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It’s crucial for companies, especially in the water management sector, to gather all the information under the same umbrella or system in order to take advantage of this information and make the best decisions. 

Pilar Conejos, Head of Water Network Control at Global Omnium, explains her vision on digital twins and other water management related topics.

Using new technologies, like AI or advanced analytics, is crucial in order to take benefit from information and to make better decisions and improve efficiency and sustainability

Interview Transcription


1.Reclaimed water

I think the water resource itself cannot be privatized, but what can be privatized is some part of the water management like, for example: maintenance, operation, construction, technological services. There are some success stories in this topic like for example the case of Singapore, it is very well known, because really, they achieved reclaimed water or reused water with a great high quality and with very great public acceptance. From the beginning they involved all the citizens, all the stakeholders, so they increased the transparency, the confidence of this technology, and I think this was key and it is the key of their success: transparency and information.

2.Digital twins

Digital twins gather under the same umbrella all the information that we can collect from our real system or physical systems. So they use all this information to give as a holistic insight about the performance of the system and afterwards you can use new technologies like AI, Advanced Analytics, Hydraulic Models in order to take benefit from all this information and to make better and better decisions, to improve the efficiency of the system and the sustainability of the system.

3. The tech behind it

When developing a Digital Twin, the first step is to deploy sensors in the network to have digital information of the network. Now it’s easier, because it’s easier to deploy sensors, it’s easier to have this information so I think now is time to start to deploy this kind of technology and I think they are going to be very useful in the future to manage water distribution networks, in the same way that they were very useful in the industry for design and for manufacturing a product.

4. Adjusting to success

Really, countries without infrastructures or without access to this technology, really need help so it’s very important to develop financial programs in order to allow them to have infrastructures, but it’s also very important to develop training programs with the access to the right technology so that they are going to be able in the future to manage this infrastructure. Desalination is an alternative to produce drinking water and sometimes the only alternative where there is not enough fresh water. It’s true that this technology consumes a lot of energy, but in the last years some progress has been made, like for example new membranes with less consumption of energy or the use of renewable energy to power plants having, for example, solar desalination plants.

5. Walking on water

In our activity every step we take we are consuming water I think in the future every product will show this information, so consumers will be able to choose those products with less water footprint and even some water footprint benchmarks for some products can be formulated, so that can encourage companies to reduce their water footprint.

6. Time to take action

I think without water there’s no life. Water is very important for us so we have the opportunity today to take action, to change things in order to avoid the bad consequences in the future. I really rely on human intelligence. to see threats and to react and to change their activity. So, I think it’s not too late and what we have to do is to take action.


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