What inspired you to create World Water Loss Day, and what do you hope to achieve through this initiative?
– In the past only the people in our small NRW space really cared about the fact that billions of litres of drinkable water is lost because of leaky pipes. I approached the IWA Water Loss Specialist Group with this idea because I was hoping that this event will create cohesion in our industry and a movement to promote the issues at hand and the solutions available to tackle them. After 3 years I feel that we are making good progress. Every little bit helps.
Can you tell us about some of the events that have taken place during previous World Water Loss Day observances?
– Roland Liemberger has set up the website and social media channels, but all the activities have become quite decentralized. Gutermann tries to launch new products or features on that day and promote them. And I have noticed that numerous other companies have started doing the same. It’s one opportunity for everyone to spread the word and to communicate their own efforts to promote water loss reduction efforts worldwide.
How does your company, Gutermann, contribute to efforts to reduce water loss?
– Water loss reduction is at the core of what Gutermann has been doing since 1947. We have 15 highly skilled engineers who spend day in day out trying to innovate in the field of acoustic leak detection and make our solutions more easy to use and more effective. Our products are used around the world, which is something I am very proud of.
Can you share any success stories or innovative approaches that Gutermann has implemented to help reduce water loss?
– Gutermann has innovated a lot in this space: For example, we built the first cordless correlator, or the first correlator with a PDA device. Later our engineers invented the Lift & Shift process for acoustic logging. We started promoting correlating fixed network systems when people still lobbied against them. Today almost all vendors are offering correlation in fixed networks. A real game changer was our correlating logger with NB-IoT communication. We were the first, and now everybody is following suit. It’s hard to innovate, but we do our best to keep pushing the limits.
How important do you think public awareness and engagement are in addressing the issue of water loss, and how does World Water Loss Day contribute to this effort?
– Whether WWLD really already contributes to this development or not, I am not sure. But there is a clear uptick in public awareness and – above all – regulatory progress. The biggest investments will come from the EU Direktive 2020/2184 which has a clear roadmap for European water utilities to start measuring water loss and put in place technology and processes to reduce water loss to a set limit. Most European countries are still above that limit so the NRW activity in Europe will increase significantly in the next 5 to 10 years.
Are there any specific challenges or obstacles you have encountered in promoting the goals of World Water Loss Day, and how have you addressed these?
– WWLD is fairly unstructured so it is really becoming a grassroots movement without specific goals or initiatives. Promotion of the WWLD is mostly on social media. And for that I feel that it has already achieved a lot of awareness in our market.
Looking forward, what do you hope to see accomplished through future World Water Loss Day observances?
– For me, the best outcome will if every player in the space (tech companies, consultants, contractors, utilities, media) are fully aware of WWLD and participate in it by spreading the word of the issues and the urgency of the global water loss problem. The rest will follow. Ultimately we need more olitical and legal frameworks to support water loss reduction investments, but the start is raising awareness on all levels.
How was December 4 chosen as WWLD Day?
-We were looking for a date that doesn’t conflict with other important dates on the UN calendar and with other typical busy periods in the utility calendar. And then we let it coincide with the opening day of North American Water Loss 2019 in San Diego. So we agreed on the 4th of December.