August 3-5, 2022

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Smart water: China’s market demand in late 2020

Smart water should continue to see market demand in 2021.


Supplying water to the world's most populated country is a challenge faced by water utilities. To mount this challenge, China's utilities are turning to smart technologies. Smart water provides increasing levels of system intelligence, visibility, automation and control, while enhancing customer service through new channels of engagement. Technological solutions provided by smart water help water managers operate more effectively.









The development of China's smart water can be roughly divided into three stages: stage 1, with automation control as the core, focusing on process optimization and the improvement of production efficiency; stage 2, with enterprise informatization as the core, and more focus on enterprise resource management, mobile applications, algorithm applications; stage 3 is a comprehensive application of big data, artificial intelligence, and blockchain.



Smart water includes three levels, namely the equipment level (meters, sensors, etc.), the data transmission level (network access to data), and the platform level (cloud, big data, data mining, etc.). After achieving the digitalization of smart water meters to a certain scale, building a smart operation system centered on a smart water platform will become the focus of smart water infrastructure companies' business transformation, that is, the transition from digital to smart. 



Over the last few years, China's smart water industry has entered a phase of rapid development, and smart water companies of all sizes have sprung up like mushrooms after rain. Nevertheless, the entire field is also facing many problems, and there is still a long way to go before the industry becomes truly strong and mature. Last month the first domestic smart water eco-industrial park was completed and put into operation in the Zhiheng Science and Technology Park in Fuzhou High-tech Zone. 



According to the 2017 China Water Resources Bulletin, the proportions of national rivers of Grade I-III, Grade IV-V and Grade V inferior to Grade V accounted for 78.5%, 13.2%, and 8.3% respectively. There are 920 reservoirs with overall water quality of Category I-III throughout the year; 120 reservoirs of category V; 24 reservoirs inferior to category V, accounting for 86.4%, 11.3% and 2.3% of the total number of evaluated reservoirs.




Over the last few years, water companies have continuously increased their demand for energy conservation, consumption reduction, and improved operation and management levels, and as a result, the demand for smart water services has begun to show explosive growth.



At present, there are more than 660 cities, more than 2500 counties and more than 30,000 administrative towns in China. Each town has a water supply and drainage system. However, the scale of existing smart water companies is generally small, and solution providers, monitoring equipment, real time data, water efficiency and reuse, etc. are all technology areas where the need for growth is still quite strong.








With the continuous integration of new technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing and mobile Internet into traditional industries, and the  integration of emerging smart technologies, the development of smart water industry has a lot of room for growth. According to the statistics of the "Competitive Strategy and Investment Feasibility Study Report on China's Smart Water Market for 2020-2026" published by CICC International Consulting, the market size of China's smart water service industry in 2015 has reached 5.033 billion yuan, an increase of 15.33% year-on-year. By 2016, the market size of China's smart water industry reached 5.862 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 16.47%.



As of 2017, China's smart water market has grown to approximately 6.859 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 17%. It is preliminarily estimated that the market size of China's smart water industry in 2018 will reach about 8.2 billion yuan. The value of smart water to the government, society and users is that it will maximize the emergency response capabilities of water companies, including emergency repairs of pipeline network, and water quality safety monitoring.


According to the 13th Five-Year Plan for the Reform and Development of Water Resources, the urban and rural water supply direction plans to increase the national water supply capacity by 27 billion cubic meters, which is about 74 million cubic meters of new capacity per day. The increase in the scale of water supply requires speeding up the construction and transformation of urban and rural water supply pipe networks, reducing the leakage rate of public water supply pipe networks; speeding up the construction of key water source projects, implementing a number of major water diversion projects; strengthening the use of rainwater and seawater; strengthening urban emergency response. Water lost through leakages and pipe bursts remains a top priority for utilities looking to make investments in new technologies. Network owners and operators are increasingly looking to reduce reliance on traditional technologies and methodologies, such pipe replacement or network sweeping, with more sophisticated, smart solutions involving communicating sensors, advanced imagery, and data analytics. 









Data shows that investment in the water industry has grown at an average annual rate of 24%. In 2016, the annual investment in China's water industry reached 496.352 billion yuan. The investment in the water industry in 2017 was 527.678 billion yuan. It is estimated that by 2023, the annual investment in China's water industry will exceed 860 billion yuan.



Flowtech China (Guangdong) 2021 is an annual that will take place at the same time as Watertech Guangdong 2021. The two exhibitions are co-located, which means you can conveniently visit both of them and benefit by networking and connecting with some of the biggest experts in smart water industry.  



The 6th edition of Flowtech Guangdong is organized through combined efforts of four leading design institutes in Guangzhou, Water Supply and Drainage Professional Committee (Guangdong Civil and Architectural Society), and some of the leading water groups from South China. The show is complemented by water supply and drainage design themed forums, as well as forums about water supply, smart water, industrial water treatment, and many networking opportunities with industry experts. Visiting the show could bring some new opportunties for learning about new technologies and for exploring the smart water market . 

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