Jun 04, 2015

Sensus President: Smart Water Networks Key to Combating Droughts Across the U.S.

Smart water networks increase water efficiency, ultimately saving water and minimizing the negative implications of drought on individuals and industry

smart water networks drought Sensus California

With taps running dry across the state of California during one of the most severe droughts on record, utilities and governments are struggling to maintain precious water resources through strict water restrictions. Now in its fourth year and with no end in sight, California citizens have to make tough decisions about where and how to use the limited water that is available.

Unfortunately, California is not the only area affected by droughts or water scarcity, says Sensus President Randy Bays. States across the Southwest including Texas, Arizona and Nevada are experiencing severe or extreme droughts. While regulating water use can aid conservation, the stakes are too high to not invest in a technology solution that delivers immediate water savings and a long term solution to water shortages.

Water plays a key role in everyday life—from drinking and hygiene to agriculture, landscape, tourism and more. Smart water networks, an integrated set of products, solutions and systems for public service providers, are a proven technology that increase water efficiency, ultimately saving water and minimizing the negative implications of drought on individuals and industry, Bays says.

In hopes of reaching 25% conservation levels, California has enacted strict regulation for urban water suppliers. While this can aid water savings for the state, one-third of global utilities lose more than 40% of treated water due to leaks. By implementing smart water networks, California public service providers can account for all of the water that passes through their system, which in turn offers the potential to reach mandated conservation levels and end the state-wide water restrictions. 

Nationwide, landscape irrigation accounts for one-third of residential water usage; nine billion gallons of water every day. Smart water networks enable public service providers to monitor irrigation water usage and ensure customers are following usage mandates.

Agricultural water is another significant consideration. Approximately nine million acres of farm land in California are irrigated, accounting for 80% of all human water use in the state. Smart water networks and data analytics can better track and monitor this water.

Communities across the United States are already experiencing impactful water savings. Within days of launching its smart water network, Monaca, Pa., discovered a single leak spilling 200,000 gal of water loss each day, a loss of 1.6 billion gal of water every year.

Smart networks can play a major role in improving drought conditions in California and across the Southwest. However, moving past the barriers to implement this technology will require engagement across a diverse set of stakeholders: public service providers, municipalities, regulators, investors, industry and utility associations, technology providers and academia, Bays says.

Collectively, industry leaders can address the environmental and financial needs for smart water networks to revolutionize the water distribution infrastructure of the future, according to Bays. We can affect change and reduce water scarcity in the U.S. if we focus on partnering the right technologies with the right stakeholders.

With such high stakes, Bays says there has never been a more crucial time to tap technology for answers.