ABB Decoded podcast: Helping to solve the global water scarcity crisis

  • In the latest ABB Decoded podcast, two specialists from ABB discuss what steps are being taken to solve the water scarcity crisis
  • 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water
  • Wastewater treatment can play a significant part in addressing global water scarcity

The latest episode of ABB’s technology-focused podcast ABB Decoded addresses the global water scarcity crisis and how the technology available today can help solve it. On this year’s World Water Day 2023, the United Nations launched a water action agenda dubbed “Accelerating Change to solve the water and sanitation crisis,” stating that 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water, while more than 4.2 billion people lack safely managed sanitation. A staggering 80 percent of wastewater flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.

In the podcast, two specialists in sustainability and the technology available, Marie Helene Westholm Knebel and Amina Hamidi, talk about why addressing the global water scarcity crisis is more important than ever, and more specifically, how wastewater treatment can play a part in addressing global water scarcity.

“We need to accelerate the way we treat wastewater across the globe to allow reuse and reentry of this water into the water cycle. This is an untapped resource, an area having great potential for improvement,” explains Marie Helene Westholm Knebel.


In a recent report, ABB has identified through economic modeling that 469 treatment facilities will be required to be developed and further expanded per year to meet the United Nations’ development goal on water scarcity. In terms of volume, this is the equivalent of 3.4 million Olympic swimming pools.

“ABB offers technologies that help to make sure that not a drop of water is lost, and that make the processes of treating water efficient, so that it can be reused for irrigation, for industrial uses, and even as drinking water,” adds Amina Hamidi. Additionally, advancements in water sensor technology and artificial intelligence can help the optimization of wastewater treatment systems by monitoring the quality of the wastewater in real time and adjusting the treatment process accordingly to make it more efficient.

While increasing wastewater treatment capacity is a priority, the early integration of technology to drive efficiency at plants is also vital. ABB’s automation, electrification and digital solutions are helping monitor, analyze and manage wastewater plant operations. In association with crucial measurement and control solutions, which collect and transmit a wealth of operational and diagnostic data, ABB systems help optimize resource efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

ABB Decoded is ABB’s group podcast series, covering all aspects of ABB’s global technology business. Find out more and discover past episodes at this link.

ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s ~105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.


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