Conclusions second water monograph

Universalising sanitation

It is paradoxical that, on a planet with three quarters of its surface area made up of water, more than 2 billion people currently lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, according to a United Nations (UN) uniform on Water Resources Development.

Access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a human right. Technological progress and the advent of digitalisation in the management of the full water cycle provide a substantive impetus for achieving the sanitation targets set in the Sustainable Development Goals on access to adequate sanitation and hygiene.

Universalising sanitation is not an option, it is a necessity. We have a common challenge and technology within our reach and we must take advantage of it to achieve accessibility to water and sanitation, with a special focus on places such as: Latin America, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Traction of funds for water digitisation

The digital transformation of integrated water cycle management is a necessary step towards the optimisation and sustainable management of water resources worldwide. Investment in technology enables more efficient management and more informed decision-making at all levels of the water cycle, as well as by actors along the chain, from the individual user to the water supply manager.

Investing in digitisation helps to save costs and improve the long-term resilience of the water supply system. As global water demand increases and the effects of climate change become more pressing, it is crucial that the public and private sector join forces in driving water digitisation to ensure the sustainability of this vital resource.

The value of GIS systems

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are one of the most indispensable tools for water management companies. GIS systems enable more effective decision making and improve understanding of water network issues, as well as providing better visibility on water use and water resource depletion.

Geographic information systems (GIS) are invaluable tools for tackling water scarcity and climate change. A better understanding of problems related to geographical location, as well as better visibility on water use and depletion of water resources, provides an up-to-date overview of the status of the water network and allows for predictions of possible adverse climatic events.

When these GIS systems are linked with hydraulic modelling systems and advanced data analytics algorithms, the supply of solutions to the different challenges and problems of the sector will increase exponentially.

R&D&I. Seed for expanding technological solutions

R&D&I (Research, Development and Innovation) is a key factor in expanding and improving technological solutions in the water sector, as it enables the development of new technologies and methodologies to optimise water management, efficiency, sustainability and service quality.

In this sector, R&D&I can cover a wide range of areas, from the development of new water treatment technologies, the improvement of distribution and sewerage infrastructures, to data management and optimisation of water resource use.

R&D&I serves as a driver of European and national funds to incentivise and accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies in the water sector. The PNRR with the PERTE, the Next Generation funds, investment groups and other actors, move a large volume of funds that, if well managed, can represent a substantial differentiation in the digitisation of the sector.

All of this, with the ultimate aim of moving firmly towards a more sustainable and efficient management of the water cycle with global modernisation and digitalisation.

Meaningful digitisation

Taking a holistic view of the business of companies and administrations in charge of water management to make it more efficient and sustainable is the main objective of a meaningful and successful digitalisation.

The proximity and cooperation with the client to know their business model, their problems and challenges in order to improve the operation of these companies is a basic and essential point. The different existing technologies should simply be used as a lever to help improve these companies and administrations. The sense and success of digitalisation through the use of this technology is based on knowledge of the business and proximity to the user to solve the problems and needs of each company and establishing a process of collaboration with them.

If the company's business, problems or needs are not understood, it is very difficult to establish a successful digitalisation process, no matter how much technology is used. Technology that, in many cases, is incorporated without need or without a clear objective of improvement and, therefore, becomes implementations that do not provide the expected value.

It is essential to digitise in a meaningful way. This means using technology strategically and responsibly to achieve specific objectives and to improve or solve the problems and needs of companies, as they themselves know their business and the processes they want to improve.

In this respect, it is important for water companies and public administrations to identify the key areas where digitisation can offer the greatest benefits and to ensure that technology is used in a responsible and ethical manner. In short, we must digitise in a meaningful way.

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