Climate change and infrastructure deficiencies in water networks are causing a growing and alarming water scarcity worldwide. In Italy alone, water losses due to infrastructure issues reach significant levels, estimated at 156 liters per day per inhabitant: an amount sufficient to cover the water needs of about 44 million people annually. This means that actual water consumption is double what is truly necessary, precisely due to such leaks.
Currently, over two billion people live in water-stressed areas, and 45% of the world's population, around 3.4 billion people, lacks access to safe sanitation facilities. Independent estimates indicate that by 2030, the world will face a global water shortage of 40%, further complicated by challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change.
Water is vital for life and the prosperity of communities, but water infrastructure often faces challenges and problems that compromise its supply, both in terms of quantity and quality and hygiene. In this scenario, the Internet of Things (IoT) is emerging as a transformative force, presenting innovative solutions for the monitoring, management, and optimization of water resources.
Water networks often span vast geographic areas, making it challenging to promptly identify any infrastructure problems. IoT enables the implementation of smart sensors along water pipelines capable of detecting anomalies such as leaks, corrosion, or structural failures. Real-time data allows operators to intervene promptly, minimizing downtime and ensuring continuity in water supply. Traditional network surveillance meter by meter is costly, and traditional forecasting is no longer sufficient.
New technologies allow for real-time analysis of data from sensors and vibraphones installed along water networks, capable of capturing any variations in predominant frequencies and indicating the presence of breaks.
The qualitative aspect of water is also a crucial concern. IoT offers advanced tools for constant monitoring of key parameters, such as the presence of contaminants or water temperature. In case of deviations from acceptable levels, IoT systems can send immediate alerts, allowing operators to take timely corrective measures. This level of monitoring ensures that the water reaching homes is always safe and compliant with quality standards.
Efficient water resource management is essential to address challenges related to growing demand and climate variations. Thanks to IoT, it is possible to implement intelligent management systems that optimize water use. Flow sensors and remote control devices allow for identifying and resolving waste, adjusting distribution based on actual demand, and predicting consumption peaks.
New technologies represent a significant breakthrough in the water sector, enabling a more intelligent, efficient, and sustainable global water management: an indispensable ally to collectively overcome one of the most critical challenges of our time.