ABB’s innovations to combat scarcity and contamination in the world’s water supply

ABB’s innovations to combat scarcity and contamination in the world’s water supply

Population growth and increasing urbanization and industrialization are driving up the world’s demand for water. At the same time, with the rise in global temperatures as a result of climate change, water is becoming scarcer and subject to greater threats of contamination.

Communities urgently need to secure and optimize supplies of clean water, and technology enables them to do so safely, efficiently and sustainably. Preserving resources is a key pillar of ABB’s Sustainability Agenda , and we have been active in the water industry for more than 50 years.

ABB offers innovative technologies such as sensors, instrumentation and software that drive efficiency in water treatment processes; helping to efficiently turn seawater into drinking water, safely treating wastewater, and protecting waterways and coastal areas from flooding, for example. The map below shows some of the locations where ABB technology is making a difference to water supplies.

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Varanasi, in northern India, sits on the banks of the Ganges, a holy river that attracts pilgrims to bathe in its waters. Those waters are extremely polluted – yet the Ganges supplies clean drinking water for the city’s 1.2 million inhabitants, water that is processed and chlorinated by the water treatment plant at Bhelupur. The installation of ABB softstarters to drive the plant, replacing a manual process that took 15 minutes, has led to an estimated increase in efficiency of up to 25%.

How India's spiritual capital is getting sustainable – through technology

Smart water solutions not only save energy, but are better for the environment too. In Schwarzenbruck in Germany, ABB technology is at the heart of an energy-intelligent wastewater treatment plant that saves an estimated 300 tons of CO₂ per year.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok in Thailand, severe droughts have caused shortages of freshwater. The city authorities are now using ABB flowmeters to detect leaks in the network of pipes and ensure precious supplies aren’t wasted.

Another common issue is the need to treat seawater to provide fresh water for drinking. In the island state of Singapore, ABB technology is supporting a desalination plant that was one of the first in the world to treat both saltwater and freshwater, supplying 30 million gallons of clean water every day.

How technology is addressing the challenges of water supply

As well as helping clients, we are committed to the sustainable management of water in our own processes. To track progress, our Corporate Water Inventory covers all ABB Group companies worldwide, compiling data from 338 sites and offices and covering approximately 94 percent of employees. There are 12 projects currently under way to improve water management across ABB, with expected annual savings of 19 kilotons of water.

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