Bridging The Water Innovation GapSource: American Water
For most Americans, access to clean drinking water is as effortless as turning on the tap. At a cost that is typically less than a penny per gallon, clean water is often taken for granted rather than being viewed as a critical resource. The network of pipes that makes it so easy for 300 million Americans to take our clean water for granted spans 700,000 miles and is more than four times the length of the National Highway System. Some of these pipes – originally intended to survive 50 to 75 years – have been in service for more than 100 years. Most water companies have traditionally focused on managing their assets to maintain serviceability and reduce costs rather than on service improvement through technical innovation.
Water utilities around the world are faced with enormous infrastructure challenges that will demand better strategies for delivering the expected efficiencies that have become the standard within other more progressive industry environments. And like all companies, American Water is challenged to find innovative ways to operate at the lowest possible cost for the benefit of the company and its customers.
While technological innovations will be required to comply with new treatment regulations, utilize poor quality source water, increase energy efficiency and create zero discharge utilities, the challenge is bringing innovation to the marketplace. According to Global Water Intelligence Magazine, it takes seven years for a new technology to enter the water market and there are many examples of where it took decades.