BT - Why we need new technology to ward off climate-induced water shortages

As summer arrives in the UK, the possibility of another heatwave looms on the horizon. Last year's scorching temperatures and record-breaking summer has left people wondering if 2023 will follow suit as sweltering weather conditions like 'El Niño' become more prevalent.

In the face of climate change and its adverse effects on our water systems, BT is investing in innovative solutions to sustainably manage water resources. In a recent article, Ashish Gupta, the MD of Corporate & Public Sector at BT, shed light on these advancements that BT and the water industry are implementing to mitigate water shortages head on.

BT’s new initiative aims to work with local British partners to find technology-derived solutions to mitigate water shortages and pollution.
BT’s new initiative aims to work with local British partners to find technology-derived solutions to mitigate water shortages and pollution.

Water challenges in the face of climate change:

Climate change has brought forth both flooding and water scarcity, presenting significant challenges in recent years. It has become evident that immediate action is required to protect our environment and precious natural resources.
The previous summer was one of the driest on record, and experts predict the return of drought conditions this year. The south-west region even saw the introduction of a hosepipe ban from August to April due to below-average rainfall.
But in times of drought, reservoirs play a crucial role in ensuring a steady water supply for our communities, making their efficient operation and capacity crucial.
And this is where connectivity comes into play, and BT is working locally with partners to address this challenge.

Cutting carbon in Nidderdale:

BT has collaborated with long-standing partner Yorkshire Water to address the challenges faced by the village of Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales.
Traditionally, Yorkshire Water's engineers manually measured water quality along the Scar House reservoir, a time-consuming and costly process. To overcome this, BT worked with Yorkshire Water to install state-of-the-art IoT monitors on water courses that feed the reservoir.
These smart sensors, connected through the EE mast nearby, transmit data back to Yorkshire Water, allowing scientists and engineers to proactively select the best available water sources for treatment. This optimizes resource allocation and also reduces Yorkshire Water's carbon footprint by enabling better insights into water quality.

Using IoT to work smarter in Derbyshire:

Another significant challenge faced by water companies due to climate change is managing wastewater overflow during flooding. In the last year alone, the UK experienced 825 raw sewage spills per day that required an unprecedented £10bn investment, “the biggest modernisation of sewers since the Victorian era, and the most ambitious programme on sewage spills in the world”.
Sewage run-off led to pollution of waterways and seas in the Yorkshire area
Sewage run-off led to pollution of waterways and seas in the Yorkshire area

BT, in collaboration with Severn Trent, has embarked on a ground-breaking project in Derbyshire to tackle this issue.
Leveraging artificial intelligence, the project aims to predict weather conditions, forecast maintenance requirements, and autonomously control waste flow. AI deployed on Severn Trent's pumping stations will provide real-time monitoring and forecasting.
By diverting excess water away from overflows and hotspots, water companies can prevent flooding and the pollution of clean water sources. This effort involves various partners from the water and industrial sectors, as well as global innovators and esteemed institutions.

Connecting for good:

These projects in the water industry exemplify how technology can be harnessed to work smarter, benefiting local communities and the environment alike. BT believes that technology can play a pivotal role in creating a sustainable world and allow us to mitigate the effects of climate change we’re already experiencing by becoming more efficient with our resources. The challenges posed by climate change necessitate innovative solutions, and BT is committed to driving these advancements. As the UK braces itself for another potential heatwave, the need to sustainably manage our water systems has never been more crucial. BT's collaboration with the water industry showcases their dedication to developing innovative technologies that address these challenges head-on. Through initiatives like IoT-enabled water quality monitoring and AI-powered wastewater management, BT is striving to ensure the efficient and sustainable use of our most precious resource: water. By harnessing the power of technology, we can pave the way for a more sustainable future for businesses, communities, and the planet as a whole.

To learn more about the innovative technology BT provides to the water industry, check out our full range of solutions here!

  • Adam Wallin

    48 w

    The role of digitalisation and smart data continues to astound me, at what point will all this data be enough to make policymakers understand the need of taking care of our natural resources?

    • Patrick Kiash

      48 w

      Very insightful article and solutions, may you continue overcoming the challenges. Experiencing over 825 raw sewage spills in the UK only,it's not an uneasy task.

      • Sarah Chabane

        48 w

        Very interesting solution and very necessary! Are you working with local governments to implement it? And are they interested in the matter?

        • mercy nduta

          48 w

          Water management is critical for enabling to adapt to climate change, and is therefore an essential priority in climate related investment.

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