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Water situation: Our colleagues report in various places across the globe.

Challenge accepted! A hand holds a glass of pure water

ifm supports worldwide efforts for responsible water management.

Conditions may vary, but the challenges and objectives remain the same: Water shortage is a global matter that society needs to address. In many locations, one of several prerequisites for providing everyone with reliable access to drinking water of the best possible quality is to build up the required supply infrastructures, or to modernize existing ones. Further, water management utilities depend on equally reliable and efficient solutions for water and wastewater treatment. In this respect you can rely on ifm as your automation partner. Any time, any place.

Do you want to know more about water supply challenges throughout the world – and how we provide relevant support in individual countries? Our colleagues report on the local situation in various places across the globe.


Click on the country to get more information:

“In future, it will be of great concern for our country to continue obtaining and conserving water as an essential resource.”

Nasr Mahmud
Managing Director UAE

No source of drinking water in the desert state  

We live in a desert state. Our only source of water is the ocean. But even after desalinization, the water is still not potable. It has to be processed further by the drinking water utility and is then made available in bottles and large barrels for water dispensers. The number of water supply companies has grown in the last ten years, and drinking water treatment capacities in our country have increased accordingly. This development has meant that demand for imported water has gone down from around 35 percent ten years ago to approximately 15 percent today. Mains water quality has improved in the UAE as well. In future, it will be of great concern for our country to obtain and conserve water as an essential resource.

Sparing use of water in industrial contexts has also gained in significance. As water is very expensive, companies are thoroughly motivated to practise sustainable usage management. In this connection, they regard Industry 4.0 as being a path towards simplifying the issue of consumption and its optimization potential in order to reduce demand for water and therefore also costs.

ifm provides support to companies in this region in the form of full-package solutions, e.g. complete AS-i installations for monitoring and controlling valves – in some cases also with in-pipe flow rate and pressure monitoring. Another important aspect is monitoring the condition of pumps, motors and filter system solutions.

Nasr Mahmud

“The government, but also industrial actors themselves are clearly driving development towards more sustainable water management.”

Rylance Sukdao
Sales Manager

Lack of rain raises questions regarding water supply

South Africa is mainly dependent on rivers and reservoirs for its water supply. Rising temperatures, less precipitation coupled with poor conditions of existing water and wastewater treatment works are causing significant reductions in the quantities of water available, and this presents a major challenge when it comes to providing a steady and reliable supply of drinking water as demand increases steadily year on year.

Water and wastewater treatment is becoming more important. The government has prioritised institutional reforms in this area to ensure future water security, investment in water resources and maintenance of existing assets.  Existing plants are being modernized in many places, and numerous new construction projects are being launched. The same applies to filter and reverse osmosis plants for improving water quality. The government, but also industrial influencers themselves are clearly driving development towards more sustainable water management. We are mainly implementing Real-time maintenance solutions with condition monitoring Vibration, IO-Link and AS-i that allow for reliable operation and timely pump maintenance. Intelligent software solutions eg Moneo are being implemented to enhance reliability and overall performance in terms of quality and plant availability. This allows management to make informed decisions based on predictive data. 

Rylance Sukdao

“ifm provides sensors for monitoring flow rates, temperatures, pressure and conductivity, with appropriate solutions for ever more efficient and sustainable use of water.”


Vincent Hubbers
Product Manager Fluid Sensors & Diagnostic Systems

Electricity generating plant as major consumer

In the Netherlands, most drinking water is obtained from dune water, i.e. water that collects in dune landscape sumps, as well as from groundwater that also originates in the form of precipitation. The water undergoes a degree of filtration as it flows through the sandy soils. Raw water is pumped into the treatment plants. This means that pump monitoring is extremely important. As an example, ifm provides solutions for monitoring pump conditions. This makes it possible to avoid expensive failures and unexpected downtimes. In addition, water transport is monitored by means of flow rate and pressure sensors.

