Smart Water Meters: Minimizing Water Crisis in pandemic inflicted India
As India gears up to battle the current pandemic, water scarcity can be the biggest challenge facing its future. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, for the country to maintain hygiene and simultaneously contain water crisis, unwise use of clean water is not an option.
As India gears up to battle the current pandemic, water scarcity can be the biggest challenge facing its future. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, for the country to maintain hygiene and simultaneously contain water crisis, unwise use of clean water is not an option. It’s critical to understand the close nexus between the ongoing pandemic and India’s water woes if India doesn’t want to wake up to another severe crisis – and this time it being one of the most critical life element i.e. ‘Water’.
Due to increased COVID-19 awareness, people have been washing their hands about 5-7 times a day and disinfecting their houses at least once in 2-3 days. Moreover, since people have been confined to their homes due to the lockdown, there has been an increase in the average water consumption by nearly 1.5 times. It’s estimated that a mere 30-40 sec. of an average hand-washing time would use up almost 2 litres of water which means usage of 20 litres of water per person per day, assuming people wash their hands at least 10 times a day. To sum up, a family of four would use 75-80 litres a day only to wash hands – imagine the amount of usage for the nation!
The issue is intense for those urban centers where the population density is high. This is why it is pertinent to bring up the importance of efficient water management and utilization for utilities across the country and more so for these densely populated centers.
Before heading there, it’s essential to understand the criticality of the impending water crisis for India in the current context.
Can COVID19 accelerate India’s water crisis challenge?
With the public health initiative of multiple rounds of sanitization and handwashing to contain COVID19 pandemic spread, it will be difficult for the 600 Million people in India to avail clean water considering they are already facing high to extreme water stress. The CWMI report states that by 2030, the country's water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6 percent loss in the country's GDP. There is an immediate need for the transition to happen from this 'supply-and-supply-more water' provision to ground actionable measures that prioritize efficiency of water usage through water resources management and wastage correction.
At this time of the pandemic, when people are under lockdown and the water usage per family is surging at an alarming rate, gaining insights on the actual usage, through early detection of leakages and NRW management is critical. By deploying smart water meters that have high accuracy and advanced sensors can help utilities procure real-time and accurate data about the consumption remotely, enabling them to gain insights into the daily water consumption patterns of the citizens thereby allowing them to set conservancy goals.
Also, such smart water meters are well designed and apt to be used at a time when people are under lockdown. Due to its advanced features utilities can collect data remotely without their staff having to physically visit residents/homes for meters reading. This will also help to reduce costs, increased operational efficiency and readiness to face scarcity so that utilities can improve their decision-making, efficiency, and service.
The relevance of Smart Water Meters - Water Management during COVID19 Pandemic
Remote access to real-time data addresses additional manpower challenge
Since smart water meters allow the remote and auto collection of such consumption and leakage data, it doesn’t pose any additional manpower deployment challenge for the utilities considering the current lockdown and social distancing protocol.
Real-time insights into consumption pattern help save more water
The biggest advantage of smart meters is the ability to provide unprecedented amounts of real-time insight into water usage. Service providers can also get immediate feedback on the success of water conservation efforts undertaken by the consumers; which is of great benefit when it comes to informing policy decisions.
Access to digitized data means improved and informed decision-making capacity
Digitalization of data and the business processes it supports can help utilities get the most out of their data to improve their decision-making, efficiency, and service. The real-time data and insights into water usage, that Smart meters provide is critical for a water management system to be effective in actuality.
Public utility bodies must understand the need for such efficient water utilization and Smart water meters - the biggest advantage which is their ability to provide unprecedented amounts of real-time insight into water usage.
Detection of early leakage helps faster recovery and less financial burden
Utilizing highly accurate smart meters that can detect low flow rates down to 1 litre/hr, with measurements made during the night or early hours of the morning when water consumption is minimal, provides utilities the ability to address customer-side leakage early. Utilities can then notify the consumers when they are approaching water consumption limits, identify leaks on their side and suggest behaviour options to reduce residential water consumption – all this within a faster time frame.
Role of Government is integral to transform India’s Water Industry
The role of Government and local authorities remain crucial in handling and addressing any country’s critical issues. India’s COVID19 battle has been historic and the role of Govt has helped India fight it maturely. India’s water crisis needs an immediate address. Understanding the advantage of the massive benefits that smart water management systems and the role it can play to avert the impending crisis, is crucial. Adoption and deployment of such solutions nationally will surely need the support and backing of the Govt. in case India aims to combat the looming water crisis that might take severe shape due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house