Municipal water infrastructure in the United States is aging and in need of significant modernization. Many water utilities have little data on their distribution network operations and still rely on manual meter reading for billing. A new industry survey shows that this has begun to change as utilities are increasingly deploying smart water infrastructure with sensors and two-way communications.
As this trend continues, U.S. water utilities are projected to invest $8.3 billion in smart infrastructure over the next ten years, according to a new study published today by Northeast Group.
“Our survey results show that water infrastructure in the United States is modernizing, but utilities still have not taken full advantage of the technology they have available to them to improve operations and maximize efficiency," said Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group. "Smart metering and other sensors with two-way communications can help a sector in great need of modernization. These investments will grow, especially as cities look to integrate water infrastructure with broader smart city and Internet of Things initiatives.”
As part of the new study, Northeast Group conducted a survey of 340 water utilities across all 50 states in the United States. The survey revealed that more than 80 percent of respondents were either already investing or looking to invest in smart water infrastructure to improve their operations. Survey results showed that the leading drivers of this investment were operational efficiency, general modernization of infrastructure and the reduction of non-revenue water. Barriers included logistical challenges, wariness over new technology and financing.
There are a number of leading smart water infrastructure vendors active in the U.S. market. These include ABB, Aclara, Badger Meter, Honeywell, i2O, Itron, Kamstrup, Master Meter, Metron Farnier, Mueller, Neptune, Schneider, Sensus, Suez, Zenner and others. Additionally, vendors such as TaKaDu, Trimple, Valor Water Analytics and several others are expanding in the rapidly developing market for water software and analytics.