The integrated water cycle: does its value outweigh its cost?

The integral water cycle is essential in human development. Its multiple applications give it a leading role and, therefore, make water a resource that must be protected to ensure sustainability. However, according to Idrica, there are still those who do not appreciate its importance, focusing on factors such as price at the expense of the value that proper investment holds.

Nowadays, society is being bombarded with information about information technologies, digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the midst of this burgeoning technological landscape, Idrica believes it is crucial to stop for a moment and reflect on whether all these technological advances are being used effectively and how they can be deployed efficiently across society.

When talking about the water sector, Idrica, founded by Fomento Urbano de Castellón, S.A., stresses the importance of new technologies in efficient water resource management at a time like the present, when organizations such as the World Bank and the UN are warning of the need to take action to reduce the water stress affecting more than 1.1 billion people. 

This is why it is essential to address the question of the difference between cost and value, i.e., how much does water cost or how much is water worth?

It is undeniable that at times we do not properly appreciate something until it is gone. Idrica stresses the need to consider whether a value can really be attributed to water. In this sense, emphasis must be placed on the integrated water cycle, which is essential to generate energy, produce food thanks to irrigated agriculture, to sustain human consumption, industry and control the climate. Therefore, water, according to the international water technology company, acquires an incalculable value that goes beyond any economic metric. So, if water is priceless, why are we not investing in the digital transformation of water management to the same extent as we are investing in other businesses and industries?

Currently, over 25% of water for human consumption is wasted due to broken pipes, leaks, poor fault response times and inefficient water cycle management, to name but a few reasons. “Although there are technological advances that could help to optimize water management, the opportunities they bring are not being fully tapped” note Idrica’s Project Manager, Vicente Maicas.

integrated water cycle

The inclusion of information technologies in the integrated water cycle (catchment, drinking water treatment, supply, sanitation, purification and returning water to the environment) paves the way to significantly improving this process and maximizing the use of our most precious, though often undervalued resource: water.

4 measures to improve water management

To achieve this, according to Maicas, it is essential to implement concrete measures, such as:

  • The strategic distribution of sensors in the hydraulic network to obtain real-time information on the status of the system and its assets.
  • The use of smart algorithms that analyze this data and compare it with the average consumption patterns of each population group, enabling predictions to be made and alerts to be issued about possible leaks and abnormal consumption.
  • The use of technological solutions to harness the data obtained, providing access to accurate data on real and estimated consumption, as well as generating alarms that enable preventive action to be taken in risk situations.
  • The deployment of asset management programs to improve system maintenance and optimize work orders.

Against this background, Idrica’s Project Manager wonders: how much does it really cost to optimize water use? Or, for that matter, what is the value of the water we waste through inefficient management? “There is a need to shift the focus and consider value over cost on this crucial issue”, Maicas stresses.

According to Idrica´s expert, society must seriously consider whether it is willing to wait until it is faced with a water crisis head on before it begins to question the need to digitally transform the integrated water cycle. Every drop of water counts and there is no more time to waste. As a society, we need to be aware of the problem and take full advantage of the information technologies available to preserve this vital resource.

“Digital management of the water cycle is key to ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for all”, points out Vicente Maicas. The value of this initiative lies not only in its economic impact, but also in the conservation of one of the most essential resources for life on the planet. The expert concludes, “being aware of the importance of water and the technological tools available to us, then it is everyone’s duty to act in consequence and work together to build a more prosperous, sustainable and responsible future for natural resources. After all, as the English proverb goes, “you never miss the water till the well runs dry.”

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