US support for smarter water utilities

Smart water utilities


US water utility research organisation Water Environment & Reuse Foundation is supporting efforts to make practical progress in building smarter water utilities. Keith Hayward spoke with Walter Graf, who is leading its Intelligent Water Systems research challenge.

Water utilities only use 10% of the data they generate (© Billion Photos / Shutterstock)
Water utilities only use 10% of the data they generate (© Billion Photos / Shutterstock)

As a research organisation that runs projects with US water utilities, the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation gets real insight into the status of the industry. One of the insights comes from feedback its project investigators get from Chief Information Officers of some of the largest water and wastewater utilities in the country. ‘They say that only about 10% of the data they generate is really used,’ says Walter Graf, Program Director – Strategic Asset Management and Intelligent Water Systems.

One reason why 90% is not used is down to a lack of tools, especially where data is held in the various silos across a utility created by different software platforms being used for different purposes. ‘Lots of times they don’t communicate with each other, so it is extremely difficult to be able to take financial data from one piece of software and try to match it up with asset management or customer software,’ says Graf, by way of example. ‘One of these days I’m hoping there’s going to be some kind of system where all of a sudden we can get these different operating systems to start communicating with each other,’ he adds.

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  • USA, Australia, smart utilities