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The Role of Water Systems 4.0 to Acheive Agenda 2030

Sep 29th, 2016 |

On 13 September the German Water Partnership with support from the European Water Partnership organized an initial discussion of many that are likely to follow on the concept of “Water systems 4.0”, developed by the German Water Partnership. The speakers from the European Commission and experts from the water sector discussed the potential of Water systems 4.0 to contribute to the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and the goal of sustainable water and sanitation for all with focus on the of EU development policy.

Water systems 4.0, is an innovative water management strategy focusing on digitalisation and automation of the water management as the core points. In analogy with the Industry 4.0, Water systems 4.0 places the elements of the fourth industrial revolution in the context of water management, specifically networking of machines, processes, storage systems and materials; smart grids; and the Internet of Things and Services.

An essential feature of both Industry 4.0 and Water systems 4.0 is the fusion of real and virtual worlds in the so-called cyber-physical systems (CPS) which monitor the physical processes of natural water cycle, continuously detect and describe anthropogenic influences and make the decentralised decisions on actions.

It was stressed that Water systems 4.0 are important for both developed and developing countries. In Africa and Asia, a jump from Water systems 2.0 directly to Water systems 4.0 is possible, moreover some of it is already happening for example in Uganda, where the water charges can be paid via smartphone applications.

The speakers highlighted that Water systems 4.0 are not about a specific technology, it is rather an interplay of innovative technologies that aim to achieve sustainable management of water, as well as risk reduction, taking into account the interests of all direct and indirect water users and stakeholders.

The intelligent networking of water users (agriculture, industry and households) and linking the components of a sustainable water infrastructure to the environment and the water cycle allows Water systems 4.0 to pursue a holistic approach to water along the value chain. Furthermore it allows high transparency for water users, thus covering current needs and offers opportunities to make the water sector resource efficient, flexible and competitive as well as creates sustainable jobs in the water industry.

German Water Partnership documented their understanding of Water systems 4.0 including successful examples of the first generation Cyber-Physical-Water Systems in Austria, Denmark and Germany in the brochure available a t (currently in German, with English version coming soon).

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