Tuesday, July 17, 2012


"Naresh"
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Research in Real Time

Nourishing the Planet

Dear Naresh,

Every Thursday, for the last two years, Nourishing the Planet has featured an "Innovation of the Week" which has ranged from Multifunction Platforms and Tobacco as an Organic Pesticide to Fertilizer Tree Systems, Open Source Software, Seed Banks, Agroforestry, Compatible Technologies, and School Food Gardens.

Today, we are asking you to tell us what innovations you think we should write about. What are some exciting and innovative things you know about that can be scaled up and replicated in other parts of the world?

We want to share your innovations within the Nourishing the Planet community, so email me your suggestions so that we can showcase your incredible work on our website.

This week we highlight a groundbreaking report by the International Livestock Research Institute which reveals the heavy disease burden of zoonoses, or human-animal transmitted diseases, for one billion of the world’s poor livestock holders. We also reported on the DuPont Food Security Forum, where the Economist Intelligence Unit launched the Global Food Security Index developed to address the need for “specific metrics to illustrate what food security looks like at the local level, country by country.” And we discuss a recent New York Times article about India’s agricultural policy and its implications for food security throughout the country. 

 
All the best,
Danielle Nierenberg
Nourishing the Planet Project Director
Worldwatch Institute
www.nourishingtheplanet.org
Email: dnierenberg@nourishingtheplanet.org
Phone: +1-202-590-1037
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Here are some highlights from the week:
Rebuilding Degraded Ecosystems through Farming

What Works: Rebuilding Degraded Ecosystems through Farming

According to the UN Environment Programme some 60 percent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded over the past 50 years. With increasingly scarce land and water resources expected in the coming decades, as well as rising demand for food, farmers will need to find ways to produce more on the world’s remaining arable land. Without alternatives, expansion of agriculture can lead to deforestation and loss of other vital ecosystems that millions of people rely on for their livelihoods. But some innovative farmers are producing more food by using agriculture to rebuild ecosystems and turn degraded land into productive farms.

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Pest Management

Five Ways to Get Rid of Pests Without Using Chemicals

Pests can be, well, a pest. They infest crops and reduce yields, decreasing overall agricultural production and food security. To deal with pests, such as mealybugs or spider mites, most farmers use chemical pesticides which can negatively impact public health, pollute water supplies through runoff, and, if pesticides are misused or overused, can actually kill plants. Finding new methods to get rid of pests without requiring chemical inputs has increasingly become a priority for many farmers. In this post, Nourishing the Planet presents five crop management methods that control pests without using chemical pesticides.

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Zoonotic Diseases

Groundbreaking Report on Zoonotic Diseases and Poverty

Some 60 percent of all human diseases, and 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases, are zoonotic (human-animal transmitted infectious diseases). In light of these staggering figures, the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute recently released a report mapping the top 20 geographical hotspots of emerging zoonotic diseases and emerging disease outbreaks. Among the study’s findings, the report reveals the heavy disease burden of zoonoses for one billion of the world’s poor livestock holders, in addition to surprising new data on emerging diseases in industrialized countries, many of which have never been mapped.
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SPIN Farming

Innovation of the Week: Small Plot Intensive Farming

Our innovation of the week is SPIN, or Small Plot INtensive Farming, a sustainable alternative to the large, monoculture farms that dominate agriculture in the United States. In addition to giving tips on how to maximize space efficiency on land, SPIN leaves much of the actual growing decisions in the hands of the farmer. According to SPIN Farming, a business that trains would-be farmers how to farm profitably on as little as 5,000 square feet, its system “is not predicated on any one set of life principals or philosophy, or any one method of soil prep or maintenance. It can be combined with biointensive, biodynamic, permaculture, vermaculture, aquaculture, double dig, [or] no till.”
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Bruce Melton

Saturday Series: An Interview with Bruce Melton

In this interview, we speak with Bruce Melton, an independent civil engineer who focuses his work on environmental and climate change awareness. Through books, documentaries, and even songs, Melton works to remove the disconnect between what the public knows and what climate scientists know. “My main goal is to educate our government officials as well as the public because we cannot create change with environmental leaders alone.”
 

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Indian Agricultural Policy
Indian Food Policy: A Plentiful Harvest while Millions Starve

According to a recent New York Times article, agricultural policy in India is shaped by two central goals: to achieve higher, more stable prices for farmers than they would normally achieve in an open market, and to distribute food to the poor at lower prices than is available from private stores. India ranks second in the world in agricultural output, and the sector employs 52 percent of the labor force. Yet a fifth of its people are malnourished, double the rate of countries such as Vietnam and China.

