What is it about?

Water utilities can benefit from the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in their operations. By gathering and learning from data on how the plant is run, AI can make helpful suggestions to save energy and reduce costs. In this study, the authors surveyed large water utility plants in the United States to see how far they have come in implementing AI in their operations. The survey revealed that out of 49 water utilities, only 24% are currently using AI. These plants are mainly in the early stages of testing. Many others plan to use AI within the next five years to reduce costs, detect leaks, and improve water quality. However, there are barriers to AI adoption. These include concerns about expertise, costs, data collection, and worries about giving too much control to AI.

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Why is it important?

Water utilities are facing a growing number of challenges due to population growth, urbanization, and other factors. AI can be used to help optimize and improve overall operations. However, the use of AI in the water industry is low. The survey conducted in this study aims to understand the current state of AI use in water utilities and identify the key obstacles. This knowledge can be used to make recommendations to improve AI adoption. The authors suggest that water utility plants should start by using AI in low risk areas while keeping human operators in control of essential operations. This approach can lead to more responsible and effective use of AI. KEY TAKEAWAY: AI can be used to assist in finding leaks, manage operations, and spot problems in water utility plants. However, it is necessary to communicate its benefits and address the set up costs. This research relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals: • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Drinking Water Operations: A Survey of Progress in the United States, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, July 2023, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE),
DOI: 10.1061/jwrmd5.wreng-5870.
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