Thursday, December 01, 2011

Israelis saving the planet, again

From BBC:
As water gushes through the labyrinthine infrastructure of the London water supply system, an ageing pipe creaks, whines noisily, and finally bursts.

Within seconds, an alert starts flashing on a remote computer in the tiny office of Takadu - an Israeli start-up in Tel Aviv.

Once picked up, the information is transmitted to Thames Water - the utility company responsible for bringing water to Londoners.

Thanks to Takadu, as well as to other measures, Thames Water managed to achieve five annual leakage reduction targets in a row.

According to the World Health Organization, about three billion people on Earth - almost one in two - live in water-scarce conditions, with demand growing drastically while supply remains constant.

And out of all the water that's being supplied to consumers, more than 45 billion litres per day globally are lost to leakage - around 20-30% in developed countries, and close to 50% in developing ones.

And utility companies as well as consumers have to pay the price - it is costing the world's water supply firms approximately $14bn (£9bn) per year, according to the World Bank.

So to keep the consumer "watered" enough, it is estimated a global total of $23tn (£15tn) will be spent on improving public infrastructure that handles water and sewage from 2005 to 2030.

That is why utility companies are turning to innovative solutions and new technologies to detect leaks early - and eliminate them as soon as possible, to reduce operational costs.

"This is where Takadu comes in - it's a 24/7 computer watchdog," says Mr Peleg.

"We operate in big metropolitan areas, picking up data from different meters of the network, such as flow, pressure and others.

"If the data shows that something is wrong - a small leak, a big burst, faulty equipment, or just a technician who left a valve open - we determine the location, the magnitude, when it started, and then send the data straight to the repair team."

Takadu is not the only company that uses smart water technology, but according to Prof Hope, this tiny start-up is one of the market leaders.

The firm was first set up with the main idea of supplying enough water to Israel - located in a region where everyone is constantly aware of water scarcity

But the internet allowed it to work with countries all over the world.

For instance, one of the partners is Yarra Valley Water in Melbourne, Australia, and the firm's general manager of infrastructure services, David Snadden, says that TaKaDu's geolocation feature has really helped the company to quickly locate leaks in the field.

Another partner is Aguas Antofagasta, a water utility company in Chile.

With Takadu's help, Aguas Antofagasta has been able to reduce its total water losses from 30% to 23% over the past five years, saving some 800 million litres of water per year.

"And also, every cubic metre we save means we have one cubic metre less to produce in our desalination plant, which is very intensive in energy," adds Mr Kutulas Peet.
Poor BDSers, having to choose between boycotting of Takadu - and saving trillions of liters of water.

(h/t Dan)