1st Edition

Digital Water Enabling a More Resilient, Secure and Equitable Water Future

By William Sarni Copyright 2022
    112 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    112 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book shows how digital technologies are transforming how we locate, manage, treat, distribute, and use water.

    Water resources are under stress from over-allocation, increased demand, pollution, climate change, and outdated public policies. Historical approaches to delivering water for human consumption, industrial production, agriculture, power generation, and ecosystems are no longer adequate to meet demands. As a result, we need to vastly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our public and private sector processes in water management. The author describes recent advances in data acquisition (e.g., satellite imagery, drones, and on-the-ground sensors and smart meters), big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, which provide new tools to meet needs in both developing and developed economies. For example, a digital water technology portfolio brings the value of real-time system-wide monitoring – and response – within the capability of water providers of all sizes and sophistication. As such, digital water promises to increase the long-term value of water resource assets while assisting in compliance with regulations and helping respond to the demands of population growth and evolving natural and business ecosystems.

    Including many practical examples, the author concludes that digital and smart water technologies will not only better manage water assets but also enable the public sector to provide universal access to safe drinking water, the private sector to continue to grow, and ecosystems to thrive.


    1. The Digital Century

    2. "Wicked Problem" of Water: Why Business as Usual is Failing Us

    3. The Digital Water Opportunity: The Experience of Other Sectors

    4. The Digital Water Ecosystem

    5. The Challenges

    6. The Roadmap



    William Sarni is Founder and CEO, Water Foundry, and Founder and Chairman, WetDATA.org based in Denver, Colorado, USA.

    "Over the past decade, few people have had their finger on the pulse of corporate water challenges as much as Will Sarni. With this book, Sarni once again places himself at the forefront of the next wave of water stewardship. Without embracing digital water, companies will founder in the face of the water-related climate challenges. Conversely, for those who do, digital water will represent an opportunity to scale opportunities through innovation and purpose. Digital Water is a great resource for business leaders looking to not just have more effective and efficient water strategies, but to lay a foundation to tackle water challenges in the coming decades."
    Alexis Morgan, Global Water Stewardship Lead at WWF

    "Will has a knack for early leadership on water issues which eventually become mainstream. Not difficult to predict he is doing the same with digital water in this thought provoking book. Bringing a rather dense topic to life with deep insights and clarity of thought. High risk locations and operations will increasingly understand the value and necessity of digital management & accounting for water … this book is a great starting place and early roadmap!"
    Andre Fourie, Global Director, Water Sustainability at Anheuser-Busch InBev

    "Digital Water is a must-read when it comes to understanding how digital technologies will transform the water sector. Sarni provides compelling examples of how organizations are deploying digital tools ranging from IoT to AI to improve the design, situational awareness, control, performance, and engagement of users of water systems.  Sarni uses these examples to illuminate the drivers, processes, challenges, and opportunities that come with the use of these digital tools. Digital Water reminds us, as Condoleezza Rice observed, that what once seemed impossible, in retrospect, seems inevitable. Whether you are immersed in the day to day issues of digital water or engaged in policy considerations or simply an individual or institutional consumer of water, you will find Sarni’s observations and prescriptions to be insightful and incredibly valuable."
    Jonathan Copulsky, Executive Director, Medill Spiegel Research Center, Northwestern University and co-author, The Technology Fallacy and The Transformation Myth

    "Will Sarni has a gift for being in the right place, with the right idea, at the right time. He is the ultimate synthesizer, and this book presents a finely tuned rendering of water's prospective leap into the 21st century. Just as the fountains at Bellagio respond digitally to Handel, Sarni harnesses the information technology trends across industries, and projects them on to water, shining the light on some of the early innovators who are having an impact, and discussing the core principles and obstacles that would shape the future of digital water, from conservation to risk to performance. Will it happen? Will would like you to read and react. So would I. Let's shape the future."
    Manu Lall, Columbia University, Director, Columbia Water Center, Alan & Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering and Senior Research Scientist, International Research Institute for Climate & Society

    "Will is in the business of saving lives. The status quo is broken and Will Sarni’s voice whether live or in print is one that needs to be heard. Will applies his profound industry knowledge as a catalyst for change fueled by his bias for action. Having been personally witness to almost three decades of global water intelligence being central to water professionals, an echo chamber, Will is committed to expanding these boundaries. This work along with many other pieces Will has produced are a prime example of the required thought leadership and education paramount to instigating change and ultimately a reversal of this crumbling status quo."
    Alexander Crowell, Partner, Pureterra "

    The opportunity to rethink water is right here and right now. Start with this book for a clearly articulated path to a resilient future for water where digital technology, investment, policy and organizations of all shapes and sizes come together. Will Sarni lays the foundation, framing and roadmap for organizations, communities and individuals to transform our approach to the most important substance on earth. Most importantly, see how you can play a part."
    Ivan Lalović, CEO and Founder, Gybe

    "Will Sarni’s latest book is a roadmap to help organisations navigate water’s digital transformation. He masterfully explains why digital solutions, coupled with a creative destruction mindset, will enable a water abundant future. Readers should come away with a bias for action to help collectively solve the 'wicked' water problem."
    Tom Freyberg, Founder & Director, Atlantean Media

    "If you care about water, this book is for you. Will continues to take complex problems and provide a clear, coherent, and concise assessment of the situation. Examples from other industries shed light on creative solutions. The book leaves you with a better understanding of the digitization of the water sector, how that is breaking down silos, and why it matters. It gives a reason to believe that even though the global water situation seems dire, we have the chance to solve global water problems in our lifetime."
    Jon Grant, Chief Commercial Officer, SENTRY

    "A fast paced and thought-provoking insight into how digital capabilities and the democratisation of data are mobilising collective understanding, action and mobilising innovation at a scale that hasn’t been seen before in the water sector. A taster on what is to come."
    Maeve Hall, Sustainable Manufacturing Water Lead, Unilever

    "An excellent foundational read to get one’s mind around the multi-faceted race towards digitalization within the water sector. Will’s approach expertly explains how water’s roadmap towards digitization rhymes with the successful digitization journeys of other sectors; including the great societal and business benefits that await. A book that is a catalyst to effect positive change."
    Matt Rose, CEO, Apana

    "This book is essential reading for anyone working in the water sector. Will is a globally recognised expert in this field and provides a comprehensive overview of the use of digital tools for water. It combines academic rigour with real-world practicality, giving an in-depth analysis of both the origins, definitions and evolution of digital water techniques, alongside examples and case studies of applications of the technologies. It also enables the reader to compare and contrast digital technologies in water with those from other sectors."
    Gaetane Suzenet and Prof Jacob Tompkins OBE, The European Water Technology Accelerator

    "Will Sarni’s book delivers the big picture of digital water transformation, which is so much bigger than technology alone. This is what many of us involved in water management have been waiting for: thought leadership, strategy and superb insights."
    Dragan Savic, FREng, Chief Executive Officer at KWR Water Research Institute