Water is one of the most precious resources on the planet because it is essential to life. Therefore, it should be plentiful and self-evident, which – for the sweet bit of news – in some part of the world actually is. However, in too many areas of the world, it is scarce, making it everyone’s issue.
Nowadays, there seem to be trends for everything, yet trends for the water industry is not bulky information online. Take the benefit of our passion for this topic and the geeky pleasure of summarizing what we read, and see, how you can take advantage of the most evident water industry trends this year.
1. Water scarcity figures will keep getting worse
The poor level of globally available freshwater is no news, but the worst part is its trend to go down. The temperature on the planet keeps raising and every last decade is warmer than the previous one. The Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030 highlights that the planet is screaming for drastic changes in the methods of utilizing our resources, yet it is easier said than done since so many processes in the world are intertwined. Also, the overpopulation and subsequent increase in the number of population, poverty, as well as the reluctance of people to change their ways all have a role to play in this tragedy.
According to the alarming statistical data published by the World Health Organization, almost half of the global population (approximately 4 billion people) live in water-scarce regions, and more than 2 billion people still live without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation services. The World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas shows that nearly 1.8 billion people (or a quarter of the world’s population) in 17 countries live on the verge of a water crisis – with the potential of severe shortages in the next few years. 12 of those countries are in the Middle East and North Africa, and two of them are in Asia (India and Pakistan). Other hotspots are San Marino in Europe and Turkmenistan in Central Asia. Such countries as Chile, Cyprus, Belgium, Mexico, Greece and Spain are in disturbing proximity, and also some parts of the USA haven’t skipped the burning touch of extreme climate change.
2. Anything that saves money is popular
This is another trend, which runs in from the previous years. The so-called zero-waste way of life was mostly associated with individuals and private households, yet now it takes a huge leap into the public sector, public architecture, and even agriculture. Certainly, it covers a wide range of spheres, the water industry being just one of them.
As the water industry watchdogs are raising their voices, the changes in national regulations, forcing us to changes our ways, are on the way. Besides the threefold increase in the current international financial aid needed for the hot regions, the present alarming situation calls also for a shift in habits, which will keep changing perception towards me-to-the world way of thinking (instead of the world-to-me).
For households, this means keeping a clean conscience by using water-saving products at home, such as appliances and water-saving taps and toilets, yet more impact will be reached by using the water-saving solutions for the commercial sector and public buildings visited by the masses, and certainly the main culprit – the agriculture.
3. Digitalization of the water industry
The share of digital solutions and technology in the water industry is on the rise, and they cover a broad range of water-related topics, such as water detection and measuring, water quality and efficiency, leakage detection and even cybersecurity, to name just a few. Virtual sensors, smart utilities, remote sensors, AI and advanced satellite monitoring technologies help in dealing with water issues.
The once-unimaginable real-time water quality measurement at the tap and smart residential irrigation is becoming a common thing. Moreover, the utilities and sanitation companies are about to broaden the limitations and sole purpose of toilets by using advanced sensors, mobile technology, IoT and AI to provide cheap, effective and regular health checks. That’s, right – health checks, gathering digital health information to warn users about infections and help contain potential disease outbreaks.
These examples are mostly relevant for residential and public premises, yet numerous new technologies cover nearly all aspects of the industry. That refers to satellite imagery and other earth observation tools, and even virtual and augmented reality (AR) technologies, which can ensure more efficient operation, repairs, and replacement, and can detect and repair leaks and check water quality. The digital transformation awaits!
4. Searching for ideas in unpopular places
General rule is that champions in innovation are big nations or large companies due to the large pool of brilliant minds and solid financial means. However, saving the future of the water lays in each and every one of us, and this is not the time for national rivalry. The stakeholders are about to pick the winning cards by expanding the horizon.
At times, the big guys sitting in high corporate chairs get wrapped in the big cause and the general picture. It’s time to zoom out and hear out not only the struggles but more of ideas of small players. Every country has small communities hiding bright minds full of innovative ideas, all they need is a voice.
Brainstorming of ideas works every time, and going-to-actual-people initiatives are about to spread. The search would start in the countries of scarce water resources since necessity is the mother of invention. The spotlight is about to turn not only to individuals but also to small, side-line companies in the water industry, such as Varuna, Oneka Technologies, Mimbly and Orbital Systems, which share a common goal with the STAND Company.
Another role for the smaller countries to play is that of a host. Numerous new water technology companies share a common challenge – the long time it takes to get a technology to market. Five to seven years can be rough on a technological newcomer. Therefore, the search is on for the countries of industry-friendly jurisdiction and open-minded local water utility companies, who can provide a supportive location. Cross-industry initiatives are also on the go.
A great year ahead of us. Let’s make every single day count!
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Water, and the shortage of it, is the very idea behind the STAND Company and it is the main focus also for this blog. We stand for the future! For the waterful future, to be exact. The water industry, besides bathroom design and technology, is our main field of interest and most of our reading-time goes to those topics. Catch up on all the latest in the water-saving industry.