March 2022

The water crisis in India is getting worse with each passing day. There is an urgent need to find ways to ensure universal access to safe drinking water. This is not achievable without the integration of proper waste management systems. A paradigm shift from a “use and throw” to a “use, treat and reuse” approach is needed. Municipal corporations are working towards deploying innovative solutions to appropriately treat wastewater for groundwater recharge.

As the water scarcity problem deepens, the need for water utilities to adopt innovative technology solutions for effective use of water resources becomes increasingly important. Water purification and wastewater treatment operations are becoming more interconnected and digitalised. But with this, industrial cyberthreats are becoming a growing cause for concern as they pose a risk to the safety, reliability and continuity of operations. As such, there is a need for comprehensive security of the water network.

Digital technologies such as internet of things (IoT), big data, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and machine learning can help in smart water management. Digital interventions in water management can be implemented across the value chain, right from the sourcing of water to treatment, supply and recycling of water back to the natural resource. Under the Smart Cities Mission, a few cities have introduced IoT in their industrial water network management. Some cities have also mapped their water assets using GIS.

A network of water ATMs and purification plants is being created across the country to remove a wide variety of contaminants and provide safe drinking water to the population. Many companies are helping in the creation of water ATM infrastructure across the country as a part of their CSR activities. Startups are also entering this space to optimise water purification systems and predict future breakdowns. Many solar-powered water ATMs have been installed to provide safe water at affordable prices.

This issue of Smart Utilities discusses the role of intelligent solutions in the power transmission sector and highlights the importance of smart water management systems. It also throws light on the key technology initiatives undertaken by water, power and gas utilities to enhance their operational efficiency. In addition, the issue captures the potential of drones in the gas industry and their increasing deployment.