It can improve the efficiency of water supply systems by maximizing information and data available to make better operational and planning decisions.
For example, AI tools may be used to inform efforts to reduce losses from nonrevenue and unaccounted for water, such as from leaking pipes and inaccurate meter readings.
The availability of affordable big data from sensors, customers, and staff builds the case for the digital transformation of the water sector. However, many water utilities, particularly in developing countries, lack the capacity to use big data for day-to-day operations.
Most of them start their digital transition with a Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system linked to a network control center; then figure out how to turn these technology investments into real benefits to customers.
The digital transition of water utilities should be progressive, pragmatic, and target-oriented. From an “old school” operation or Hydraulic Modeling 1.0, water utilities need to shift to a new era of efficiency and accountability, or Hydraulic Modeling 2.0, supported by AI tools and big data analytics.