Predicting natural disasters: how risk information protects lives and investments

No thanks to climate change, extreme weather events are getting more frequent, intense and unpredictable. A publication by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) highlights that in the past 20 years, weather-related disasters made up approximately 90% of major recorded disaster events. Although loss of human lives may be decreasing, economic impact – especially that of informal economies and uninsured losses – are on the rise.

However, having access to risk information can help stakeholders make better decisions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on their communities and economy. Learn more. Continue reading “Predicting natural disasters: how risk information protects lives and investments”

Five major challenges and opportunities impacting the water industry in the years to come

2020 marks the start of not just a new year, but a fresh new decade – a perfect time to reflect upon what is coming and prioritise where to focus efforts next.

The water industry will most likely endure several changes in the years to come due to rapid urbanisation, severe climate changes, rising customer demands and the implementation of emerging digital technologies. These changes will leave the industry with a complex set of challenges that should be addressed and adopted to in order to stay competitive. Continue reading “Five major challenges and opportunities impacting the water industry in the years to come”

How Cloud solutions can help cities predict flash floods more accurately

Heavy rainfall and floods impose considerable consequences to communities and infrastructure, resulting in death or injury, affecting livelihood, damaging roads, property, water networks and more.

According to a United Nations report, in the ten years from 1995 to 2015, floods accounted for 43% of all documented natural disasters, affecting 2.3 billion people, killing 157,000 and causing US$662 billion in damage. The UNESCO World Development Report further states that climate change, increasing population, loss of wetlands and rising sea levels are expected put 2 billion people at risk of flood disasters by 2050. Continue reading “How Cloud solutions can help cities predict flash floods more accurately”

Ways to permanently reduce non-revenue water levels

High leakage levels, inefficient pipe network maintenance, customer complaints and financial losses are some of the top challenges of water utilities. Many of these troubles can be effectively countered – if you know how to nip the problem at the bud by dealing with the issue of non-revenue water (NRW).

NRW is water that has been produced but cannot be billed. The loss can be the result of leakage or overflow (sometimes referred to as physical losses), theft of water or inaccurate metering (also known as apparent losses), or free use (for example, for firefighting). Calculations suggest that more than US$14 billion is lost every year by water utilities around the world due to NRW. The World Bank recommends that NRW should be less than 25% of the total water produced, while in many countries NRW is up to 60%. High levels of NRW are detrimental to the financial viability of water utilities and pose an extra burden on paying customers. Continue reading “Ways to permanently reduce non-revenue water levels”

Best practices for successful coastal flooding adaptation

Global warming, rising sea levels and rapidly growing cities are placing immense pressure on coastal cities, towns and subsistence communities. The U.S. Population Reference Bureau estimates that almost 6 billion people will be living within 200 kilometres of a coastline by 2025 – close to double the number in 2003. Population growth – along with sea level rise compounded by storm surges and increased rainfall intensity due to climate change – are the key reasons for the increase in coastal flooding and the degradation of our coastal regions and ecosystems today. Continue reading “Best practices for successful coastal flooding adaptation”

The very basics of artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning

Unsure about the similarities and differences between artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning? This blog post introduces the quick basics. Continue reading “The very basics of artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning”

Why empathy is the key to providing a great customer experience

According to the Cambridge dictionary, customer service is ‘the way that an organisation deals with customers before, during, and after a sale, and the activities involved in dealing with customers.’

Technically, the above is right. But these actions will not result in a great customer experience without empathy. Continue reading “Why empathy is the key to providing a great customer experience”

What has climate change got to do with increased groundwater salinity?

Rising sea levels due to climate change is affecting us more than we know

Sea level rise due to climate change is one of the contributing factors of salinity intrusion, particularly for shallow sandy aquifers in water stressed coastal areas. In many of such areas surface water salinity is additionally increased due to reduced upstream discharges and salinity can intrude both directly from the sea and from the surface waters. Furthermore, a temporarily rise in sea level can be caused by various acts of nature, such as tsunamis and hurricanes bringing about storm surges. Due to ongoing evaporation, the salt concentration of water in sandy aquifers have the potential to increase exponentially and eventually cause contamination or environmental problems. Continue reading “What has climate change got to do with increased groundwater salinity?”

Can nature provide the solutions for better water management?

Nature-based solutions are water management interventions that make targeted use of ecosystems to deliver specific water management benefits. With communities around the world increasingly facing risks and impacts due to population growth, urbanisation and climate change, nature-based solutions have a lot to offer in support of sustainable and affordable water management. Continue reading “Can nature provide the solutions for better water management?”

Creating positive environmental impacts with artificial reefs

How to recover good environmental status with new marine habitats

Marine structures – such as piers, windmills and bridges – typically have a bad name when it comes to their effects on the environment. But did you know that their existence could impact marine environments positively too? Continue reading “Creating positive environmental impacts with artificial reefs”