Water pumps are responsible for heating and cooling buildings, treating and distributing water, and generating power, which are often overlooked in conversations around smart or sustainable cities.
The network of water supply pipelines is one of the critical infrastructure needs for any city. Taking water to every corner of the city is one of the important roles of any municipal authority. Unfortunately, the cities are losing up to 60% of pumped water due to poorly managed water networks. A total of 80% of all wastewater returns to nature without being properly treated. This has further led to modern challenges in the form of huge capital requirements, providing adequate inter-state transmission system (ISTS), distribution infrastructure, and developing suitable land resources. But if we begin to use the same water multiple times, with appropriate treatment processes and the implementation of intelligent water solutions, we can transform and evolve at a faster pace where resources can be managed efficiently.
Water and Energy are Correlated Recourses
Water and energy are fundamental components of all human needs and they are co-related. Just as producing energy consumes water, treating and distributing water also requires energy. Water is used in all phases of energy production and electricity generation for various purposes at different stages. Energy is required to extract, convey, and deliver water for diverse human uses, and then again to treat wastewater prior to their return to the environment. Several current trends are further increasing the urgency to address the water-energy nexus in an integrated and proactive way. First, climate change has already begun to affect precipitation and temperature patterns across the world. Second, the world’s population is rapidly increasing and so is urbanization which creates differentiated and heavy loads at different usage points. Third, the introduction of new technologies in the energy and water domains could shift water and energy demands. Finally, developments in policies addressing water rights and water impacts of energy production are introducing additional incentives and challenges for decision-making.
An integral part of Pumps in Water-Energy nexus
Water pumps are responsible for heating and cooling buildings, treating and distributing water, and generating power, which is often overlooked in conversations around smart or sustainable cities. Intelligent water solutions can help reduce losses. Governments, development agencies, and the private sectors are exploring and implementing solutions to improve access to, and sustainability of water. While other renewable energy options are being adopted, the private sector is showing a keen interest in developing efficient solar pumping solutions.
About 10% of the world’s electricity is consumed by pumps for various applications. It is vital to save energy with intelligent and smart water solutions and bring down the consumption of electricity to 5%. The agricultural sector alone consumes approximately 80 percent of the total supply. The decentralized solar water networks could be the answer to both water and energy issues in rural communities.
Pumps running on Renewable-energy
As the world envisions moving towards a greener economy, it is critical that we all start working towards a sustainable plan that would jumpstart the future. To address the growing energy needs and reduce carbon emissions, the Indian government has reimagined the national energy supply and demand management with a higher focus on solar. This was evident in the recent Union budget; several incentives and schemes were introduced for farmers. The government has set a goal to reduce its current dependency on fossil fuels by 40%, which highlights the commitments made to solar energy as a source for the long term.
With a rejuvenated outlook on renewable energy from the government and private stakeholders in terms of investment and initiatives, the solar pump industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 27% during the period 2018-2024. Technological innovation and product democratization will determine the future of this industry. The Solar pump schemes via the flagship Government program PM KUSUM in the Agri sector and the Jal Jeevan mission for the piped water supply in rural communities are bound to drive the demand for solar pumps over the next four years.
Considering India’s tropical nature, solar pumps can be employed to provide a reliable water supply for irrigation, drinking water and ancillary activities in such remote locations. Dependence on grid-based electricity consumption can be brought down with the intervention of solar pumps, inadvertently leading to a sustainable option for the farmers and rural communities across the country. This shift ensures in an increase in sustainability while improving cost and operational efficiency. Technology driven solar solutions ensure that farmers can operate these pumps without frequent downtime or maintenance requirements. With the right backup systems the farmer can use the energy for other purposes like lighting, cold storage etc., when the field doesn’t require water and hence the pumps need not run.
Digital transformation to drive the smart pump industry
Innovative technologies have been making positive strides in the water industry – augmenting the existing water infrastructure as well as contributing to improving water accessibility and recycling while simultaneously reducing consumption and wastage.
Increasing urbanization is contributing to significant amounts in terms of energy consumed — the global cooling demand alone has doubled in less than 20 years. This growth in energy consumption is a major driver of climate change. There are plenty of intelligent solutions available; with more energy-efficient pump solutions, we can reduce CO2 emissions while optimizing the energy consumption of the pumps used in the process of cooling in the buildings.
By deploying smart pumps, it becomes easier to understand the specific water requirement and thus save this critical resource water. In the agricultural sector, an IoT-enabled pump can give farmers full control to operate the entire system from their mobile phones – set the quantity of water to be pumped and the time of watering their field and also get a real-time report of the critical health parameters of the pump system.
For example, KSB Pumps with intelligent and smart technology have acted as a change agent. The solution enables real-time monitoring, remote control, system optimization, fault prediction, and preventive maintenance to achieve the highest level of performance and savings both in cost and energy. These smart pumps automate, understand the specific water requirement, optimize the entire system and thus save this critical resource.
Creating a circular economy
In order to utilize water efficiently, there needs to be a shift from a linear ‘use and dispose of’ approach to a circular ‘use, treat and reuse’ approach. Water can be reused several times before it reaches its destination. For example, water used in showers and kitchens can be reused to water plants or wash cars thereby reducing freshwater usage.
Adoption of intelligent water solutions is leading us to use water efficiently, with a greater focus to avoid overusing water and energy.