Smart water grid initiative launched in U.S.


F. Mark Modzelewski,
Co-founder & Executive
Director, Water
Innovations Alliance
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 5, 2009 – The Washington, DC-based Water Innovations Alliance has launched a smart water grid initiative that seeks to bring advanced information technology to water management.

The emerging water IT field is focused on aiding the delivery of water from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to improve decision making, save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability and safety. The goal is to create a virtual water “grid” that cuts across all water supplies from natural ones such as rivers and aquifers, to municipal suppliers, to the impact of weather patterns, says the Alliance.

Some of the key issues facing water utilities and agencies include ensuring water availability at the required quality, ensuring water security, replacing an ageing water infrastructure, and managing the impacts of severe weather events. Underlying these is that water is rarely consistently priced in line with its value, for example, and there is also institutional and information fragmentation as well as a lack of both awareness and funding.

Nevertheless there are reasons for optimism that this situation is starting to change, and that what is needed now is a way to build and maintain that momentum by encouraging further collaboration and enabling better water management decisions. Advanced IT is integral to this, says the Alliance, pointing out that there is no lack of availability of technology solutions, such as wide area sensing, data integration, and modeling and optimization tools.

F. Mark Modzelewski, co-founder and executive director of the Alliance, says that the detail of the smart water grid initiative is currently being worked on.

However, there are a number of actions that the Alliance believes are required to bring about the wider application of IT solutions. The main of these is a sustained effort to build awareness of the nature of the information problem in water management, the types of solutions required, and the capabilities of advanced sensing, IT and modeling to provide these solutions. Others include a mandating of “minimum standards of adequacy” for information collection and availability about water resources, and minimum obligations for each agency to provide that information to other agencies, land owners and the public.

The Water Innovations Alliance is a new industry association promoting accelerated adoption of cutting edge water technologies.

“It is vital that all the parties – both in the public and private sectors – come together to create and fund a water information technology initiative with common platforms, standards and nomenclature,” says Modzelewski.