Water Scarcity: From Data to Action, Ensuring Water Resources in Urban Areas with IoT and AI

The effects of climate change are amplifying the irregularity of weather patterns, triggering extreme events such as droughts and heatwaves. Faced with this urgent reality, technological solutions offer increasing hope in the battle for water conservation in urban environments. From anticipation to action, cutting-edge technologies, IoT, and AI redefine how we confront water crises

Times are increasingly changing. Atmospheric behaviors have become unpredictable, unsuspected. Climatic events such as the warming and cooling of the Pacific Ocean, known as the El Niño and La Niña phenomena, respectively, added to the gradual deterioration of the ozone layer, mean that our climates are subject to prolonged summers or times of excessive rain. Each one brings its consequences. In recent months, locally, we have gone through an extensive summer season that, in its most recent effect, has led to the advancement of scheduled water rationing, due to the low levels that the sources that feed the main cities have reached.

Preventing high levels of drought in large cities due to these unforeseen seasons of excessive heat requires a multifaceted approach that currently relies on cutting-edge digital technology tools, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), capable of providing predictive values in favor of solutions that alleviate this problem.

The first objective of this cause is to ensure that water is used efficiently. Only in this way will the risks of a drought be minimized. This means maintaining adequate soil moisture levels, without generating waste, for which intelligent irrigation systems can be implemented. That is, green spaces, both urban and agricultural, can now be enabled with IoT sensors that, in real-time, provide data that, analyzed by AI algorithms, optimize irrigation programs.

Transforming cities into sustainable oases

The use of these sensors can also allow monitoring of water flow and manage greater effectiveness in distribution networks, monitoring their use and detecting leaks. In these management systems, AI and its algorithms can predict demand patterns, adjust distribution, to avoid waste and subsequently guarantee, in a period of drought, a sufficient supply of water.

But it is equally important to develop and implement climate prediction models, similarly driven by Artificial Intelligence. With this, historical analyzes can be made of data on meteorological behavior, as well as satellite images, which, added to other relevant factors, allow periods of excessive heat to be more accurately forecasted. This information will be vital so that those who formulate environmental public policies and urban planners can take proactive measures to mitigate the impacts of the drought before it occurs.

Establishing specific interventions, such as additional irrigation or shading provisions, is fundamental to maintain the resilience of ecosystems in the face of extreme heat. In cities, for example, to preserve healthy urban green infrastructure, such as trees, meadows, and vegetation in general, IoT sensors can also be used. These will generate data that, with AI algorithms, will then identify areas at risk of drought stress.

This type of technology can also be applied in residential and commercial buildings, with IoT-enabled smart meters that monitor water use in real-time. The AI algorithms, in turn, will encourage more sustainable water use practices during periods of drought by identifying opportunities for water conservation and providing personalized recommendations to consumers. Integrating these digital technologies into urban water management strategies will allow cities to improve their resilience to drought and minimize the impact on water resources in the face of these unforeseen seasons of excessive heat.

More than technology, commitment to sustainable development

But these eventualities cannot remain within the possibilities offered by cutting-edge technologies. Interaction with residents and consumers is necessary to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation before and during periods of drought. In this community participation, it is possible to generate communication platforms powered by Artificial Intelligence that provide informative and real-time updates on the availability of water. It will be accompanied by advice to reduce consumption and incentives to participate in conservation efforts, which encourage collective action with a high sense of responsibility.

For the Colombian multinational AZLOGICA®, with more than 15 years of experience and presence in ten countries in Europe and America, its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the UN in 2015 has led it to develop solutions that are adaptable to these eventualities associated with water. Among these objectives are those that seek to guarantee more sustainable consumption, production, and supply modalities, reducing levels and changing consumption habits. That of conserving, protecting, and restoring terrestrial ecosystems, and that of promoting an improvement in the efficient use of water as a key measure to reduce water stress.

The recent alliance with Nokia Corporation in the implementation of a system to manage and optimize the water cycle in the industrial city Guanajuato Puerto Interior (GPI) in Mexico, called GPI 4.0 Water Management Project, is an example of how AZLOGICA® contributes to the optimization of water services, based on analytics, early warnings, and intelligent reports.

With other success stories in the history of AZLOGICA®, the company has EcoDrive®, one of its comprehensive solutions that, in essence, is its technological tool to address these types of energy efficiency and sustainability concerns. Its characteristics, which include adaptability – in its possibility of integrating with existing systems -, online monitoring capabilities, transparency and integration of various disruptive technologies such as IoT, AI, Blockchain, 5G, and cloud computing, guarantee management and efficiency in consumption.

Among its key features are scalability, flexibility, co-creation opportunities, emphasis on user experience, return on investment (ROI), support for the Sustainable Development Goals, and security in data management. This work at the data level allows a permanent record of usage habits, emissions, waste, and other variables. Ecodrive® promotes environmental improvements and, in its data collection and processing, establishes effective communication through reports.

In general, this digital technological solution from AZLOGICA®, thanks to data and operation management, allows optimization of water services, based on analytics, early warnings, and intelligent reports. Its holistic approach addresses the challenges of water efficiency and sustainability, providing a unique possibility for decision-making and action.

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