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Global Food Security Index
The Global Food Security Index: Together, We Can Feed the World

On July 10, the Economist Intelligence Unit, the economic development research arm of The Economist, launched the Global Food Security Index at the DuPont Food Security Forum. The Index was commissioned by DuPont to address the need for “specific metrics to illustrate what food security looks like at the local level, country by country.” It rates and ranks 105 different countries (only 105 were included based on available and reliable data) and provides an interactive way to assess individual countries on where they rank based on a variety of indicators ranging from food consumption as a share of household expenditure, agricultural infrastructure, and food safety.

http://www.facebook.com/WorldwatchAg  @NourishPlanet on Twitter 

Kuri
The Kuri: A Unique Study in Natural Selection

The Kuri cattle are a rare breed, found along the shores of the Lake Chad Basin as well as across north-eastern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, and Niger. Kuri are classified as humpless longhorns, but are known by many other names such as Baharie, DongolĂ©, Koubouri, or Buduma. The most common name, Kuri, stems from the regional tribe who herded the breed for centuries in the Lake Chad area. The Kuri breed is characterized by its unique horns. Though the horns can be anything from 60–150 cm in length, the internal fibrous material and thin exterior casing leaves the horns surprisingly lightweight. These hollow horns are used as flotation devices, necessitated by the breed's semi-aquatic habitat.

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News from the Smart Water Networks Forum
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SWAN Forum

In this edition:

  • SWAN Asia inaugural event
  • SWAN US workshop
  • New SWAN members
  • Upcoming Event in IWA World Congress, Busan
  • Interview with Rick Nicholson, IDC Energy Insights
  • Black & Veatch, TaKaDu utility surveys results
  • Member News

Welcome!

New SWAN Members

Gentrack

Logo: Gentrack

Gentrack is a specialist developer of smart billing, CRM, collections and meter data management solutions for energy and water utilities. Extensive knowledge of these industries and a proven track record in developing, implementing and supporting its leading software, Gentrack Velocity and mDATA21, is what sets Gentrack apart from other vendors.


IDC Energy Insights

Logo: IDC E.I.


IDC Energy Insights provides research-based advisory and consulting services focused on market and technology developments in the energy and utility industries. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of direct industry experience, IDC Energy Insights covers the energy value chain – upstream, wholesale, delivery, and customer service – providing independent, timely, and relevant analysis focused on key business/tech issues. 


Metropolitan Waterworks Authority

Logo: MWA

Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) is a state enterprise under the Thailand Ministry of Interior. Our mission is to provide good quality water supply to residences, businesses, and industries in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and Samut Prakan.Keeping providing good quality water at the most affordable price, we wish all the 8 million people we are serving have good health, as stated in the motto "Water for People".


Quasset

Logo: Quasset


Quasset is a customer oriented company that provides Asset Integrity Management (AIM) and Condition Assessment solutions to private companies and public utilities in the Benelux and beyond. Established in 2011, the company helps clients improve their AIM and in the process, push the frontiers of AIM and condition assessment with a unique cross-disciplinary approach.
 


 

SWAN Forum @ IWA World Congress, Busan, Korea

September 16-21, Busan

Logo: IWA Congress Busan

SWAN members are invited to take part in a 2-day workshop co-organized by SWAN titled "Water NExT (Network Efficiency meets Technology)" on Wednesday-Thurdsay September 19-20th.

The SWAN Forum is also looking at having a SWAN PoP booth for the benefit of members who do not have their own booth.

To inquire about participation in SWAN Forum activities write to iwa2012@swan-forum.com
 

SWAN on LinkedIn - Join the discussion

SWAN on LinkedIn
The SWAN Group in LinkedIn allows the forum to reach out to the entire community of smart water network experts - forum members and non-members, and to engage in open discussion around topics of interest.
To join the group click here.

The SWAN Update - Monthly News from the Smart Water Networks Forum

Dear members and colleagues,

It was a hot month everywhere on the globe, and the SWAN Forum practically caught fire. Fourty action-packed days around the globe since our last newsletter. Nothing may be new under the sun, but quite a lot is new ‘under the SWAN’. The forum has made its North American debut, the first SWAN US event in Dallas, TX, and the inaugural SWAN Asia event in Singapore. In between these two regional events, the forum welcomed quite a few new members. Details on the two events and the new members can be found in this edition of the newsletter.

One of the new members is IDC Energy Insights. In this month’s member interview we speak with Rick Nicholson, Group Vice President, on the findings of the group’s newest smart water market report, available for download to all SWAN members.

Three additional SWAN events will take place in Asia in the coming months – a 2-day workshop titled “Water NExT – Network Efficiency meets Technology” as part of the IWA Congress in Busan, Korea; a half-day SWAN workshop as part of the Smart Utility Australia and New Zealand (SUANZ) conference; and a series of SWAN presentations and discussions as part of the Water Loss Asia conference. We will soon be announcing the dates of the SWAN UK 2012 conference and working group meetup, currently planned for November.

