There is a huge market opportunity for industries that help make antiquated water processes smarter.
Today, communities across the nation are facing difficult challenges in meeting their water resource needs. As the population continues to grow, especially in areas with higher-than-average per capita water consumption, there will be an increased demand on the already constrained water supply. In addition, repairing and expanding the United States water infrastructure is estimated to cost more than one trillion dollars over the next 25 years to repair and expand.
With this in mind, a new finance report by Water Innovations Alliance analyzes the investment in upgrading and rolling out new smart meters for water. Water utilities are expected to spend $2 billion on smart meters through 2020, “almost matching all previous investment in the leak-finding devices,” according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This technology is necessary, since water systems without meters can contribute to high water use, as well as water wastage.
A water smart grid system would direct meters, sensors, water mapping, smart irrigation and other technologies to work together to create a data-driven system for the intelligent management of water resources. By monitoring water use at all levels, meters are able to send data to water companies several times a day. This permits for analysis of flow, pressure, temperature, quality and storage levels.
In its report, Water Innovations Alliance explains that water scarcity, aging water infrastructure, water quality, water distribution, and the impact of inefficient water use on our energy consumption pose significant challenges that will only worsen as the population grows. One of the obstacles identified in the white paper is funding.
The U.S. Senate in May 2013 passed legislation that would create a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority, WIFIA. If enacted into law, this would make low-interest federal loans available to address large water infrastructure projects in communities across the United States.
Water Utilities to Spend $2 Billion on Smart Meters Through 2020
Water Innovation Alliance: The Water Smart Grid Initiative
The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA)