Xylem, Bluefield Research publish digital water playbook

June 16, 2023
A paper from Xylem and Bluefield Research pulls insights from 18 global water utility leaders, showing how data and digital solutions can optimize stormwater, drinking water, and wastewater management.

A new paper from water technology company Xylem and Bluefield Research finds that leading water utilities are increasingly embracing data analytics and digital technology.

Titled “Ripple Effect” and available online for free, the paper pulls insights from 18 global water utility leaders and experts that are influential in early-stage digital adoption. In the paper, these utility experts share perspectives on how “going digital” is helping them to solve big water challenges in their communities. Their shared expertise provides a blueprint to accelerate the modernization of water, wastewater, and stormwater systems worldwide.

Utilities that participated in the paper implemented digital technology to save billions of gallons of water, prevent millions of gallons of sewer overflow pollution, and save millions of dollars in energy costs.

For example, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) used data and digital solutions to give its existing infrastructure new capabilities.

“We grabbed our combined sewer overflow monitoring data, flow monitors, and real-time control facilities, and tied them together in a SCADA system. The insights were mind-blowing,” said Reese Johnson, Compliance Services Division Superintendent at MSD.

In Queensland, Australia, Unitywater used leak detection technology to reduce lost water and revenue, and used smart meters to help reduce leaks for customers.

“We learned a lot from our initial 1000-meter pilot project before launching the smart meter network as a second step,” said Daniel Lambert, Unitywater Executive Manager of Sustainable Infrastructure Solutions. “Smart water meters have been a sustainable decision, both environmentally and financially.”

Chinese utility Beijing Drainage Group (BDG) is leveraging digital technologies to optimize energy usage and cut carbon emissions. By implementing a suite of control systems for aeration, chemical dosing, and drainage, BDG has already cut annual energy use by 10% to 15%.

“Utilities are transforming the water sector and delivering big benefits for local communities — saving money, preventing leaks and overflows, and cutting emissions,” said Matthew Pine, Chief Operating Officer at Xylem. “Learning from the experiences of these pacesetters, utilities of all sizes, and at any stage of digital maturity, can accelerate their transition to more affordable and more sustainable infrastructure.”