Digital Water Management:
Unlocking Innovative and Advanced Solutions to Urban Water Management Systems through the Interface between Science and Technology
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in water resources management enable the integrated system to identify and address the needs of people in a more efficient way. The revolutionary advancements in ICT, particularly digitalization, have had a positive impact on the better management of water and sanitation service networks, the prediction of flood and drought through big data analyses, and the establishment of a more climate-resilient community. By utilizing the data from ICT, policymakers can implement sensible decision-making related to water and sanitation services. However, even in this digital age, numerous countries lag behind in ICT and digitalization due to the complexity of technologies, and adequate skills and technologies, little training and education, and budget constraints. These challenges are compounded by the fast and continuously changing needs of people, especially in the water sector (Asian Development Bank, 2022).
Digitalization in water resources management has played a pivotal role in helping countries implementing more efficient and sustainable water resources management. Digitalization facilitates a faster analysis of historical data, which helps predict future phenomena and leads to more sustainable water and sanitation services. Real-time, remote, and integrated monitoring and controlling of water and sanitation infrastructures can be conducted more efficiently through diverse digital technologies and platforms.
A diversity of smart meters, sensors, and software programs for water resources management has increasingly been applied for real-time data acquisition. The collection of big data and data analyses has been possible thanks to digitalization in water resources management, and digital water management paves the way to prepare countries against abnormalities triggered by climate change and develop water resources management strategies and plans.
ii. Governance, Management, and Policy Recommendations
Communication: Information, and Involvement of Users in the Organization and Deployment of Smart Water Management Systems
Communication with digital water management and implementation plays a bridging role in between users’ skills and continuously evolving technologies. Thus, it is necessary for water users in urban areas to be more familiar with digital platforms. City governments are advised to provide a variety of education and training programs for the general public to adjust to digitalized systems for water use.
➢Supporting Research and Development in Digital Water Management
Recognizing the magnitude of research and development in water resources management is one of the crucial ways to achieve a successful digital transformation. Innovative solutions should be developed for reducing undesirable impacts on water and the environment. As such, the utilization of historical water and environmental-related data would be very useful in developing future technologies for digital water management.
➢ Sharing and Transferring of Knowledge and Technologies for Sustainable Development through International Partnership
At present, there is a large gap between developed and developing countries in terms of water management technologies. Facilitating collaboration between these countries will result in the transfer of knowledge and technologies and foster mutual benefits. Such outcomes will be able to link water with other issues, such as energy, food, forest, and other development issues. Digital transformation is an opportunity that will allow developing countries to benefit directly from the latest technologies and to reduce costs.
➢ Empowerment of consumers in access to data on water resources management through smart water technologies & grid
The promotion of consumers’ access to data on water resources management is a way of promoting transparent governance and user involvement. The Internet of Things (IoT) has widely been used in this digital age. These new technologies enable the consumers to become more engaged in and to contribute to good water resources management.
iii. Highlights of Partner cities
➢ Bangkok, Thailand, has introduced digitalization in water resources management to improve its internal operations including business processes and other transactions and to address non-revenue water or leakage challenges in urban water supply networks.
➢ Smart metering and monitoring are introduced in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Such technologies have enhanced operation and maintenance (O&M) and have improved operational efficiency, thereby reducing non-revenue water and extracting less water from the existing water sources.
➢ Automation and digitalization have enabled Mikkeli, Finland, to optimize its operational processes in water service delivery to its customers. Digital water management data in Mikkeli are available for research and development of start-up and small-medium enterprises.
➢ PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, has developed and implemented the Five-Year SMART PUB Roadmap in 2018 to digitalize the entire
Digital Water Management: Unlocking Innovative and Advanced Solutions to Urban Water Management Systems through the Interface between Science and Technology
• Raising public awareness of digital water management with education and encouraging citizen involvement during the digital transformation process
• Enhancing operational efficiency in water resources management through digitalization and providing innovative solutions to challenges in urban water management including non-revenue water
• Facilitating partnerships between developed and developing countries for gaining full benefits of digitalized management in water and other resources
Source : World Water Cities Forum 2022 Urban Water Policy Brief World Water Cities Forum 2022