How digitization contributes to global water sustainability goals

Water is a vital resource for many industries, but its availability is threatened. How can digitization help to improve water sustainability?

Water is a vital resource for many industries, but its availability is threatened by a number of challenges. How can digitization help to improve water sustainability?

Industries across the globe use water for fabricating, processing, washing, diluting, irrigating, cooling, and transporting products.  Water is used in copious amounts across mining operations, smelting facilities, petroleum refineries, chemical production, and food processing facilities just to name a few. The apparel industry alone, for example, consumes approximately 79 billion cubic meters of water per year — enough to fill 32 million Olympic-size swimming pools. That figure is expected to increase by 50% by 2030. In the mining, minerals, and metals industry, the amount of water it takes to produce a ton of steel (250,000 liters) is the equivalent of more than 2 years of consumption for a European family. Not surprisingly, water sustainability has emerged as a critical issue for fuelling global economic growth.

High water demand and its declining supply threaten quality, pollution, climate change, urbanization, aging infrastructure, spiralling energy costs, and evolving regulations are just some of the challenges facing the global water sector. Within their internal operations, water and wastewater facilities confront challenges surrounding water leakages and high rates of energy consumption. In the US alone, municipal wastewater treatment plants are estimated to consume more than 30 terawatt-hours per year of electricity, which equates to about $2 billion in annual electric costs.

Water sustainability strategy relies on infrastructure that enables data transparency

Sustainability starts with the ability to extract performance data from the physical infrastructure that supports core operations. In the water and wastewater sector that means water processing and distribution network transparency, and traceability of water assets as they move through municipal systems. To achieve transparency, core equipment such as motors, drives, and pumps need to incorporate sensors to collect the necessary data. Then cloud-based software tools can connect to the various data silos from different sources and consolidate and combine that data with legacy data.

An ecosystem of partners is key to success

At Schneider Electric, sustainability has long represented a core corporate strategy pillar. We attribute much of this success to our ability to digitize operations. 73% of our investments are directed toward developing newer and even more sustainable solutions. Many of our industrial customers have asked us to share our expertise to help them address both digital transformation and sustainability challenges.

The issue of conserving resources while generating revenues and profitability is a delicate balancing act. No one company can do it alone. Partnership and strategic alliances are critical success factors when it comes to achieving business transformation goals. That’s why, when proposing solutions to water and wastewater firms worldwide, Schneider Electric often partners with major technology firms, who share our passion for sustainable operations and support our cloud-based digitization solutions

A consultant like Schneider Electric, with extensive water and wastewater industry energy management expertise, can help operators significantly reduce energy bills and water leakage. Our global water wastewater experts can advise how new digital tools can be leveraged to modernize operations. To learn more about how digital transformation can lead to more sustainable operations, visit our water and wastewater home page.

AU: https://www.se.com/au/en/work/solutions/for-business/water/

NZ: https://www.se.com/nz/en/work/solutions/for-business/water/

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