Artificial Intelligence has seeped into every sector for good, making lives easier and better. One such crucial sector which is benefitting from the benefits of AI is the water industry. Water being the most essential natural resource for human life is also available in a small amount. There is only 2.5% of the earth’s water which is freshwater. And, out of the total, only 0.5% is available freshwater, hence ringing an alarm for the need to conserve and manage this natural resource better.
The water crisis in India is as real as it can get. While some parts of the country are hit by incessant rains, others are hit by droughts, thereby making the availability of fresh drinking water acute.
Traditionally, there were wells, public tanks, and artificial lakes as a few measures to conserve water. But with rapid urbanization, these traditional methods are long-forgotten. As a result, there is a need for changes suitable to cater to the water requirement of the country’s rising population.
This is where AI comes into play. Artificial Intelligence has the potential to help purify, distribute and manage the existing water resources in a more efficient manner.
Having said that, it is also important to point out that one of the biggest issues that India faces in water distribution and storage is that of water leakage. In Asia alone, 29 billion cubic meters of water is wasted to leakage which is enough water for 150 million people. In fact, just a drop of water leakage is equal to 11,000 liters of water wasted every year. Hence, it becomes absolutely vital to work on water conservation.
Against such a backdrop, let’s take a look at how artificial intelligence can play an important role:
Tackling Water Leakage: Since a large amount of water is lost to leaks, artificial intelligence offers a system to detect these leaks. It further helps in conserving water and preventing damage in buildings. For instance, from a single house unit to the whole city, it is hard to detect a leak from taps and toilets to pipes and water towers. Now, AI-based solutions deploy sophisticated methods to identify normal water usage patterns and using technology, the recorded data is used to detect anomalies. At any point if the leak is detected, it will immediately send a notification with the exact location of the leak, allowing the quick fix. Well, it would help save both time and water.
Water Quality Management: Apart from the leaks and water wastage, another water issue widely prevailing is the quality of water. As per the World Health Organization, there are more than 2 billion people who are affected by contaminated water. But with artificial intelligence, the water quality issues like this can be addressed as well.
AI helps in detecting sources of contamination in the pipeline or via leaks. Whenever there is a variance in quality, the technology deployed can help send alerts and call for an immediate fix. For a long time, we have relied on chemical-based water sensors like chemical test strips. But with AI, there can be an immediate detection of contamination using sensors. Such systems can be installed across the cities to ensure water quality management.
Smarter Water Distribution: With the data available on usage of water from different areas, water supply systems can become more efficient and make much more informed decisions with regard to water distribution. The technology can help reroute water flow automatically, for example, by understanding the usage patterns. The sensors and customers provide that essential data and the algorithm analyses and classifies it accordingly. This way the water distribution in the cities and urban areas can be more systematic and will result in saving water, especially by eliminating water theft in certain areas.
Transparent Communication: Another way that water distribution and management is revolutionising using AI is through transparency in communication. Now, in place of calling the water supply board and waiting for them to take the call, an integrated AI-based system immediately informs about any leaks or delays in water supply to the customers. Thus, AI is helping in keeping people informed in different locations about the water supply in their areas. On the other hand, it also helps in holding the authorities accountable in case of delays in fixing the leaks.
More Savings: All in all, deploying cutting-edge systems in place will save both water and money. Hence, the players in the water tech space, government as well as local authorities together can invest in better engineering and water purification systems.
In conclusion, in a country like India where several regions suffer from water shortage, artificial intelligence in the water industry is anything but a boon.