Big Data against drought

Improved efficiency in water management can help mitigate the harmful effects of increasing droughts.

big data sequia
Communication Team

Telefónica

Reading time: 3 min

Given the increasing threat of drought to more and more of the planet’s inhabitants, being able to develop a more efficient use of water will undoubtedly help to alleviate the negative consequences of this problem.

Something that, according to the UN, may just begin to manifest itself, with reduced reservoir levels or lower agricultural yields.

In fact, the report ‘Global Portrait of Drought’ warns that this problem is “an unprecedented emergency on a planetary scale, where the massive impacts of human-induced droughts are just beginning to manifest themselves”.

This same report provides numerous data to give us an idea of the magnitude of droughts, such as the fact that Europe has not suffered a drought as severe as that of 2022 for 500 years, or that 170 million people will suffer extreme droughts if the global average temperature rises 3ºC above pre-industrial levels, 50 million more than expected if warming is limited to 1.5ºC.

Technologies such as Big Data can help in the goal of achieving greater efficiency in water management.

Technology for integrated water cycle management

Technologies such as Big Data, IoT or Artificial Intelligence aimed at managing the water cycle can improve management, guarantee better recovery, treatment and use, and even raise consumer awareness by providing more information on their water consumption.

It is estimated that technologies such as Big Data can save up to 20% of water in the agricultural sector, a figure that can be doubled if the data collected is for each plantation and not by zones, since larger areas lead to greater inaccuracies.

Solutions for the digital transformation of the water cycle

As mentioned above, the advance of technologies such as the Internet of Things or Big Data serve the objective of improving this management. To this end, Telefónica has a series of solutions to optimise the digital transformation of the water cycle:

  • Supply network monitoring. Remote monitoring and control of infrastructures, regardless of geographical or organisational dispersion, is of great importance.
  • Digital twin for scenario simulation. With virtual models, details of the transmission and distribution networks are available.
  • Customer portal for centralised service. This service for the management of reading, billing and collection is used to manage any incidents that may arise.
  • Define patterns and make predictions. Metering data collected through sensors allows to know what is behind the readings and to identify novel situations. Similarly, consumption patterns can be defined or demand predictions can be made.
  • Leak detection and early warning. Detecting fraudulent use of the network or non-visible leaks also helps in more efficient management. The above-mentioned warning systems serve both to provide actual information and to predict future behaviour based on previously collected data.
  • Sewer monitoring. Monitoring sewer networks can speed up decision making for the detection of spills or blockages.
  • Water treatment plant monitoring and water quality control. Remote monitoring of wastewater treatment plants, as well as being able to detect the pollution load that may be in the water, also serves to improve management efficiency.

Conclusion

Minimising the impact of droughts can be achieved by developing more efficient water resource management. To this end, technologies such as Big Data can be of great help.

It can also help to instil in citizens the importance of minimising waste through something as simple as knowing in greater detail the consumption of this precious resource and encouraging them to reduce such waste.

Raising awareness of the importance of water resources, for example by commemorating Water Day, also increases awareness of the problems that can arise from water scarcity and misuse.


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