I spoke the Global Green Growth Forum on the subject of Smart City Water Supply – smart energy efficient water supply through use of data. My fellow panelists from IBM, C40 cities and Jakarta Water Utility put on a interesting debate moderated by Nille Juul-Sørensen from the Danish Design Center.


Here is my speak in bulletform:

Opening remarks

  • When we search the universie for life, we search for water, because it is only from liquid water all know forms of life exists. Earth is the only planet know to harbor life, the only planet know to flow with water” (source: Blue Gold: World Water Wars documentary (3,30min)
  • Water by the very fact that is shows up in so many different sectors of the economy, it’s actual importance is sometimes diluted out. (Upmanu Lall)
  • As a sector, water is very diverse and not very well understood in term of the actions people need to take. Biggest problem is the lack of transparency, lack of data and lack of analysis as to what the issues are. (Upmanu Lall).

1) Be relentlessly ambitious about driving change through INNOVATION in all dimensions

  • Driving innovation across all dimensions is key to accelerate value of  water supply products and services to those who need it the most:  Product design, Cost structures, Materials and resources selection, delivery experience and supply chain.
  • To gain the efficiencies you need seamless integration of components to provide holistic solutions that is designed with consideration of it’s surrounding environment.
  • CASE: Grundfos has integrated vertically in its product design starting with the pump, then integrating motors to securing higher overall efficiency and easier installation and lower maintenance cost. Another step forward in a holistic approach to secure optimized and effective operation was achieved when controls and monitoring was added. Today Grundfos is a strong believer in providing or partnering with advanced software and applications, to ensure connectivity and enable smart cities to optimise their water supply.
  • The good news: ”The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed” (William Ford Gibson).
  • Technology is mature, it’s time to begin scaling the successful pilots and accelerate technology adoption.

2) CASE for reducing non revenue water (NRW) with intelligent systems and optimized pressure management

  • Non revenue water and Water Losses equal 45 million cubic meters (of drinking water) are lost daily through water leakage in the distribution networks – enough to serve nearly 200 million people (World Bank 2006). Leakage losses up to 50 percent in emerging markets.
  • The number risk to municipal water supply in the C40 cities is water stress and scarcity (Source: C40 summary report 2013
  • Energy Consumption “Out of all energy produced globally, estimated 8% is used to lift groundwater and pump it through pipes, and to treat both groundwater and wastewater”. (Hoffman, 2011). A figure that rises to around 40 percent in developed countries” (WEF, 2011).
  • Constant pressure increases burst frequency up to 300% demand driven pressure control (Welsh Water)FINISH: The cost of action is lower than inaction
  • Several solutions exists today due to recent technology developments that can help address the water leakage challenges such as: Pipeline management (Change pipes, Reline pipes, repair practices), Active leakage control (acoustic, ultra sonic, mobile systems) and Pressure management.
  • Payback times are generally short on most of these solutions, with the exception of changing and repairing pipes.
  • Grundfos has invested into solutions with short payback times within pressure management, we call this Demand Driven Distribution, which consists of the following components: 1) Intelligent pump system at the source 2) Sensors transmitting data on pressure from “critical points” in the water distribution pipes and 3) Software algorithms optimising and adapting to the pressure needed depending on time of day.
  • It is critical that NRW levels are monitored at least annually so that the city has a historical baseline to compare against when new technologies are implemented. You can’t manage, what you can’t measure.

3) Call for ACTION

In the battle against water stress using technologies and methods of water leakage, I recommend the following steps:

Policy makers:

  • Set maximum targets for water leakage specified down to city levels.
  • Orchestrate mandatory benchmarking with third party measurements practices on annual basis (common standards already developed by European Commission and deployed nationally by local authorities ie DANVA in Denmark)

Water utilities

  • Conduct NRW assessments to evaluate potential savings on water and energy.
  • Create awareness of methods to manage city water resources in a sustainable via smart metering.


  • Bundle the different parts of the solution to accelerate ease of deployment (ie pumps, sensors, contracting, service and financing with optional performance contracting).
  • Create focused coalitions on specific and shared challenges across value chain to create transparency.

Research (ie IGRAC)

  • Continue to improve quality of data and intelligence on water. Data needs to be actionable which requires a high level og granularity, research collaboration and open access.


  • Push for sustainable water practices from public sector.

Concluding remarks

  • I am excited to participate in this gathering of thought leaders with actionable influence.
  • This group of likeminded individuals with a common purpose coming together, creates a strong sense of urgency and coordinated action across the value chain.
  • The common understanding of key challenges within water leakage has been demonstrated by yesterdays commitment and signature of the water leakage learning network by selected water utilities, financial entities, governmental representatives and private sector representatives such as Grundfos.
  • Enough talk, let’s go do it!