How technology is improving water management

Water enables life on our planet. Without it, the human race wouldn’t exist and you wouldn’t be reading this article. We must manage it sustainably to support the fight against climate change and sustain life on this beautiful planet in the long term.

Why is water management important?

Water is a precious and finite resource, just like oil, natural gas and coal. Although it may appear to be in abundance across our planet, the vast majority of Earth’s supply is salt water and not the fresh kind so critical to our entire way of living.

Just 3% of the water on our planet is fresh and the majority of that is trapped in ice caps, glaciers or underground. This leaves a fraction for humans and animals to meet our daily needs. Unfortunately, desalination of ocean water requires a lot of energy, so it’s not yet a scalable process.

Considering the scarcity of fresh water and significant demand for the commodity worldwide, conservation and proper water management practices are crucial to ensure we can sustain life for everyone and everything. This applies to individuals’ use of water and the management of water regionally, nationally and globally.

How has tech helped to improve water management?

  • Data-driven management: Digital technology has given us the ability to harness the power of real-time, precise data streams on water usage, demand, availability and quality. With greater transparency, decision-makers can predict trends and make data-driven decisions to improve our supply systems and minimise water and energy wastage. 
  • Water quality monitoring: Safeguarding public and environmental health is a significant factor in water management. Contaminated water can impact the balance of all life on Earth, so monitoring and testing systems are vital to ensure quality. Innovative monitoring practices allow us to identify and treat contamination issues before severe damage is caused. 
  • Flood and drought warnings: Too much or too little water can be detrimental to society, as we see with floods and droughts. Networks of monitoring devices, satellites and forecasting models help to enable early warning systems and emergency responses to mitigate the risks as far as possible. Pumps help to move water where it’s needed most or away from areas where it’s not. 
  • Water conservation methods: Technology has improved our methods of conserving water across a variety of applications. Irrigation for farmland is a significant draw on public water supplies, but drip systems and precision cultivation techniques help to reduce water usage. Dedicated management and modelling software can be used to limit wastage and foster more sustainable conservation methods.