How Digitalization Can Boost Natural Disaster Resiliency in Municipal Water and Sewerage Treatment
Digitalization of the municipal water treatment industry is fragmented today, with instrumentation, control, and
automation technologies mixed with manual operational activities. While such infrastructures can be sub-optimal in
their efficacy, efficiency, and visibility, they can be detrimental to community and environmental health and
well-being in cases of hydro-geological events, such as severe storms and earthquakes. The good news: When
natural disasters strike, digitalization can help get municipal water treatment back online quickly and effectively.
n Addressing resiliency in water treatment and delivery Wastewater treatment and delivery are core to public health
and to the world’s water industry, which is expected to reach nearly $915 billion a year in size by 2023.
1 With the everincreasing population and urbanization around the globe, both are vital capabilities under continuous capacity and
budget pressures — not to mention aging infrastructure. As such, the resiliency of water treatment and delivery
facilities and capabilities in the face of natural disasters that are growing in frequency and intensity is a critical concern.
Unfortunately, despite the nearly trillion-dollar size of the global water market, the rate of investment is considered
to fall far short of what’s required to maintain the current status of this critical infrastructure, while also keeping
pace with growing demands of rapid urbanization, environmental protection, and climate change.
2For example, according to the United Nations, 55 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas as of 2018,
growing to 68 percent by 2050.3 Given current population projections, that means 2.4 billion more people will be
urban dwellers in the next three decades. The same report projects that 90 percent of the U.S. population will be
urban-dwellers by 2050.4 And, in the U.S., municipal water issues are significant, as Siemens’ own literature explains:
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