The main users of water in the Netherlands are the electric power generating plants where it is needed for cooling purposes. This involves the use of process water that must also be monitored for quality, for instance to prevent corrosion or damage caused by contaminants. ifm also serves this industrial sector by providing sensors for monitoring flow rates, temperatures, pressure and conductivity, with appropriate solutions for ever more efficient and sustainable use of water.

Vincent Hubbers

“The increasing scarcity of water has led to improvements in the supply infrastructure. Water losses have been significantly reduced thanks to modern automation solutions.”


Rajesh Hari
Sales Manager Bangalore

Rising populations exacerbate lack of resources

India’s water supply comes mainly from rivers and groundwater. The greatest challenge consists in the lack of water, and this problem is becoming more serious as the population increases. We are approaching a zero point in many parts of India – water supplies are practically exhausted. Tap water is not potable. To make it drinkable, it has to be filtered using a domestic reverse osmosis plant.

The increasing scarcity of water has led to improvements in the supply infrastructure. Water losses have been significantly reduced thanks to modern automation solutions for supply pipes and pumping stations. ifm contributes to these efforts by providing condition monitoring solutions, for instance. In this way, defective pumps can be detected at an early stage and unplanned downtimes reduced. Also, there is a legal requirement to purify domestic and industrial wastewater to make it available for reuse.

Rajesh Hari

“The basic challenge for our country consists in coping with our droughts. This challenge will become considerably greater due to climate change.”


Jérôme Boussion
Vibration and Diagnostics Sales Engineer

Periods of drought reduce reserves of water

In Spain, most drinking water for domestic use is obtained from rivers, springs and wells. A relatively small amount of desalinated seawater is also used. According to the Spanish health ministry, 99.5 percent of our mains water is of drinking water quality. Nevertheless, many people still use bottled water. In 2019, 2.84 billion litres of bottled water were consumed. The basic challenge for our country consists in coping with our droughts. This challenge will become considerably greater due to climate change. There is already noticeably less precipitation than there was before; in some cases only one third of the quantity compared with 20-40 years ago. As a result, the reservoirs in the southern part of the country contain less than 40 percent of their capacity.

In contrast to domestic water, large quantities for industrial use are gained through the use of desalination plants. Correspondingly large is the industrial sector to which we provide support in the form of comprehensive solutions aimed at achieving optimal water quality. To this end, we cover the entire digitalization path by means of comprehensive solutions: from sensor technology and IO-Link infrastructures to the moneo IIoT software.

Jérôme Boussion

“New standards have been set in France in recent years, especially regarding water treatment.”


Benoit Anssems
Key Account / Market Manager

More than enough water, but ...

France’s water supply is secured. The requirements are met through groundwater (65 percent) and surface water (35 percent), whereby the resources considerably exceed the amount that is actually needed (5.5 billion cubic metres of drinking water). However, the summer drought affects the amount of irrigation that is possible. About 3 billion cubic metres of water are needed for this every year. Also, the low water levels of the rivers during the hotter months present challenges when it comes to cooling atomic power plants.
New standards have been set in France in recent years, especially regarding water treatment.

For instance, major safety measures have been mandated to ensure that water treatment plants cannot be flooded. Furthermore, industrial users are required to use water more efficiently and reuse wastewater in their own plants and processes. ifm helps companies to secure the efficiency of corresponding filtration plants by means of comprehensive solutions. This involves sensors for pressure, flow rates and conductivity, as well as IO-Link infrastructures that enable digital transmission of data to our moneo IIoT software. Pump condition monitoring by means of vibration analysis is another popular application in this field.

Benoit Anssems

“To stop the loss of water caused by leaks in old, not well-maintained infrastructure, there is a new monetary monitoring called Totex (Total operating expenditure) that all water companies now have to use.”

