As I settle into my role within the water industry, I often find myself forming opinions stemming from the continuous shock of the complexity in the water process. My natural instinct is to scream from the mountain tops and start an awareness campaign of some sort alerting utility customers to all that goes into modern conveniences. On that note, check out episode 71 of our Talking Under Water Podcast where Endeavor Business Media Water Group Editor Jeremy Wolfe breaks down upcoming changes in Consumer Confidence Reports.
One of the more shocking pieces included in this issue is Waterfall Security’s report by Andrew Ginter. There are two examples of how smart technologies have been hacked within the U.S. included in this piece, both of which almost resulted in accidents with serious consequences. There are many other examples not included in this issue. It brings an important question to mind: as water professionals adjust to the changing industry, how do they balance what smart water offers against its liabilities? As new technology is released to water utilities, the importance of cybersecurity protocols increases exponentially.
Let’s talk about the cover story, Vessel, the leak detection dog. In the face of such serious topics, I thought this inspirational story would give the issue some levity. As the owner of a rescue dog myself (the cutest little 14-pound Dachshund Papillon), this story demonstrates that potential can be found anywhere, and in the face of adversity, a calling can come to light. Hey, she was a cast off, and now she’s got a van with her official public relations headshot on it.
Across the pond, technology is shifting to predicting the likelihood of leakage happening in the first place. At least, that is what the Innovation and Flow Technology Flow Programme is investigating. It aims to create a leak prediction tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to address leakage on a global scale, along with an ominous introduction to the state of reliable water resources.
Meanwhile, in California, another approach to water shortages is desalination. California currently has the most seawater desalination facilities, followed by Texas. Despite this, only two are sizeable operations. Erik Desormeaux poses the question: is seawater desalination right for California? There is a lot of opposition to the practice, but successes in Spain and Israel could provide a framework for success stateside. This piece makes me think about what happens when we, here in the southwest, do run out of water.
That circles back to the notion that every drop counts. Non-revenue water, smart water, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning and all these new data tools are interlinked. I recall seeing television commercials urging me to run my dishwasher every day, so I use more dishwasher detergent, because, they say, it is more water efficient than doing dishes by hand. But is it? I feel more confused about water than ever, and I look forward to this continually evolving conversation. This is the song that never ends. WW