29 Jan MAKING IT RAIN: TOP NEW FUTURE TRENDS IN WATER MANAGEMENT AND WORKS
Make no mistake: Future trends in water management and water works are paving the way for evolution in the space. Rising populations, global climate change and aging infrastructure are just a handful among many new innovations and future trends in water management setting the stage for big shifts in the sector. Rising developments that will influence tomorrow’s outlook are:
(1) Customized Conservation Solutions – With fresh water scarcity growing, conservation efforts are increasing to help mitigate impacts. “Smart water” software and hardware driven by artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and machine learning will enable utilities and consumers to understand personal usage behaviors and target specific customized reductions.
(2) Decentralized Infrastructure – Centralized systems face challenges sustaining service with population growth in both cities and far-flung locations. Infrastructure models will shift toward decentralized, modular water solutions to increase flexibility at a local level. Rainwater harvesting technology and reuse systems will also expand.
(3) Infrastructure Replacement Wave – Much of the existing water supply systems across developed countries are nearing obsolescence. The shift will compel a massive wave of infrastructure replacement projects applying modern methods like trenchless pipe relining to upgrade efficiency and remote monitoring abilities. Regulatory support and alternative financing models are growing to fund projects.
(4) Smart Water Networks – The Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, real-time monitoring sensors and software analytics will transform isolated utilities into integrated Smart Water Networks. The digitization and automation of the full urban water cycle – from source to tap to drain – boosts responsiveness across supply, distribution and waste.
(5) Alternate Water Sources – Previously marginal water sources like recycled wastewater, stormwater capture, and desalination of brackish/sea water will become mainstream additions to supplement strained supplies. Cost improving treatment methods and urgency of need are accelerating adoption of these alternative sources to stretch finite freshwater.
While resilience and sustainability come at a high cost, maintaining water security for all users, backed by future trends in water, will require not only deep thought and innovation. It will also demand employing a combination of expanded supply diversity, improved infrastructure, increased efficiency and technology-enabled intelligence to responsibly steward our most precious resource.