Water is a necessity in all aspects of life, and one cannot overstate the importance of having access to a reliable and clean water supply.
In our modern age, access to clean water translates to being able to open one’s tap or faucet and expecting that potable water to flow from it, or at least safe enough for domestic use in some countries.
Imagine if one morning, while preparing to go to work or for the day’s event, nothing came out of the tap when you opened it? Or murky or smelly water flowed out instead?
According to Kenth Hvid Nielsen in his article, “Asia’s next challenge lies in securing its water future” on Malay Mail, many developing countries in Asia are facing water security challenges,
Nielsen mentions the following:
- Water issues vary depending on which area one lives in. In urban areas, water supply disruption is common due to pipe bursts and contamination issues. In rural and remote areas, inadequate water supply stems from the lack of electricity access, which prevents them from generating and distributing water. In most cases, rural communities cannot afford to construct their water infrastructure and water pipe networks.
- The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted these water problems even more as people use more water for hygiene purposes. Failure to address water supply can lead to social unrest and conflict, the article says.
- An Indonesian village struggling with water shortage for 20 years addressed the problem by installing solar panels to produce enough power to generate and distribute water to 1000 residents.
- According to the article, access to clean water significantly improved the community’s living standards, and by using solar panels, they were able to produce power with zero emissions. The project results from a joint partnership between their Indonesian Ministry of Public Works and Grundfos, a large international pump manufacturer based in Denmark.
- A similar thing happened in one remote village in Vietnam. For 40 years, the rural district lacks access to clean water due to pollution and contamination. Using solar power, they provided clean water to 3,000 households and lowered their operating costs by up 33%.
- In urban areas like Malaysia, pipe bursts cause 29% water supply loss, leaks and water thefts (from illegal connections) resulting in 35 to 50% water supply loss or what they call non-revenue water (NRW). Rising NRW has prompted its government to take steps in reducing it to 31%.
- To remedy pipe bursts and reduce pipe wear and tear, the government turned to digitalization and applied a water distribution system driven by demand. The demand-driven water distribution system – water flow and pressure are adjusted according to demand through remote sensors. Being able to adjust water flow at any time can significantly help reduce water leakages and losses.
- There is a lot of potential for the demand-driven water distribution system in preventing losses and leakage, and “revolutionize the way water is sold, distributed and consumed”. Wastewater systems can also benefit from using this technology, the article states.
Growing population, climate change, pandemic, and other calamities places severe pressures on our water systems and resources.
Governments and policymakers have a task to ensure that water access and infrastructure are resilient, sustainable, and can withstand future crises.
Use of well-established infrastructure management tools, techniques and analysis assists in the long term sustainable management of water systems and resources.
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