The OECD projected that water demand will increase by 55% globally by 2050. IIndustry will also suffer considerably. The most affected sectors will be the food, agriculture, energy and gas, processing and transport industries. By contrast, the wastewater treatment market is set to grow by around € 75 billion by 2028. Water scarcity will change the structure of industries, trade balances and will also affect GDP growth. Artificial intelligence and new technologies could help.
What is the future of water and what role will it play in the development of the industry? Take a look at our study, which we want to draw attention to the current water situation, as well as to help speed up the transition to efficient water management.
By 2025, up to half of the world's population is expected to live in water-scarce areas. At the same time, water shortages will significantly affect the world economy, where the food, agricultural, energy and gas, processing and transport industries in particular suffer the most. According to the OECD, the demand for water will increase by as much as 55% by 2050. The significant increase in demand should be reflected mainly in manufacturing, where there is to be an increase of up to 400%.
Wastewater treatment does not sufficiently solve the problem of water shortage. Although the market in this area is set to grow by around € 75 billion by 2028, only 5% of the total amount of treated water is currently reused. At the level of the European Union, this is only 2.4% of the total volume.
The solution for increasing water efficiency could be artificial intelligence and innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things or blockchain. Although these technologies are primarily used in the banking sector to increase the effectiveness of its business, they are actively adopted by the environmental and sustainable development sectors to improve resources’ usage and management. Artificial intelligence is expected to save up to 30% of operating costs through the reduction of energy costs and process optimization, or, for example, in terms of specific wastewater treatment, to streamline the use of chemicals or predict the occurrence of emergencies.
The 5G network application also has the potential to make a billion contribution to productivity. For companies in the electronics, gas and water sectors, the value of such a contribution could climb to almost € 300 billion by 2030. For example, the 5G can handle up to millions of sensors per one square kilometre ensuring the connection of smart metress and devices on the streets and homes. Some 5G features might reduce battery consumption that will extend the lifetime of the sensors.
Global water use has increased six times over the past 100 years and continues to grow steadily at a rate of about 1% per year with increasing population, economic development and shifting consumption patterns. How efficiently we manage water and introduce innovative technologies to save and control it will ultimately shape the future of the water industry.
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