Water, the lifeblood of all flora and fauna on the planet it encompasses nearly 70% of the planet, rendering the characteristic blue colour of Mother Earth. Despite this, water has become a scarcity and all this can be blamed on overutilization and inefficient usage of this endangered resource. Currently, the greatest users of water are industries and at this rate, it appears as though the future holds a very small amount of water.Many reasons constitute the scanty nature of this elixir. Upon taking each one of them into consideration, it can be investigated that the most important one, which manages to glue them all together is the grave lack of awareness. We are oblivious of its expenditure as we fail to keep an eye out for its usage and account for the number of litres of water being consumed daily. Monitoring the consumption of water will not only help keep track of it, but also keep us mindful of the amount of water used.Why Water Management?The World Water Development Report (2019) stated that by 2050, the demand for water is going to increase by 30% of the current utilisation. Also, a report released by NITI Aayog mentioned that 21 Indian cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai, will run out of groundwater within this decade. Studies also reveal that 54% of India already faces high to extremely high water stress and reports predict that by 2050 about 4.8 to 5.7 billion people will reside in regions that will remain water scarce for at least a month in the year. This is assured to cause massive problems to the residents and might even lead to the disruption of businesses and ultimately, life.In other words, Industries must track their water consumption and also take corrective actions to conserve water. To plug such holes Smart Water Management (SWM) has been the main goal to ensure that industries ranging from Dairy to Pulp & Paper can get it done efficiently, with AquaGen, a wireless, IIoT and AI-enabled, Water Management System..Smart Water Management and Industry 4.0Industry 4.0, commonly referred to as the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) is the marriage of physical production and operations with Smart Digital Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to create a more holistic and efficiently networked ecosystem for industries. It emphasizes on upgrading the current technology through interconnectivity between the different modules in operation for a more comprehensive and real-time performance and significant efficiency enhancement.At present, this transition into Industry 4.0 is visible everywhere – ranging from home automation to autonomous vehicles, everything is now being automated employing IoT, AI and ML. This also includes the smart water management industry, wherein the integration of sensors, actuators and intelligent analysis are allowing for superior monitoring and control of water, thus revolutionising this segment of the industry..AI & IoT based Water Management SystemIn most industries today, water management is a manual task. It involves the usage of primitive methods of monitoring and analysis. It is usually the responsibility of a designated individual who checks the water level and records it in a register. This is a very inefficient method of managing water owing to inaccurate measurements and human error. It commonly results in over-utilization and consequently, higher operating costs. AquaGen has transformed this model into a smart and effective system of water management.Launched in 2016, AquaGen is a unique Smart Water Management (SWM) system that monitors and analyses water consumption real-time, for increased awareness of the same, accordingly helps with optimisation in the usage of water for boosted efficiency. It is an integration of smartly placed interconnected sensors in all the loops of the factory that deliver real-time data for improved water management. As per stats, AquaGen can save up to 30% of the total water expenditure, monthly.In this water management system, flow sensors are placed in all the water loops throughout the factory and level sensors are carefully placed inside every water tank. These sensors essentially monitor and calculate the water consumption for every process in the factory. Also, they are present to note the amount of water present in each of the tanks, for real-time analysis..These sensors relay data to the device at intervals of 5 minutes through RS 485 serial communication. Once all the data has been collected, it is sent to a cloud analytics service, which can be adapted to the consumption patterns specific to the factory and can accommodate infrastructural developments.The defining feature of this system is the adoption of the “Six Sigma” approach for the analysis of water consumption patterns. The Six Sigma (6σ) is a set of tools and techniques implemented for process improvement. It focuses on reducing process variation thus, enhancing process control and promotes work standardisation and flow. It starts by defining the problem, which in this case is the inefficient usage of water. It then moves on to measuring the water consumption, which is successfully done by the sensors, placed strategically throughout the factory. Finally, the data is analysed, along with expert guidance on the monitored data, which helps in the improvement of water management techniques.As it analyses the consumption of water in the several process loops within the plant, it can identify the potential inefficiencies in water consumption. This enables them to avoid such possibilities thus reducing the amount of water utilised. Its analysis also provides a forecast of water consumption patterns. This is