A recent Black & Veatch survey on American utilities, and TaKaDu’s latest survey on global utilities, have identified an increase in utilities focus on data and data-driven technologies for increased efficiency. You can read below some of the findings of these two surveys.

As always, we bring you news and analysis from the smart water front. We also share with you a few discussion threads from our LinkedIn group.

Wishing you a cool and calm summer time!


Guy Horowitz
SWAN Forum Chairman



SWAN’s Asian Debut Attracts Over 100 Delegates 
On Sunday, July 1st the SWAN Forum officially kickstarted its Asian activities in a 4-hour workshop supported by the Singapore Public Utilities Board. Four water utilities and Four technology companies presented their smart water network activities, and 2 expert panels highlighted the opportunities and the challenges facing adoption of data-driven technologies by Asian utilities.

SWAN AsiaMr. Chew Men Leong, Chief Executive of PUB, noted in his welcome speech: “One way to strengthen our processes to meet future challenges is better data collection. More data need to be collected to support real-time monitoring and control, given the large spatial distribution of the network. These could include deploying more sensors in the networks. Firstly, we need to get the right sensors. Then, we need to place the sensors at the right locations. With the data collected, analysis software can then help to decipher network conditions and health. Advanced analytics can also assist in network operations and predictive maintenance”.

Rik Thijssen from Vitens (Netherlands) shared with the delegates his company’s vision for the smart water grid, and the status of the Vitens Innovation Playground project. Mr. Ding Carpio from Manilla Water (Philippines) presented the utility’s distribution efficiency strategy and demand-based network management, and the role they played in transforming Manila Water into an efficient utility (for example, NRW went down from 63% in 1997 to 11% last year).

Mr. Komet Poempoonchokkana from MWA (Thailand) presented three data-driven initiatives in MWA (Pressure management, demand forecasting and water network control) and discussed system integration as a driver for intelligent water network management. This was followed by an expert panel, in which all utility representatives confirmed that their strategy relies in part on their willingness to test or trial new technologies – at a reduced cost wherever possible. The generational challenge was also discussed, and utility representatives shared not only the average age in the utility, but also internal processes for getting ‘younger blood’ into decision-making positions.

Solutions providers IBM, ABB and Hitachi who took stage after the networking break, shared their experience in getting smart water network technologies to the market, and confirmed the existence of an innovation financing gap – new technologies’ penetration depends on reducing barriers to entry, of which price is still a major component. Low appetite for innovation and relatively slow process of technology adoption in water utilities are offset in Asia (and elsewhere) by clear need for advanced technologies to address the challenges.

Image: SWAN Booth
The workshop was a great start for the forum’s activities in Asia, and it was immediately followed by SWAN's presence in the Water Expo in SIngapore. SWAN's booth was 'home away from home' for members and their guests, showcasing their technologies and holding meetings. But that's only the beginning - SWAN will be involved with several additional Asian events in 2012 (see side-bar on SWAN @ IWA Busan). Melchior van Wijlen, Director of SWAN Asia, can be contacted at Melchior@swan-forum.com

You can find all presentations and the welcome speech of Mr. Chew in the SWAN Asia web-page.




SWAN US Event Yields Position Paper, Proposes Way Forward


Photo: SWAN Workshop at ACEOn June 12th SWAN held its first US event as part of the AWWA conference (ACE) in Dallas, Texas.
Over 60 industry stakeholders – utilities, solution providers, consultants and investors – engaged in discussion over the present and future state of water networks in North America and the activities in which the industry may engage in order to promote a faster adoption of data-driven approaches by utilities (and vendors) in the market.

Preceded by four presentations (downloadable from the SWAN US web-page), four discussion groups engaged in a 90-minute long open conversation. Discussion leaders produced write-ups which were consolidated into a position paper. Workshop participants identified several areas where the SWAN Forum can have significant impact on the adoption of smart water network technologies in the North American market, and several venues for future operation are laid out in the position paper, available for download from the SWAN Forum website



Rick Nicholson, IDC Energy Insights: “Adoption rates for smart water network management solutions will outpace growth rates for smart water metering” 

IDC Energy Insights, one of the forum’s newest members is IDC Energy Insights, has recently published a reoprt on the smart water market. The report features several case studies, and mentions SWAN members Arad Technologies, Bentley Systems, Cisco, Derceto, Echologics, i2OWater, IBM, Itron, Pure Technologies, Schneider Electric (Telvent), Sensus, Siemens, Syrinix and TaKaDu.

