeking ways to recycle water, seek more efficient means of usage, and remediate used water in the most efficient way possible. Digital water technology allows for all of this while reducing the cost of monitoring across the board.
Digital water technology can help protect water resources at multiple levels. For example, digital sensors can detect spikes in parameters, alerting operators to contamination, pipe breakage, or equipment failure. It can also go the extra mile and, when implemented as a monitoring device, can begin to predict when maintenance is required. This helps operators be more proactive in protecting equipment and infrastructure to further reduce costs. Technological advances in water monitoring ultimately assist in predicting usage. If organizations understand where and how they use water, they can begin to put processes in place to put less strain on existing water resources.
How Digital Water Technology is Shaping Industries (Benefits)
Many industries are concerned about how decreasing water supplies will affect their bottom line and therefore are seeking ways to reduce usage, moving towards net-zero water use over time. For example, data centers are already implementing processes to have net-zero water by 2030. Others are implementing recycling programs or zeroing in on how to reduce water-heavy processes to find new means of product that put less stress on water usage.
Other industries are concerned about increased compliance in their sectors and are using digital water technology to protect them against increasingly expensive fines within their vertical.
Some organizations are concerned about the cost of water quality testing and rely on manual testing and/or third-party labs. They see digital solutions as a way to address costs while increasing operational efficiency in-house.
While, traditionally, water infrastructure has been expensive to update; digital water technologies tend to integrate more easily into existing systems, speeding up the transition process. With fewer costs and less disruption to operations, it’s become easier and easier to update systems and embrace digital solutions. Along the way, companies have gained more insights into usage and quality to make efficiency adjustments that continuously save time and money with very little overhead.
Industry and Government
Recent administrations have stressed the importance of updating American infrastructure, from roads and bridges to water and wastewater systems. Some communities deal with outdated infrastructure, including those that require the removal of lead pipes from municipal systems.
Digital Water in Real-World Scenarios
Digital technology, like those found in EPIC’s Menu of Options, can make water infrastructure updates easier while ensuring the health and safety of future systems for decades to come. IoT and sensor systems can help detect leaks, pinpoint lead contamination, and predict future maintenance needs to help water operators better focus their time and energy.
Digital water technology can help predict water usage as well. This can help utilities, for example, understand consumer habits to introduce water-saving incentives to help alleviate water overuse and help reduce pressure on supplies. This information, when made anonymous and shared with local and federal agencies, can help understand water usage on a macro level to devise plans that can help communities control and conserve water usage.
Governmental Changes That Embrace Changing Water Demands
The administration has focused on certain areas of interest to help update specific areas (like the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule and updated Clean Water Regulations) and has put various grant programs in place to help increase the speed of digital transformation. However, other grants, such as WIIN and programs from the USDA and FDA, have been available for years and are designed to help organizations build out their digital infrastructure.
As the government continues to invest in infrastructure, digital water technology will continue to play a large part in updating and innovating in the years to come.
KETOS and Digital Water Technology
KETOS is helping companies speed up their digital transformation on multiple fronts.
The technology allows for real-time monitoring of 30+ parameters simultaneously, removing the need for separate solutions for specific parameters. It also plugs into existing infrastructure so that companies that already use monitoring technology on some parameters but need more coverage can centralize their monitoring and remove data silos.
A Modular Approach to Water Quality Monitoring
The hardware devices are modular, so companies can monitor their water at various points along their production chain. If they need different water quality for a variety of processes, they can easily understand the quality and composition everywhere – all while monitoring everything from one dashboard.
Digital Water Data Delivering Accurate Analysis in a Secure Setting
KETOS also continuously gathers and stores data on a secure cloud for easy, 24/7 access. As data points build over time, embedded machine learning and AI elements can begin to predict future results based on past patterns. This helps water operators understand when they need to balance chemicals (and how much/how often) and can assist in predicting when equipment will require maintenance for reduced downtime and more reliable deliverables.
KETOS and Water Quality Across Various Water Verticals
KETOS systems have been used effectively in a variety of verticals, including
Learn more about how KETOS has changed various company approaches to water quality monitoring by exploring our case studies and learn more about water quality applications by vertical via our fact sheets.