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Water Leaders Chart the Digital Transformation Journey for Utilities

International Water Association (IWA) and Xylem White Paper Maps
Digital Adoption Trends and Identifies Key Learnings to Help Drive

  • Publication harnesses insights from 40 utilities and over 20
    industry thought leaders globally
  • New Digital Water Adoption Curve enables utilities to chart
    their progress on the digital transformation journey; report urges
    water leaders to think boldly about their digital future and the
    impact they can create for their broader watersheds and communities

EDINBURGH, Scotland–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The International Water Association (IWA) and global water technology
company, Xylem (NYSE: XYL) today released a comprehensive white paper
titled: “Digital
Water: Industry Leaders Chart the Transformation Journey

Examining how digitalisation is transforming the water sector, this
important resource provides utility decision makers with actionable
learnings to accelerate their adoption of digital solutions and address
critical water challenges. The paper also introduces the Digital
Water Adoption Curve, a valuable new tool to help utilities assess
their digital maturity and map their digital future. Water thought
leader and author Will Sarni, CEO, Water Foundry, served as a key author
of the report.

Global water challenges, like climate change, population growth,
increasing urbanisation and ageing infrastructure, continue to
intensify. The latest UN data estimates that 3.6 billion people – almost
half the global population – live in areas that are potentially
water-scarce at least one month per year and by 2050, more than 5
billion people could suffer water shortages due to climate change,
increased demand and polluted supplies. Against this backdrop, water and
wastewater utilities are turning to new and innovative solutions
including digital technologies, to drive sustainable water management.

“At a time when global water challenges are escalating, digital
solutions offer communities around the world bold, new ways to optimise,
manage and conserve this most precious resource,” said Kala
Vairavamoorthy, IWA Executive Director. “‘Digital Water: Industry
Leaders Chart the Transformation Journey’ leverages the insights of IWA
members to help utilities learn from their peers, harness the power of
digital technologies and enable communities around the world to become
more water-secure,” states Kala Vairavamoorthy. “Only together can we
shape our water future.”

Patrick Decker, President and CEO of Xylem, said, “The world has
to think and act differently about water. There simply is no other
choice. Water challenges like scarcity, affordability and resilience are
placing millions of human lives at risk, endangering our environment and
the global economy, and impeding social progress. These urgent threats
are not some far-off problem in the future. They are upon us and growing
by the day. We need step-change, and digital innovation is the answer.
This paper is a call to action to water stakeholders around the globe.
We have the opportunity of a lifetime to solve water and to change
history – let’s seize it.”

Valuable lessons from utilities on the digital journey

Water: Industry Leaders Chart the Transformation Journey”
valuable insights to water utilities at all stages of digitalisation.
The report also shares key utility leaders’ insights in their own voices.

“The world is moving in the direction of technology,” said
Richard Appiah Otoo, Chief Technology Officer, Ghana Water Company
Limited, one of the nearly 40 utilities that provided input to the white
paper. “Ghana Water experienced a 14 percent increase in revenue
after digital technologies increased water bill collection efficiency
and provided customers with a mobile billing option.”

Biju George, Executive Vice President, DC Water, commented:
“The digital strategy has to become a corporate strategy. It's not an
option to sit there and let it happen, you have to plan for it. You have
to train your employees towards that, you have to relook at every
process. You have to design your systems to give you the data you need
to make efficient decisions.”

“If you have any doubt, just try it,” said Claire Falzone, CEO,
Nova Veolia-France. “Try small at first if you don't dare to dream big.
This is just the beginning of the digital water journey and if you don't
adopt digital technologies, someone else will.”

Key take-aways from the report include:

1. Build a holistic digital roadmap and a clear business strategy:
Utilities must create internal consensus on how the digital journey will
unfold, maintain the customer and business outcomes as focal points
throughout the digitalisation process, and educate key stakeholders
(consumers, politicians, shareholders, management and employees).

2. Create an innovation culture: Utility operators, IT staff, finance,
technicians, executives, and others have to be the scouts for
identifying new technologies. However, to drive adoption, utilities must
focus on fostering an organisation-wide curiosity and competency for
embracing digital innovation.

3. Leverage pilots for an agile mindset: Pilot projects offer a means to
explore new technologies, build momentum, and create a more holistic
understanding of their physical and financial effects on operations
before committing to large-scale implementation.

4. Develop architecture for optimising data use: Developing a data
warehouse, where operational data sets become available to functions
such as finance, engineering and IT specialists who can use the data to
optimise business processes, is critical to creating value from data and
effectively digitalising utility infrastructure and connectivity.


About the white paper

The white paper “Digital
Water: Industry Leaders Chart the Transformation Journey
” is
the first of a series of publications to be developed under the IWA
Digital Water Programme. Access the publication here:


The paper is being launched during the 16th
IWA Leading Edge Conference on Water and Wastewater Technologies
on Tuesday, 11 June 2019, 10:45 – 11:45 BST – Pentland Auditorium,
Edinburgh International Convention Center, Scotland, United Kingdom.

About the IWA Digital Water Programme

The IWA Digital Water Programme aims to act as a catalyst for
innovation, knowledge and best practices around digitalisation for the
water sector, provide a platform to share experiences and promote
leadership in transitioning to digital water solutions, and consolidate
lessons to guide the natural evolution from the ‘business as usual’ to
achieving a digital water utility. For more information, please visit http://iwa-network.org/projects/digital-water-programme/

About the International Water Association

The International Water Association (IWA) is a network and an
international global knowledge hub open to all water professionals and
anyone committed to the future of water. With its legacy of over seventy
years, it connects water professionals around the world to find
solutions to global water challenges as part of a broader sustainability
agenda. As a non-profit organization and with a membership in more than
130 countries, the IWA connects scientists with professionals and
communities so that pioneering research offers sustainable solutions. In
addition, the association promotes and supports technological innovation
and best practices through international frameworks and standards. For
more information, please visit www.iwa-network.org

About Xylem

Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology company committed to
developing innovative technology solutions to the world’s water
challenges. The Company’s products and services move, treat, analyze,
monitor and return water to the environment in public utility,
industrial, residential and commercial building services settings. Xylem
also provides a leading portfolio of smart metering, network
technologies and advanced infrastructure analytics solutions for water,
electric and gas utilities. The Company’s approximately 17,000 employees
bring broad applications expertise with a strong focus on identifying
comprehensive, sustainable solutions. Headquartered in Rye Brook, New
York, with 2018 revenue of $5.2 billion, Xylem does business in more
than 150 countries through a number of market-leading product brands.

The name Xylem is derived from classical Greek and is the tissue that
transports water in plants, highlighting the engineering efficiency of
our water-centric business by linking it with the best water
transportation of all – that which occurs in nature. For more
information, please visit us at www.xylem.com.


For more information and/or interviews please contact:
Jimenez, [email protected],
+31 631 93 40 81
Katharine Cross, [email protected],
+66 924 53 45 13
Raul Glotzbach, [email protected],
+31 650 63 75 93
Jenny Rider, [email protected]
+ 1 914 246 7184
Olivia Dempsey, [email protected]
+353 1 678 9333