Richard Coates
Water Industry Manager

Time to stop the loss. Predicted water shortages by 2050

Water companies in the UK predicted that due to the climate change the South East will have water shortages by 2050. The approach is to build a network of pipes across the UK, so that water from areas with high rain fall (Scotland, Wales, North West) can be pumped to areas that have shortages. The other approach is to build more reservoirs, but this changes landscapes and will not be so easy to be approved.

To stop the loss of water caused by leaks in old, not well-maintained infrastructure, there is a new monetary monitoring called Totex (Total operating expenditure) that all water companies now have to use. All assets must now have a whole life expectancy of 15 years. ifm supports water companies like South West Water with condition monitoring solutions to meet the requirements.

Richard Coates

“Dry periods and lower levels of groundwater have caused problems in recent years. This is reason enough to take action ourselves and reduce our own water requirements.”

Gerold Dieckmann
Senior Sales Engineer Water & Wastewater

ifm actively contributes to saving water

Most drinking water in Germany is obtained from groundwater. Nearly two thirds of the demand is met in this way. Much lower quantities are obtained by other means such as extraction from lakes and reservoirs, from bank filtration and from springs. Dry periods and lower levels of groundwater have caused problems in recent years.

This is reason enough to take action ourselves and reduce our own water requirements. The firm’s own corporate philosophy already calls for responsible use of this resource. Specifically: “Water as the most important factor for human existence has to be renewed continuously, because it gets consumed. But how thoughtlessly does man handle this most important element.” Right from the beginning, ifm’s founders took a stand against this thoughtlessness: “A basic mandate of material-handling is therefore to avoid any kind of waste.”

ifm has been monitoring water consumption on the legal basis for water treatment and discharge since as early as 1990. As part of our sustainability programme, we monitor our water requirements at all production sites and carry out water risk analyses. We work continuously to reduce our own water consumption – with success: The water consumption per produced unit decreased by 16 percent between 2013 and 2020.

Thus ifm not only provides water management companies with appropriate solutions for saving water and for efficient water treatment, but also itself assumes responsibility for the environment, for coming generations and for our planet's most important resource.

Gerold Dieckmann & Andreas Thürer

“In view of its small area, Singapore has little storage capacity for water. This makes it all the more important to ensure that water treatment is effective and reliable.”

Geraldine Pang
Key Industry Specialist – Water

Where continual innovation is essential

Singapore has no natural source of fresh water. Therefore we obtain our water from desalination plants and reuse treated water. One Singapore-based firm implements a particularly thorough kind of water treatment. It puts water that has already been treated through further processing in the form of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and UV irradiation. In view of its small area, Singapore has little storage capacity for water. This makes it all the more important to ensure that water treatment is effective and reliable.
That, in turn, ensures that the drive to innovate never lets up. The effectiveness of membranes is constantly being improved: New developments are tested in small pilot plants, and if they are successful they are scaled up accordingly.  Just as it is across the whole water sector, ifm is active in this innovative environment, providing sensors for pressure, flow rates, filling levels and condition monitoring solutions. Our solutions for predictive maintenance are attracting more and more attention as a means of dealing with the lack of qualified personnel.

Geraldine Pang

“… some cities already have to practise so-called water rotation. This means quite simply that water is only available on certain days.”

 
Olga Figueiredo
Application Engineer

Oswaldo Lopes
National Account Manager Water & Energy
 

Periods of drought draining the final reserves

The situation in Brazil is getting increasingly serious. This is because of the precipitation that occurs less and less often, and in smaller quantities. We are already having to tax our reserves to an unhealthy degree in order to meet the demand for water during this drought. On the one hand, this means that many people have begun to think differently about water and to use the resources more responsibly.  Nevertheless, some cities already have to practise so-called water rotation. This means quite simply that water is only available on certain days.

Industrial users are also reusing water and treating wastewater. With our comprehensive condition monitoring that includes vibration sensors, evaluation units and the moneo IIoT toolbox, we provide digitalization solutions for water management companies so they can maintain smooth operation of their pumps and plants. Flow meters allow for transparent registration of consumption, and they also help to localize leaks and water loss.

