For World Water Day 2019, Frost & Sullivan aims to shed light on areas of innovation that have the potential to improve conventional systems and aid in efforts to leave no one behind on the worldwide journey to obtain water for everyone.
According to the World Bank, with roughly 663 million people lacking access to drinking water and 2.4 billion people worldwide lacking access to sanitation, water security is considered to be one of the biggest global risks.
“Potable water resources are easily disrupted or contaminated as a result of changing environmental conditions and human interference. The traditional model in the delivery of drinking water and wastewater services is centralized, leaving little redundancy in place should one component in service delivery be shut down or impaired,” said Seth Cutler, Principal Consultant at Frost & Sullivan. “Because of this, locations that are prone to disruption or without water services should think about new models for delivery that increase resilience.”
In a news release, Frost & Sullivan discuss three different techniques and technologies that can play a significant role in making sure those in need of safe water around the globe have the necessary tools for access: decentralized water supply, residential drinking water treatment systems and new financing models.
According to Frost & Sullivan, unlike centralized water systems, decentralized water and wastewater systems provide a sustainable and localized option for water supply that comes with a small footprint and quick installation allowing for a plug and play model needed in many rural areas and places facing environmental degradation. With shifts in regulatory policies underway, adoption of decentralized systems is expected to rise in developing countries.
Second, growing urbanization and concern of drinking water quality and associated health issues from questionable water supply has boosted the adoption of residential water treatment systems. According to Frost & Sullivan, technological advances that can focus on niche purification requirements, such as differing needs in developed and developing countries, and the ease in installation, coupled with its compact size and relatively cheaper price, are key factors when identifying the right system.
And lastly, investment vehicles, such as public-private partnerships (PPP), have the ability to connect investors, especially local financing, to develop water services in underserved areas while offering confidence in stable returns moving forward. According to Frost & Sullivan, the water sector can be averse to private ownership, however, PPP offers a level of public ownership and accountability that can help bridge these concerns.
“It is often difficult to change the conventional way of thinking and action. However, in many instances, it is this mindset that has failed marginalized groups when it comes to equitable access to safe and reliable water services. To ensure an inclusive future for water, new delivery and management methods need to be adopted to provide a greater level of resiliency,” Cutler said. “These efforts combine highly localized quick-fixes, such as residential treatment solutions, to high-redundancy systems through decentralization, and new methods of generating capital investment and accountability through PPP efforts. While a great deal of effort is needed to reach 100% coverage in water services, the solutions are very much within society’s toolbox.”