Talk to anyone in the industry right now, and the message is the same: we need to be smarter with our water if we are to cope with future demand. Every day in the UK, over three billion litres of water is lost through leaks, and the average consumer uses about 150 litres of tap water a day. These levels are unsustainable and are part of what is pushing us to the brink of water shortages. Combined with drier weather, climate change and an increasing population, we face not having enough water to meet demand in just 25 years.
Water companies are our front line of defence against water wastage. In the latest Ofwat price review, water companies are committing to a reduction in leakage of 16 per cent by 2025. Reducing consumer water usage is high on the agenda, too: companies must find ways to cut average water use to 131 litres per person per day, a reduction of 13 per cent on today’s levels.
This battle to preserve the water supply demands smart thinking – and smart devices. At CGI, we are currently working on the beginning of smart home technology for water, exploring how the Internet of Things (IoT) can drive change. We believe smart sensors in homes can be broadened out to connect households all feeding data back to the water company to generate a view of what is happening in the network. This is big data in action. By applying analytics to the regularly collected raw sensor data, water companies will be able to identify anomalies from normal consumption and pressure patterns to pinpoint leaks in the network much faster than they can currently.
Consumers can benefit from this bigger picture, too, receiving information that puts their individual usage info in a broader context, perhaps even encouraging a sense of motivating competition. How would you respond to knowing you are using twenty per cent more water than other customers in your neighbourhood?
Project Barnacle is leading the way in making smart home technology for water a reality. Barnacle is a smart device able to detect water leaks and potential issues with the water supply before consumers are even aware there is a problem. In partnership with Northumbrian Water, CGI has put a working prototype of Barnacle into a live test environment, to achieve a proof of concept that will pave the way for full-scale development. This innovation is an excellent example of how smart technology can play an essential part in tackling one of the water industry’s hardest challenges.
The question we are continually asking ourselves at CGI is how can we innovatively work with water companies to enable the smart water revolution? And the answer? Well, the smart water trial is just the beginning. We see a future where smart technology in the home supports water conservation by consumers and water companies, helping us to manage precious water resources sustainably.
For more information, get in touch with Graham Hainsworth.
Learn more about how CGI supports the water industry at https://www.cgi.com/uk/utilities/water