Olga Figueiredo & Oswaldo Lopes

“People are taught to use less water and prevent waste. If you are using more than the average, you will pay more for the water.”


Yaniv Schmidt
Managing Director Israel

A precious resource from the very beginning

There are three main sources of natural fresh water in Israel: The Sea of Galilee provides about 20 percent of water consumption, the groundwater layers on the coast and in the mountains a further 20 percent each. As more than half of the country is desert, preserving water and developing new water resources is one of the biggest challenges since the State of Israel was established. People are taught to use less water and prevent waste. If you are using more than the average, you will pay more for the water. For us it is already a very precious resource.

In order to ensure the supply of the rapidly growing population, agriculture had to be expanded and its irrigation ensured. In the past the water supply was based on rainfall and reservoirs, water was pumped from the north of the county to the dry south. Today it is based on large scale desal plants located on the coastline. Israel is an expert regarding desalination of seawater and its usage as fresh water since it has been operating seawater desalination plants for decades. Two problems one is facing constantly: On the one hand, the process is energy-intensive and therefore comparatively expensive – especially since Israel has only a small amount of fossil fuels in its home soil. On the other hand, microorganisms repeatedly clogged the membrane necessary for cleaning. This then had to be laboriously cleaned with the help of chemicals. The energy problem can increasingly be tackled by the increasingly efficient renewable energies.

Furthermore Israel is a world leader in wastewater recycling: around 87% of the country's wastewater is purified and reused. However, this purified water is not suitable for human consumption and is therefore supplied to farmers for irrigation.

ifm offers various solutions for the water industry in Israel. Vibration system on large scale pumps and motors are also in use as flow sensors for chemical dosing systems or level switches on tanks.

Yaniv Schmidt

“… the provision of safe drinking water is a key challenge, and more sophisticated and effective methods of treating water are crucial to meeting the demands of today and tomorrow.”


Youssef Attallah
NSW Branch Manager

The driest continent on earth

Australia is the driest continent inhabited by humans, with very limited freshwater sources. Despite the lack of freshwater, Australians are among the world's highest consumers of water. In most parts of Australia, surface water stored in reservoirs is the main source for municipal water supply Only a much smaller share comes from groundwater. As Australia's supply of freshwater is increasingly vulnerable to droughts, possibly as a result of climate change, there is an emphasis on water conservation and various regions have imposed restrictions on the use of water. In this context, the provision of safe drinking water is a key challenge, and more sophisticated and effective methods of treating water are crucial to meeting the demands of today and tomorrow.

Maintaining our water networks is a make-or-break issue, therefore ifm is committed to working with the companies and organisations that are tackling water scarcity issues, like municipal water authorities, local councils, desalination plants and OEMs and integrators. Nowadays we lead them also into their digital transformation journey based on IO-Link and moneo.

Youssef Attallah

“Water scarcity is forcing companies to adapt with smarter systems and real time data which improve performance and response time when problems arise.”

 
Chad Mosier
Process Automation Solutions

Josh Schaus
Product Manager
 

 

The driest continent on earth

The United States is one of the top 2 users of water per capita in the world yet we still don't see it as a valuable resource. Some of the greatest challenges we face are a failing infrastructure that is over 100 years old and drought conditions in more than 40% of the country.

9 out of 10 Americans get their drinking water from public treatment plants so it will be critical we maintain and update our infrastructure.  With new ethernet technologies and easy access to more data ifm is helping make water treatment plants smarter and help operators make better decisions.

Chad Mosier and Josh Schaus

For efficient use of water: our solutions for water management

We must all deal responsibly with the scarcest and most valuable resource of our planet. Our solutions help companies to use water as efficiently as possible along the entire cycle: from procurement and consumption measurement to treatment before recirculation.