Most of us take water for granted. Fresh drinking water pouring straight from our taps every day. Water everywhere, available to use for washing the car, watering your garden or taking a shower. Everywhere you go, from the doctor’s surgery to the café, they’ll be water.

But there are two problems with this. Number 1; This is a wasteful way to provide water, and number 2: Not everywhere, even in the UK, has this kind of infrastructure and our water infrastructure is aging. Let’s look at both points in turn.

A waste of water

The problem with centralised water treatment is that all water is treated to potable standard and then distributed through networks of pipes to homes, businesses, farms and everywhere in between. Only around 2% of this water is actually drunk. A lot runs down drains and is wasted, much more is used in manufacturing and farming – neither of which needs drinking standard water.

Aqua21 technology enables water to be treated at point-of-use, for whatever that use is. If the water hasn’t been treated, then there is less waste. It still runs into drains, yes, but at least energy, time and money has not been wasted treating it to potable standard for it to fall into that drain.

Lack of infrastructure

Water infrastructure is old, out-dated and rapidly deteriorating. In March 2017 the government announced £37 million in funding to tackle the UK’s deteriorating infrastructure, which goes to show the scale of the problem. In some isolated areas like islands, they have very simple water supplies in place. To simply say we already have a water treatment system is not adequate – there is a problem and it may not need addressing today but it will in the coming decades – and that is the very near future, because this kind of infrastructure is not easy to replace, nor quick or cheap.

What’s the solution?

This takes us back to our self-healing water network. With Aqua21 technology we can make water ‘talk’. Or, in more technical terms, we can employ smart networks to ensure real-time water analysis and targeted conditioning. These are radio networks, with sensors at the source and at the various user points — sensors that communicate with each other. The system ‘sees’ what each user needs, the contamination levels that need to be addressed, and the distance, time and cost involved. It then automatically responds.

Take, for example, a small system supplying a village, farmhouses, schools and a hospital. The system knows what each user in the supply network needs. Water of one quality for the farm, another to drink at the school, higher levels of ozone to disinfect at the hospital.

It can then ensure that each treatment point supplies the water quality its user needs, when it needs it. It’s a sort of Internet of water.