Digital Water White Papers Series

IWA is actively engaging across the international water sector to support adoption of a smarter approach to water management, highlighting the advantages of digitalisation. Tapping into the expertise of our global members, the IWA can function as a catalyst for water and wastewater utilities during their journey towards the uptake of digital technologies.

To support this journey, the IWA Digital Water Programme has initiated a series of White Papers to help utilities, water professionals and all those interested in water management and stewardship issues to better understand the opportunities of digital technologies.

Digital Water Book 2022

This book is a collection of papers published under the IWA Digital Water Programme’s White Paper series. At the time of writing, we have published nine such papers, authored by our diverse and expert members. The book gives insight into some of the best practices found in digitalisation, combining academic research and industrial applications, and presenting case studies of successful implementation. We want this book to be a guide to utilities, water managers, water stewards, and everyone interested in the digital transformation journey.

The IWA Digital Water Programme is underpinned by the work and experiences of utilities, technology and software companies, regulators, and researchers involved in the digital transformation of the water sector. IWA continues to maintain a space where practitioners, both accustomed and new to digitalisation, can share with, learn from, and inspire each other and the wider water sector. Hence, this publication fits directly into the Programme’s and IWA’s strategy and objectives.

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Industry leaders chart the transformation journey

This paper examines how digitalisation is transforming the water sector through the experiences of water and wastewater utilities. The aim of this report is to provide an overview of the current state of digital in the water sector, the value potential for digital solutions, and the lessons learned from those on the digital journey. By creating a comprehensive body of knowledge from 40 utilities at various stages in their digital water journey, the paper can serve as a critical tool for water decision makers and for all those interested in advancing global water security and sustainability. This report is produced in collaboration between the International Water Association and Xylem Inc.

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Artificial Intelligence Solutions for the Water Sector

This white paper focuses on presenting Artificial Intelligence (AI) based solutions for the water sector. The aim is to introduce readers to tangible solutions (rather than technologies) that were developed to address specific challenges in real-life water systems. We hope that by using applied examples, the topic of AI and its applications in the water industry will be made clearer to a wider group of interested readers. The examples shown here were selected to demonstrate that AI-based solutions can address real challenges and provide tangible benefits to the water sector.

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The importance of knowing what we do not know

This white paper aims to raise awareness of the many sources of uncertainty in digital decision making and describes how digital water approaches and tools can help us to stay in control and make decisions with (at least some) confidence.

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Improving Public Health Through Smart Sanitation and Digital Water 

The paper highlights the leadership of International Water Association from its digital water programme, and the Toilet Board Coalition (TBC)  from its smart sanitation economy work, as well as reflections from a variety of innovative businesses around the world who are addressing water and sanitation in a new way. The aim is to provide insights on innovation opportunities around essential services and public health, accelerating the adoption of digital technologies, and reinforcing the value of remote monitoring.

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The role of Instrumentation in Digital Transformation

The aim of this white paper is to highlight the crucial role that the right instrumentation has in improving situational awareness and in facilitating informed decision making. The examples shown here were selected to demonstrate simple and more complex uses of instrumentation and how this can be used to realise immediate benefits for the water sector.

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Operational digital twins in the urban water sector: case studies

The aim of this white paper is to highlight how digital twins can help the water industry to improve performance of its infrastructure. The white paper presents two case studies where online digital twins are used for operational decision support: one in a sewer network and the other in a water resource recovery facility.

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The value of meta-data for water resource recovery facilities

This white paper focuses on the crucial role that meta-data has in responding to future and possibly unpredictable challenges. The aim of this document is to present the ‘meta-data challenge’ and to highlight the need to consider meta-data when collecting information as part of good digitalisation practices.

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An overview of the future of digital water from a YWP perspective

This white paper contains a snapshot of the current situation on digitalisation of the water sector as well as a vision for this transformation, gathered by the authors from a globally diverse cohort of Young Water Professionals (YWPs). Additionally, the document suggests a pathway to speed the digital journey, key skills that water professionals will need, and it contains infoboxes where the readers can find more information on the topics discussed.

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Dynamic resilience for wastewater treatment processes: exploiting real data for long term resilience

This white paper, describes the historical context of resilience, before moving onto the dynamic resilience of wastewater processes and WRRF. It provides real-world examples of societal and process related resilience from industrial and academic experts, who discuss the challenge of generating data under uncertainty in ageing infrastructure. It presents a case study on ‘dynamic resilience’ (the cause-effect relationship between stressors and process stress/resilience), and provides an example of ‘dynamic resilience’, and how actual water company instrument data could be used to evaluate ‘stressors’ and ‘process stresses’ independently.

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The IWA white paper timeline

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