Building Resiliency and Preventing Water Loss with Digital Water Technology

Clean water is an essential part of our daily lives. Beyond what we use and drink and bathe, water is embedded in the food we eat and the products we buy. And everything we do affects water too.

The pandemic altered people’s daily routines drastically, and water consumption patterns shifted suddenly as a result. Utilities around the globe had to quickly adjust to this new reality while still managing day-to-day operations, service levels and all of their other responsibilities. 

The pandemic exposed challenges in numerous industries, and the water sector was no exception. However, utilities that leveraged digital solutions adapted more easily to changing demand patterns, a reduced workforce, suspended fieldworks, and other pandemic complications.

Today, the world faces unprecedented water challenges — from shifting populations to growing water scarcity to aging infrastructure.

Is our water infrastructure up to the task? The 2021 Water Infrastructure Report Card states that there is a water main break every two minutes. Additionally, an estimated 6 billion gallons of treated water is lost each day in the United States alone. That equates to more than 9,000 swimming pools. If water loss continues to grow, where does that leave Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky?

Jokes aside, water loss impacts utilities and their customers financially. Unexpected water main breaks or damaged pipes can result in widespread property damage and expensive repairs. 

Waiting for customer calls or visible signs of water loss is no longer sufficient. Utilities need a better handle on the health of their network to address problems proactively. This means fewer service interruptions, boil water notices and traffic disruptions.     

Digital technologies offer new ways to prepare our water infrastructure for 21st Century challenges.

Today, seeing the invisible is possible and less expensive than you might think. Smart Meters with built-in pressure monitoring alert customers to potential leaks and other possible issues. In an emergency, utilities can prevent major water loss by remotely turning off or reducing water flow. The result is better customer service, water savings and cost savings for the homeowner, business and utility.

Utilities can also strategically deploy acoustic monitoring devices within the distribution network to continuously listen for leaks. Service crews can then use external leak detection tools to further investigate and pinpoint suspected leaks. This takes the guesswork out of repairs and stops leaks before they become costly problems or result in significant water loss. 

Certainly, water loss poses a financial cost, but the greater threat is losing access to this precious resource for future generations. December 4th is World Water Loss Day. Let’s work together to make sure we have every tool at our disposal to combat water loss.

To pinpoint leaks and identify red flags in your critical transmission mains, learn more about Xylem’s inline inspection tools in this blog.