Cloud-Based Water Management Platforms

February 28, 2024

Cloud-Based Water Management Platforms: Streamlining Data Collection, Analysis, And Decision-Making Processes

By Katie Brenneman

Water and ecology-GettyImages-1403925547

In the water management industry, data collection and analysis are critical to making informed decisions that affect people and the environment. Traditional data collection and analysis methods are typically time-consuming, challenging, and prone to human error. However, with the growing popularity of cloud-based water management platforms, a change to the industry is coming.

These platforms use cloud technology to simplify processes, improve effectiveness, and allocate resources more efficiently. Let’s examine how cloud-based water management systems ultimately transform how people manage the world’s water sources.

The Evolution Of Water Management

Water management has evolved substantially over time due to population growth, urban development, climate change, and water scarcity. In the past, water management relied heavily on manual data collection, such as manual meter readings and field surveys; these methods were prone to errors and labor-intensive. Additionally, local computing infrastructure often limits data analysis, resulting in inefficient decision-making processes and project delays.

However, cloud-based technology has revolutionized how companies approach water management. These software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications offer a scalable solution for collecting, storing, analyzing, and visualizing real-time water-related data. The power of the cloud enables businesses to automate data collection, access data from remote locations, and conduct complex analyses efficiently and accurately.

Streamlining Data Collection

A primary advantage of cloud-based water management platforms is the simplification of the data collection process. Whereas traditional data collection methods involved field personnel manually recording readings and measurements, cloud-based systems quickly automate and collect data from various sources, including meters, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and sensors.

For instance, sensors placed in bodies of water can continually monitor water levels, temperatures, water quality, and flow rates in real-time. After this water data is collected, it is sent to the cloud for processing, analysis, and storage. Cloud-based systems reduce manual interventions and their accompanying errors by automating data collection tasks. Streamlining this process with technology provides an accurate and comprehensive view of water resources, such as water consumption per production unit and water recycling.

Enhancing Data Analysis

Cloud-based water management platforms also boost data analysis capabilities. These systems use analytics tools and machine learning algorithms to quickly and accurately analyze large datasets. Companies can gain valuable insights into the health and dynamics of their water resources with this technology, which detects patterns, trends, and irregularities in data.

One example of enhancing data analysis is using machine learning algorithms to assess historical data to predict future water demand, identify possible water leaks, locate inefficiencies in distribution networks, and optimize water allocation strategies. This information allows organizations to make data-driven decisions that enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs. This process also ensures the sustainable management of water resources. 

Optimizing Decision-Making Processes

The main purpose of cloud-based water management platforms is to optimize decision-making processes. These systems empower companies to make decisions based on analyzed data by supplying actionable and accurate data. Those decisions will, in turn, positively impact water management facilities.

Water utilities can use real-time water usage, supply, and distribution data to pinpoint locations with potential water shortages and high demand. This process allows companies to take a proactive approach to address these concerns before they occur. Similarly, environmental agencies can use this water quality information to monitor pollution levels, detect sources of contamination, and implement measures to protect water ecosystems and public health.

Data Security Considerations

Companies' primary challenge when implementing cloud-based technology systems is the fear of cyberattacks. Traditionally, water companies use software products installed on their network, such as billing systems. Unfortunately, installing security updates or upgrades with these programs is difficult. It’s also more challenging for suppliers to support the software products, leaving water utilities with increasingly obsolete legacy software systems, which makes sensitive company and customer information easier for hackers to steal.

Water companies are typically reluctant to store their information anywhere outside their corporate network. However, the increasing shift to SaaS products reflects water companies’ acknowledgment of cloud-based platforms' security benefits, including cost savings. According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), every 60 seconds, cyber-crime impacts more than 1800 people and costs more than $1.1 million. Therefore, certified standards and binding contractual agreements ensure suppliers use cutting-edge technology to reduce and manage security risks effectively.

There are many ways to keep a cloud-based platform safe and secure, starting with data encryption. This process allows a manager and intended recipient to see a document as intended while the information will be intelligible to someone attempting to hack that documentation.

Because most cyberattacks occur due to human error, a cloud engineer should enforce strong password protocols and employ two-factor authentication. These steps will significantly increase the safety of the company’s data.

Many cloud-based water management platforms include the following cyber-resilience steps:

  • Identify and manage all operational technology assets;
  • Prioritize cyber risks and vulnerabilities quickly;
  • Use AI-powered threat detection and analysis;
  • Comply with regional regulatory requirements.

Maintaining older and increasingly obsolescent legacy systems costs more money and elevates the security risks to water companies. Those older platforms are often incompatible with current software requirements and future communications technology. It’s wise for water utilities to recognize and prioritize the need for better cybersecurity provided through SaaS and cloud-based management systems.

Benefits For Organizations And The Environment

Cloud-based water management platforms offer significant benefits to water utilities and the environment. Environmental agencies, industrial facilities, and municipalities can leverage these platforms to cut costs and ensure compliance with global, federal, and state regulations. With water, reducing the carbon footprint involves critically examining the efficient use of resources and energy consumption within a facility.

By streamlining data collection and analysis using a cloud-based system, organizations can respond and adapt to changing conditions, optimize resource distribution, and reduce the environmental impact of water management processes. Promoting data transparency and collaboration allows these platforms to promote sustainable water practices while encouraging stakeholder engagement and participation.

Make The Smart And Sustainable Choice

Cloud-based water management systems are a groundbreaking advancement in the water utility industry. By offering a central and scalable platform for water data analysis, these systems assist companies in making smarter decisions based on accurate and current data. Investing in a cloud-based management platform means better operational efficiency, reduced costs, and more sustainable use of water resources.

With climate change and population growth increasing, water utilities should use a cloud-based water management system to learn how to steward water sustainability for the company and the environment.


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