04 Apr

Smart EAM for utilities and energy: making water infrastructure intelligent in Africa

When we discuss Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solutions for energy and utility companies, we usually think of cost-effective technologies to manage power, gas and water distribution networks. They enable remote meter reading and sub-metering, and grant superior and real-time visibility over distribution infrastructures, with a stricter control of possible supply failures, leakages or tampering. But EAM could have much more benefits, even on communities and people quality of life.

Let’s take water and Africa. Globally, over 50% of the population lives in Cities today, about 70% will do so by 2050. If the global average urbanization rate is around 2%, in many countries Cities are developing at an accelerated pace. In Ghana and Malawi annual urbanization rate exceeds 3.5%, while countries such as Nigeria and Namibia have outstanding rates nearing 5% (source: CIA World Factbook). This is of course impacting water demand. According to the UN’s Water for Life Report, it is estimated that approximately 300 of the 800 million inhabitants in Sub-Saharan Africa live in a water-scarce environment.

As we all know, water is vital to human existence, fundamental for proper sanitation and any economic activity. When this resource is in such short supply, managing and producing it effectively is essential – and EAM could play a valuable role in supporting wise water management.

Thanks to the Internet of Things, advanced data management and analysis software, it is nowadays possible for water operators to have an effective control on production assets, not only detecting and reacting to issues when they occur, but also predicting and preventing them.

In South Africa, local municipalities are losing up to 36% of bulk water due to pipe leaks and theft (source: Huffpost). Smart EAM technologies and digital management systems can provide a comprehensive and accurate view of existing water systems, and contribute to increase water reliability and reduce losses.

In the latest World Economic Forum Global Risks Report, decision makers were asked to select the five global risks that they were most worried about for doing business in their country within the next 10 years: water crises ranked 20th among the highest concerns.

Solutions to ensure widespread water access in Africa are urgently needed. EAM and smart water management solutions can support governments and utilities to provide this resource to people.

(Photo credit: Louis van der Walt; Alida van der Walt, CC BY 3.0)

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