This month while much of the Western world is taking advantage of warmer weather to take summer holidays, the state of California in the US is suffering the ill effects of a fourth year of drought conditions.
Water is now very much on the political agenda and minds of cities and water districts as they face the threat of US$10,000 fines if they don’t meet targets for reducing water use.
Restricting access to water supply is a thorny issue and one that prompts consumers to react in sometimes quite extreme ways (such as the violent resistance in Ireland to the installation of water meters).
But as with most change, it is threatening until it becomes routine and fortunately technology is there to assist with improving leak detection right the way along the distribution chain.
New research suggests that it isn’t only consumers who are resistant to new ways of doing things, even if it means doing them better.
A report from analyst Markets and Markets found that water utilities are apprehensive in shifting towards cloud-based deployment, which has the potential for minimizing expenses. This apprehension is acting as a restraint to the implementation of smart water management systems as the cost of on-site infrastructure is huge.
Despite this challenge, the data suggests that the market for smart water networks will grow by 20% in the next five years, and you only have to look at California to see why.
It’s time for a culture change where saving water becomes as instinctive as eating ice cream on the beach. Enjoy your holidays.
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In the US, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), the largest utility in the state of Illinois, is running two years ahead on its US$2.6 billion smart meter rollout. Local media report that ComEd began installing the first of more than 80,000 smart meters in Rockford this week, the third largest city in Illinois.
The global market for smart water management is forecast to grow by 20% over the next five years driven by government regulations to maintain water quality. New research suggests the value of the market will increase from US$7,340 million in 2015 to US$18,310 million by 2020, according to US-based market intelligence company Markets and Markets.
In Europe, Spain's largest utility Iberdrola claims that it has improved its service quality for customers in the Castilla-La Mancha area by 18% due to investment in smart grid technology.
Middle East smart meters rollouts continue as Qatar expects to complete the first phase of a deployment in 2016. State-owned utility Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation, known as Kahramaa, will reportedly replace all analogue meters in the Doha area of its service territory by 2016.
Water, electricity and gas infrastructure company Aclara has acquired part of the market that has opened up for water metering and leak detection technology in drought-hit California.
In the US, Hawaii's prinicipal electric utility has confirmed it plans to extend its deployment of technology across the state later this year as part of its Hawaii smart grid project.