The water situation, in France and in the world, is serious. With the acceleration of climate change, a quarter of humanity is already facing extremely high water stress. In France, more than 100 municipalities had to be supplied by cistern with drinking water this summer, under the effect of a historic drought. And, as if to amplify an already present water crisis, the unprecedented energy crisis that is sweeping through Europe is adding to the problem, since water and energy are highly interdependent.
In this emergency context, Xylem helps local authorities make a technological, operational and societal shift to preserve this rare and essential resource.
Fight against leaks and REUT: concrete solutions to consume less water.
Water uses are traditionally divided into three categories: industry, agriculture and so-called “domestic” uses, which include both individual and collective dwellings and professional buildings. If we identify fairly well the possibilities of optimizing the first two (designing industrial processes that require less water, including for energy production, adopting agricultural production methods that are less dependent on irrigation), we we also have significant room for improvement in domestic consumption.
The weak link is our water network, and what happens under our feet, around its 850,000 kilometers of pipes. With an average yield of barely 80%, due to the dilapidated state of the network, 1 liter of drinking water out of 5 on average never reaches the tap. Implementing ambitious policies for detecting and repairing leaks would therefore make it possible to avoid producing 20% more water than necessary.
And since we need to realize that from now on, every drop of water counts, we must also study very seriously the solutions for reusing wastewater (REUT), to swap our linear model of water consumption – production / consumption / rejection – against a more circular model, which reduces the pressure on the resource. An approach that also involves a strong political gesture, because France, due to very restrictive regulations, today only reuses 1% of its treated water, compared to 14% for Spain or 90% for Israel.
Smart networks and digital twins: future solutions for better water consumption.
Although the water situation is serious and it is urgent to act to consume less and better, the evolution of technologies and the integration of digital technology also offer us solutions to preserve the resource in the longer term. .
“Smart Technologies”, based on data models and artificial intelligence, are becoming essential decision-making tools for water stakeholders, as they already are in many others. sectors.
In France, if the water production infrastructures are partly already connected and controlled with digital technology, the networks themselves are at this stage only very marginally. However, equipping all these networks and associated infrastructures with sensors, combined with the processing of this mass of information (instantaneous and historical), will in the future help us to manage the system in real time, throughout the water cycle: abstraction, treatment, transport, distribution, recycling and restitution.
This data can then be reused to improve our understanding of the phenomena, in order to develop, thanks to deep learning algorithms, a personalized predictive approach which makes it possible to optimize the management of an infrastructure according to the variations of its environment.
For example, in wastewater treatment, digital innovations enable energy and chemical product savings in the range of 15 to 25%, while increasing the compliance rate in terms of discharges. Recent digital twin projects at sewage treatment plants in Europe have reduced energy consumption by up to 30%, while minimizing operational expenses through predictive maintenance of equipment and extending its service life. life. And on sewerage networks, digital control makes it possible to limit overflows, floods and above all to optimize investments.
To meet all these challenges, Xylem combines the latest digital innovations with more than 150 years of expertise in water equipment and services, to help communities succeed in what is emerging as one of the greatest challenges of the coming decades: saving water.
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Xylem helps communities “save water”
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