Making digital water infrastructure for Sub-Saharan Africa

Smart WaterSmart water management is set to reduce the water crisis in the region. (Image source: Adobe Stock)Siemens AG is helping to make a fully automated water management system in Sub-Saharan Africa, a move that is set to have an effect in the water demands of the people in the region

Afrca’s water industry has been focused on ushering in a new era of water management, with an emphasis on automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more sophisticated data management and analysis software that enable the water end user or plant operator to have valuable, actionable information.

This proactive focus is driving digital transformation for both utilities and industrial plants, and enables them to not only detect and react to an issue when it occurs but also predict and prevent issues from occurring.

“In 2016, Siemens and Bentley Systems, a global leader in software solutions for advancing infrastructure, initiated a strategic alliance agreement to drive new business by accelerating digitalization. Bentley’s advanced knowledge in the field of water infrastructure means that customers are able to simulate processes in water plants allowing for predictive maintenance, resource optimisation and energy data management,” the company said.

Another way in which Siemens aims to catalyse creativity in the digital economy is through a recently hosted 48 hour hackathon, which brought together Siemens engineers alongside IoT and digital industry experts from IBM, IoT.Nxt, Atos and Wits University to work on ideas that will have the potential to disrupt the IIoT environment in Africa.

The winning team presented a decentralised intelligent water management system. The fully automated water accounting and leak detection system is made up of intelligently linked instrumentation from Siemens, flow meters and pressure transmitters linked to a GPRS 3G module that sends signals back to an in-house cloud based system. Through a mobile app, water technicians and engineers on the field will have real-time monitoring access to the flow of water in any water infrastructure network on a device. The winning team will travel to Siemens HQ to further develop their idea and receive seed capital towards making their idea commercially viable.

Climate change and global water shortages are a collective concern. In the latest World Economic Forum Global Risks Report, water crises ranks 20th as one of the risks respondents are most concerned about for doing business in their country in the next 10 years.

“To overcome this risk we will need to deploy major innovations. Imagine using 3D virtual technology to see a realistic representation of an existing water plant and overlaying how automation, drives, pumps, instrumentation and electrical components can best be implemented to ensure positive outcomes,” said Siemens.

Effective and smart water management will enable governments and utilities to provide a safe and reliable resource to its people. Improved water stewardship pays high economic dividends and technology can help to make this happen. It seems like a smart start and a step in the right direction to find sustainable solutions that work for Africa.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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