very important as it makes it easier to detect inefficiencies and allows for easier optimisation. Furthermore, it predicts the water availability during critical moments like shortages or leaks.AquaGen is an all-in-one device, that is, it performs all the roles necessary for measuring, recording and analysing the usage of water. It monitors the water pumps, records the water level in the inlet tanks at fixed intervals and most importantly, it alerts the ground staff in case there is an unforeseen rise in the water consumption, with their app. This facilitates the search for leaks and imperfections in the process loop. It maintains an eagle-eye on the plant, 24x7 which lowers the need for hiring additional manpower.The device comes paired with a mobile application and a remote desktop application that can be used by the ground staff to interact with the device. It displays real-time information about the water used and being used up, by the various processes and even measures the level of the water tanks. .In addition to these technical characteristics, the device itself has some advantages.The hardware is IP67 rated – waterproof and has an 8-hour backup power supply, subject to a power outage. Its powerful antenna is capable of pushing data in extreme weather conditions and comes with the capability for automatic reconnection to the network, in case of a disconnection. Most importantly, the hardware is compatible with any kind of PD sensors, level sensor, pressure sensor and energy sensors. If a plant is already equipped with a network of sensors, then they can be interfaced with the device easily and produce similar results.In a nutshell, a comprehensive water management solution can track, monitor and analyse the water expenditure in a facility. It forecasts water consumption patterns, thus identifying potential inefficiencies, leakages and overutilization. Working real-time, the device can help save up to 30% of the total water being handled by the plant and even lowers the need for the extra workforce..Case Study: Facing the challenge of a water crisisThis case study is about a leading Indian dairy farm owned by a global dairy giant. They have a range of over 20 products, produced by over 15 facilities and managed by 5 corporate offices, spanning across the country.They process about 250,000L of milk per day. The milk brought in is chilled, stored, filtered and then sent for packaging and by-product manufacturing. Water is consumed in the various processes, either as RO, soft or raw water. The water is procured either from the 4 bore wells situated in the vicinity or from external vendors. The facility uses roughly 400,000L of water daily.The water usage at the plant was inefficient and was being monitored manually, which introduced additional inaccuracies and inefficiencies. Eventually, as the groundwater levels began depleting and as the resource inched towards extinction, its rates skyrocketed. Also, RO and softening of the water added to the costs. They were in dire need of help.The facility has a central processing unit, where the initial steps for processing milk are executed. Here, it is pasteurised, homogenised and the cream is separated. The water used here comes from the RO plant. The same plant also feeds the ultra-high treatment unit. The plant was equipped with flow meters at the input of the RO plant, input of the central processing unit and the input of the ultra-high treatment unit, which were monitored manually. The AquaGen cloud connector was interfaced to each of these flow meters..Using the sensor data from the various sensors placed in the plant are compared and analysed to produce a report showing the actual amount of water consumed for processing and the percentage of it that was blatantly wasted. For example, in the RO plant, the rejection rate is the most significant way to benchmark its performance. It can be calculated by subtracting the amount of water used by the processing operations from the RO plant and from the actual input. It was noticed that the rejection was very inconsistent and ranged from 10% to 50%. This only hinted at the fact that the RO membrane was due for replacement. Such analysis was carried out for all the process loops in the entire plant, the results of which highlighted a multitude of points where ware was being used inefficiently.In due course of time, with more data for analysis, thresholds were set for each of the processes and every time there was a spike in water expenditure in any of the process loops, the ground staff was alerted via the mobile and remote desktop application that enabled them to detect and pinpoint the issue so that it could be resolved at the earliest.Post-installation of the AquaGen device, the dairy was able to monitor the health of all the processes in the plant. It helped them diminish excess consumption which led to a 30% reduction in the expenditure of water. Ultimately, the real-time water management system aided the firm to keep track of their productivity and monitor their assets..ConclusionWith the condition of water being such in the country, every step taken towards its conservation is essential towards the survival of the entire human race. With companies like FluxGen helping the largest consumers of water – industries, save up to 30% of the total water expenses, every month, which will be compounded in time, thus lighting up the hope for conquering the mission of saving over a billion litres of water, every single day.If all industries were to implement such a system, it would result in more than a billion litres of water being saved and push the dreadful “Day Zero” further and further away, indefinitely.