October 7, 2020
How Smart Water Systems Improve Resilience & Sustainability for Utilities
Blog / 4 min read
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October 7, 2020
Blog / 4 min read
Utilities also often upgrade to these systems to support citywide resilience and sustainability efforts. Discover why utilities choose smart water systems to address smart city initiatives, emergency preparedness and drought concerns.
Smart cities are no longer a concept of the future. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), cities around the world are finding ways to enhance their operations by connecting machines and objects that transmit data, and water systems are no exception.
Smart water systems are a viable option for utilities because they can be upgraded and expanded as the utility grows or if service needs change. Cellular smart water systems communicate water meter readings directly to a utility’s data management system. From there, utilities can analyze the data to enhance operations, monitor system health and aid in customer service processes. Additionally, smart water systems provide an opportunity for interoperability with other smart systems that may be added in the future to support efficient city management.
Utilities serving more than 3,300 people must develop and update risk assessments and emergency response plans (ERPs) every five years to comply with America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) Section 2013. Many utilities select smart water systems to support this initiative.
One major benefit of smart water systems is the resilience that cellular networks provide. Because millions of people rely on these networks for daily communication, they are managed, monitored and maintained to a 99.999% uptime to keep individuals connected, even in an emergency. In fact, cellular networks are one of the first services restored after a big storm or natural disaster. And if permanent network infrastructure is damaged, temporary infrastructure is often deployed to restore service while permanent infrastructure is safely repaired. This enables utility leaders to keep a close eye on their water system operations to maintain a safe water supply for customers.
As the availability of water supplies decreases, the importance of sustainability increases drastically. Smart water systems are a leading option for utilities to improve their sustainability efforts. These systems typically leverage existing, reliable infrastructure that can be expanded to meet future needs, rather than disrupting the environment or exponentially raising water bills to deploy new infrastructure.
Smart water systems are also credited with helping utilities monitor water use, especially in areas where outdoor watering is limited by specified times or days, or if time-of-use watering restrictions are in place. This encourages residents to prioritize responsible water use and reduce excess waste, helping the community become more sustainable.
Drought conditions are a major concern in parts of the United States, including the southwest region. As water availability declines, it’s even more critical that utilities prioritize sustainable water practices to improve drought resilience. Smart water systems can help utilities identify immediate needs and determine the best way to move forward to preserve water supplies. In fact, smart water systems are often credited with helping utilities better maintain water service for customers and providing the data necessary to develop long-term strategies that address declining water supplies. Read through a real-world example in this City of Merced case study.
Although smart water systems are a growing trend among utilities, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. The good news is that smart water systems are customizable to fit each utility’s unique needs. Our experts can help you determine what priorities are most important for your utility and which system components will be critical in helping you meet your goals.