Archive for May, 2013
Leverage instrumentation, controls and software to optimize system and asset performance.
A large portion of the pipes, pumps, valves and other water infrastructure operating in the U.S. today dates back to the 1940s or earlier. With water systems crumbling, the U.S. loses about seven billion gallons of treated water per year through water main breaks and leaking pipes, at a time when almost a third of the nation’s cities are expected to experience a water scarcity crisis in the next few years.
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I was in an engineer’s office several weeks ago, and he had a Magic 8-ball on his desk. There was a card under it that read “Executive Decision Maker”. I laughed at it, and then my partner and I moved into our presentation. Reflecting back, I was struck by the realization that so many of us use a version of the 8-ball to make decisions.
My oldest son recently competed in an Arizona regional Odyssey of the Mind tournament, advanced to the State tournament, and at the end of May, will compete in the World Championships in Lansing, Michigan. Yes, I’m very proud of his team’s accomplishments. I’m also very humbled by what they have taught me about the innovation process—lessons from which, the water industry could certainly benefit.
As I traveled last week throughout the UK, I met with a variety of industrial customers who use the same industrial software to make pharmaceuticals, consumer packaged goods, and food products as water utilities use to clean wastewater and distribute clean water. The interesting thing that I learned was that many of them have systems to clean their waste water or rain runoff from their sites but these systems are largely controlled via stone-age technology…I’m talking about manual pumps and valves.
In February, we began our 2013 three-city tour for Water 2.0. The events sponsored by Our Water Counts, the Water Innovation Alliance and featured some speakers from Growing Blue. We had an amazing response at our first stop in New York City. Over 150 water leaders from around the world shared challenges, stories, and solutions.
We hear our elected officials use the word “innovation” daily in their speeches. Have you noticed that you never hear a governor, senator or congressman use the words “innovation” and “water industry” in the same sentence? Innovation as defined by Webster’s dictionary is the following:
- The introduction of something new
- A new idea, method or device
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