Digital Transformation
for an agile environment
November 6–8, 2019 | New Delhi

Digitalization of Water: Move towards Next Generation

From big data solutions to advanced management of the distribution network to digital customer engagement programs, nearly all utilities we talked to have begun the digital transformation journey. While the transformation is not always easy, with aging infrastructure, inadequate investment, changing climate and demographics, digital water is now seen not as an ‘option’ but as an ‘imperative.’ The major elements of water services to be addressed in national and global context, are – resource sustainability, infrastructure management, and financial stability.

A more sustainable and secure water future means moving to the next generation of water systems, which includes embracing digital solutions and the enabling conditions that can support their effective implementation.

How will digital technologies transform our relationship with water – not just the water and wastewater utility sector but how all stakeholders connect to and manage water?

ICT in water sector

Why Digital Water?

The great water challenges of our time, namely climate change, population growth and increasing urbanization, and ageing and overly stressed infrastructure, inflict significant pressure on water networks. The water industry, and in particular water utilities, needs to adapt to meet the emerging demands of a dynamic, highly deregulated and competitive environment within the context of a changing climate. In such an environment, water utilities need to continue to deliver essential services including safe and secure drinking water, storm-water management and wastewater management.

Addressing these on-going and growing challenges requires a transformation to optimize its processes and operational efficiency. In fact, these challenges and their increasing complexity necessitate a paradigm shift to the next generation of water systems beyond traditional water and sewerage infrastructure. The development of new systems is against the background of cyber-physical systems, digitalization and big data where software, sensors, processors, communication and control technologies are increasingly integrated, to enable informed decisions in an increasingly changing, complex and uncertain world.

A paradigm shift for the water industry

The paradigm shift for the water industry is to move towards:

  • offering new services ranging from resource recovery to newer digital approaches as a consequence of integrating organizational siloes to offer a dynamic and sustainable real-time decision-making
  • considering a systems approach which recognizes the interconnectedness of water across sectors and how decision-making can improve benefit sharing
  • decentralisation or distributed systems to maximize resource recovery, deal with rapid growing cities, and dampen the propagation of failures.

To support these shifts in how water services are operated, water utilities will be expected to invest in appropriate measures, which include the digitalization of the way water is managed, distributed and regulated.

Technologies driven in Water Industry
A growing number of asset management systems include:

• Artificial intelligence (AI) applications to manage infrastructure assets.
• Virtual and augmented reality (AR) technologies can provide utility workforces with apps and dashboards to provide more efficient asset management repair and replacement.

Utilities also can better understand resource availability through:

• Satellite imagery,
• Big data and analytics

IWA Digital Water Programme

The Digital Water Programme of IWA (International Water Association) aims to act as a catalyst for innovation, knowledge and best practices around digitalization for the water industry, provide a platform to share experiences and promote leadership in transitioning to digital water solutions, and consolidate lessons to guide the natural evolution from the ‘business as usual’ to achieving a digital water utility.

The Programme is driven by end users (e.g. utilities, regulators) as well as solution providers (e.g. technology companies, software companies, researchers, academia) at the forefront of emerging technologies to solve urgent and costly operational problems to deliver water services.

Discussion points

Section 1: What are the building blocks of digital water including the data, technologies, and practices that drive value across the water and wastewater utility value chain?
Section 2: Impact of Digital Technology on the Economics of Water and Wastewater.
Section 3: Digital Water Journey – Implementable challenges

Session Overview

New digital technologies are enabling water utilities and industries across the world to extract greater information and efficiencies from legacy water infrastructure to enhance decision-making, promote water conservation, build twenty-first century water infrastructure, and—perhaps most importantly—increase the value and benefits of the global water infrastructure network. In emerging and developed economies, digital technologies have the potential to not only improve centralized water infrastructure management and repair but also the adoption of distributed, decentralized, and off-grid water treatment technologies, improved water use in agriculture, and overall surface and groundwater management. The ability of digital technologies to improve the efficiency of water use and increase the availability of water can lead to unprecedented economic development, business growth, and social well-being for a range of stakeholders. Water management is a critical issue nearly everywhere, and the digitalization of water promises to deliver real, lasting solutions to solve one of the world’s most pressing resource and infrastructure challenges while maximizing water quality and availability to consumers, businesses, and industries.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), in collaboration with International Water Association (IWA) is organizing a thematic sessions on "Digitalization of Water" as part of the 6th edition of its flagship International Conference on Digital Landscape (ICDL). The discussions will specifically focus on the importance and relevance of Digitalization of Water in India with special reference to following discussions:

Panel 1: Digitalization for Water-Wise Cities.
Panel 2: Digital Water from Catchment to Consumer


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10:00-10:40 AM Inaugural Session
10.00-10.05 AM Welcome Address
Dr S K Sarkar, Senior Director, TERI
10.05-10.15 AM Keynote Address
Sh. Parameswaran Iyer* Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Government of India
10.15-10.23 AM Inaugural Address
Sh. G Asok Kumar*, Mission Director, National Water Mission, Government of India
10.23-10.30 AM Setting the Theme
Dr. S Mohan Chair of IWA India
10.30–10:37 AM Special Address
Mr. Varghese Babu, Director of IT & Digital Transformation, IWA
10.37-10.40 AM Vote of Thanks

Panel Discussion I: Digitalization for Water-Wise Cities

10.40–11.50 am Chair: Prof. S. Mohan, Chair, International Water Association India
Co-Chair: Mr Anshuman, Associate Director, Water Resources Division, TERI

Dr. A K Gosain, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Delhi
Mr. Sriman Narayana, Head, Instrumentation & Control, Suez India Mr. G S Saxena Vice President, Engineering, VA Tech WABAG
Mr. Avinash Kumar*, Vice President, Smart Energy Water Mr. Rakesh Pandey* Director- Technology, GenX Info Technologies Pvt Ltd
Questions to the Panelists
Open Discussion
11.50 AM–12.00 PM Tea Break

Panel Discussion II: Digital Water from Catchment to Consumer

12:00-1:15 PM Chair: Dr S K Sarkar, Senior Director, TERI
Co-chair: Dr. B. Sakthivel, CEO, GeoKno

Mr. Venkatesh Ramachandran, Director, India Technology Centre, Xylem
Dr. Markus Lade, Global Head, Engineering, Siemens AG Mr. Sandeep Mahajan Head, GIS &IoT, Suez India
Mr. J Venkatesh, Head, Water Management, Larsen & Toubro Limited
Mr. Ajith Radhakrishnan, Senior Specialist, World Bank Group, Country Lead, 2030 Water Resources Group
Questions to the Panelists
Open Discussion
(*): To be confirmed