About one million people die each year from lack of access to clean water. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable. This translates into nearly a thousand children killed daily from diseases associated with contaminated water. Developing a well-managed supply, as well as waterless sanitation systems would dramatically improve the quality of life for more than 700 million people. In particular for those who have problems accessing a continuous source of quality water.
Fresh water is an essential natural resource for life, but by 2025 half of the world’s population will probably live in areas where water is scarce. Currently, some cities have water losses of more than 50%. This indicates a huge waste of this vital resource. Lack of optimal management generates considerable waste. Additionally, numerous resources that are needed to treat the water supply and the sanitation network are wasted. Therefore, it is crucial to have a continuous, accurate measurement of the water network. This ensures an optimized management, thus minimizing the percentage of water lost.
The Problem Of Wasted Water
Unregistered water is the difference between the water being injected into the network and the sum of all the meters. If the systems were perfect, it would be zero. However, this does not happen essentially for two reasons:
First, due to measurement errors. Second, due to leaks in the system.
Technological advances allow for reducing sensor inaccuracies. But on the other hand, the leaks in the supply networks are mainly due to a lack of maintenance. It is necessary to renovate the elements that compose them. Water networks with excessive pressure may also cause leaks. There is much room for improvement to optimize and reduce this fraction of unregistered water.
In short, the volume lost in the network will depend on the following factors:
- Age of the Pipeline
- System Pressures
- Daily flow variations
- Network sensorization
- Managers’ response time
- Illegal connections
Currently, there are supply networks in some cities that lose more than 50% of their waterQatium
Strategy To Prevent Water Loss
It is fundamental to propose a good strategy for managing water losses. We propose the following questions to resolve the problem:
- How much volume of water is being lost? It is necessary to calculate the network’s water balance. It is the result of the difference between the injected and the invoiced water volume.
- Where are those losses occurring? A network audit helps to locate where leaks are occurring. At this point it is vitally important that the network has sensors to detect where the leak is occurring. Data processing is essential. This solution should take the shortest amount of time. This leads to less water waste.
- Why is the water being lost? Detecting the reasons why these losses occur allows us to find a solution to the problem. For this, it is essential to have a broad knowledge of the network being managed.
- What can we do to avoid it? Having a clear leak control strategy is essential in choosing an efficient and effective solution to the problem. A study using scenario simulation allows us to discern which one is the optimal solution.
- How can we prevent it from happening in the future? Once the problem is solved, the objective is to prevent it. It is necessary to maintain a sustainable strategy and preserve the achievements.
Water Pipeline Maintenance
Water Waste: Present and Future
Data collection and analysis is essential to establish an optimal strategy to reduce leaks. A wide range of possibilities opens up by improving and reducing the costs of sensorization (IoT). Also, advances in the treatment of large data volumes (big data) help. Improving processing techniques through the use of artificial intelligence allow significant progress in reducing water losses. Great challenges are around the corner, and with the right tools, a solution to things that seem impossible today can be found.