Conserving Water Supply with Careful Management

Every year, the United Nations (UN) endeavors to emphasize the importance of one of the most valuable natural resources on World Water Day. The UN's current campaign urges individuals, families, and communities to accelerate transformative actions for the collective benefit. By effectively managing our water resources we can ensure an adequate supply for all.

Conserving Water Supply with Careful Management

Image Credit: ABB Measurement & Analytics

Many of us are fortunate enough to have abundant access to fresh drinking water simply by turning on a tap. It is easy to overlook the crucial role water plays and the efforts invested in guaranteeing such accessibility.

Over the past few years, weather patterns and rainfall have become increasingly unpredictable. Although our planet is predominantly covered by water, a mere 3% of that water constitutes freshwater available for drinking and agriculture.

Water Stress

The significance of conserving the water supply is underscored by the substantial impact that dry or wet seasons can have on agricultural activities. Around 70% of worldwide water usage is dedicated to agricultural irrigation.

World Resources Institute (WRI) defines water stress as exceptionally high when irrigated agriculture, industries, and municipalities utilize over 80% of the available supply annually.1

Twelve out of the seventeen most water-stressed countries are located in the Middle East and North Africa, with additional regions such as India, South Western Australia, South Africa, and certain parts of the United States also facing high water stress.

To address this issue, India is implementing crucial measures to alleviate the stress by implementing close management of this vital resource. These measures encompass supply management for irrigation and the implementation of stringent regulations for conserving and restoring lakes and groundwater sources.

In the management of water resources, there are three key actions that municipalities and water authorities can undertake:

  1. Increasing agricultural efficiency by using measured and precise watering for crops.
  2. Reducing loss in the distribution networks.
  3. Recycling wastewater and returning high-quality effluent water to waterways.

Managing Supplies

In India, water supply regulatory management has been implemented to address the diverse needs of industries and the population. A notable example can be found in Surat, a megacity that serves as the epicenter of the country's multi-billion-dollar textile industry.

This industry heavily relies on the daily consumption of 90 million gallons of water spread across approximately 1,000 textile mills in the city.

To combat water scarcity and ensure an adequate water supply for the industry and its residents, city authorities have adopted the usage of AquaMaster flowmeters. These flowmeters enable precise tracking of water consumption by individual businesses.

The data is then digitally compiled and transmitted wirelessly to a control center situated at the city hall. The availability of this data empowers the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to effectively monitor water usage and optimize water management strategies.

Similarly, in meeting the demands of agriculture in Australia, flowmeters have become an integral part of irrigation networks across the country, facilitating efficient measurement and control of water flow for crops and livestock.

By utilizing flowmeters, users can adhere to allocated water quotas during periods of limited supply while minimizing leakage from the distribution network. The certification provided by the NMI ensures compliance with regulatory requirements regarding measurement accuracy, thus satisfying the relevant authorities.

Reducing Leakage

According to World Bank estimates, a massive 45 million cubic meters are lost globally every day through leakage,2 necessitating the replacement, treatment, and re-pumping of this significant volume to ensure a steady water supply to customers. The elimination of leakage is, therefore, of utmost importance.

ABB's comprehensive digital solutions are assisting the local water authority in Karnataka, rural India, in monitoring, measuring, and optimizing water usage. The Koppal district, home to a population of 1 million, regularly experiences water shortages.

The challenge was to accurately measure water flow and utilize digital technology to integrate measurement and tracking of water usage, including leakage. The AquaMaster's exceptional ability to detect even the slightest flow variations has proven crucial in addressing the water scarcity issues in the Koppal district.

In the Middle East, where water stress is particularly severe, the utilization of ABB AquaMaster flowmeters has resulted in a remarkable 40% reduction in leaks within Riyadh's distribution network.

Riyadh, an expansive city covering an area five times larger than Paris, used to lose up to 60% of its water supply through leakage in the extensive 6000-mile pipe network that served the population.

OIML certification ensures compliance with stringent accuracy standards. When coupled with the low maintenance and high reliability of the WaterMaster and AquaMaster flowmeters, ABB has played a significant role in detecting network leaks.

Water management made easy

Video Credit: ABB Measurement & Analytics

Recycling Wastewater

Australia, the driest inhabited continent globally, may find a solution to its severe water stress through the treatment and reuse of water, as suggested by The World Resources Institute (WRI). This process creates a "new" water source, and additional by-products result from wastewater recycling.

In southwest Adelaide, Australia, the Glenelg wastewater treatment plant plays a pivotal role in supplying 3.8 billion liters of reused water annually for recreational and commercial purposes.

To ensure the discharged water is safe for the environment, the plant relies on highly reliable and accurate measurement instruments. ABB's AWT440 transmitter and ADS430 dissolved oxygen units have proven successful at the facility, reducing air consumption and improving overall plant efficiency.

Singapore derives its water supply from four distinct sources. These sources include reservoir water, imported water from Malaysia, specially treated high-quality reclaimed water known as NEWater, and desalinated water.

ABB has been entrusted with the responsibility of designing, engineering, manufacturing, installing, and commissioning the complete plant electrification, instrumentation, and water analyzers for this project.

The Marina East Desalination Plant in Singapore boasts a dual-mode capability, allowing it to treat fresh and sea water based on prevailing weather conditions, thereby minimizing energy consumption when freshwater is abundant.

Future Growth

Digital measurement technology is aiding water companies worldwide in managing the rising demand and the ever-changing water availability.

Finding a solution to meet the escalating water demand primarily relies on optimizing water treatment efficiency.

This approach also leads to reduced environmental consequences associated with water treatment and distribution. The utilization of advanced digital devices and analytical techniques enables water utilities to effectively cater to the requirements and expectations of a growing population.

References and Further Reading


This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by ABB Measurement & Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit ABB Measurement & Analytics.


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