In this month’s member interview we speak with Rick Nicholson, Group Vice President of IDC Energy Insights, on the findings of the smart water market report, available for download to all SWAN members via this link.

Here is an excerpt from the full interview, available on the SWAN website:

Image: Rick NicholsonRick, can you share with us some of the key conclusions and takeaways of your recent work?

Rick: “The threat of water scarcity or shortages and the need to manage aging infrastructure are driving water utilities and other organizations responsible for water supply to consider smart technology–based solutions to reduce water losses and enable water conservation. However, current deployment rates of these solutions are low because of a lack of understanding regarding the business case for investment, few successful case study examples, issues with technology availability and maturity, and the fragmented nature of the water utility market. Water utilities considering whether or not to invest in smart water solutions must understand the current and projected capabilities of, the potential benefits and risks associated with, and the experiences of other utilities in deploying these smart water solutions.

We believe that […] adoption rates for smart water network management solutions will outpace growth rates for smart water metering. The business case for smart water network management solutions is more straightforward since it does not rely upon changes in consumer behavior — just the achievement of loss reduction and energy saving targets. Smart water network management solutions also typically have lower capital costs since they do not require the replacement or retrofitting of all customer meters..


the full interview can be found in the interview section on the SWAN website.


Featured Research: Utility Surveys by Black & Veatch, TaKaDu focus on Utility Priorities
Information Technology ranks low on B&V's research; Operational efficiency scores high on TaKaDu's survey

Black & Veatch’s inaugural “Strategic Directions in the U.S. Water Utility Industry Report” was published last month. This report serves to provide insights on the common challenges and opportunities facing the water and wastewater industry based on the analysis of survey responses from water utility leaders. The report highlights the relative lack of importance placed by survey respondents on information technology, in comparison with other issues. Information technology ranked 9th out of 10 key issues. Interestingly, top concerns were asset aging, capital costs, energy costs and expanding regulation – all of which could be significantly improved through data-driven approaches.

Chart: Importance of industry issues, B&VAs noted in the research, “One activity that would significantly help utilities more efficiently manage water resources is the collection and analysis of real-time data through smart infrastructure/grid programs. Wireless communications offer the potential for greater efficiency as compared with system elements that operate independently. Immediate access to the right data moves decision-making closer to real-time and can greatly improve efficiency within the water industry. Overall, integrated planning to most effectively manage all utility resources is becoming one of the most important activities for utilities moving forward. This requires a holistic evaluation of all assets and resources using life-cycle analysis to determine the economic impacts of potential energy reduction and resource recovery actions.

A few weeks ago, TaKaDu has published the initial results from a global utility survey conducted in the past few months. According to this survey’s results, utilities worldwide are less concerned with regulation than the B&V US research reveals, and operational efficiency seems to be the primary concern of utility executives and staff.

B&V’s research and TaKaDu’s preliminary survey results are available on the SWAN website. Members of water utilities wishing to comment or elaborate on the findings of these reports are invited to do so via a short follow-up survey.



News from SWAN Members

American Water receives Water Research Foundation grant for backflow monitoring project 

July 10, 2012

Logo: American WaterAmerican Water has received a grant from the Water Research Foundation to conduct a joint research project with Utah State University to measure the frequency of backflow through residential water meters.

The project is titled, “Case Studies to Identify Occurrence, Accuracy and Causative Factors of Reverse Flow as Measured by Meters.” The total value of the project is nearly $650,000. American Water will directly receive $202,000 to pay for research costs.

“We are pleased that the Water Research Foundation has provided the opportunity to examine this important research topic,” said Dr. Orren Schneider, Senior Environmental Engineer for American Water’s Innovation and Environmental Stewardship department. “By examining and quantifying the rate of residential backflow occurrence we will be better able to determine if there are any associated public health risks. This project will also enable us to develop methods to monitor and fix the causes of these backflow events.”

Typically water flows from the water distribution pipe through the water meter into residential premises. “Backflow” occurs when the water flows backwards through the meter from the home into the drinking water system. Backflow is a concern because any contaminants in the household plumbing could be drawn back into the drinking water system.

American Water is partnering with Steven Barfuss, Research Assistant Professor, Utah Water Research Laboratory at the Utah State University, to monitor the occurrence of backflow as reported by “intelligent” water meters and to determine the accuracy of these meters as they flow in reverse. The water industry will benefit from this research by understanding how often water flow in residences reverses itself and ways to investigate and mitigate these occurrences.

The project team will consist of Dr. Schneider as Principal Investigator, with American Water Research Manager David Hughes, and Utah State’s Mr. Barfuss, as Co-Principal Investigators. 

 
Itron and Siemens part of Envision Charlotte’s “Smart Water Now” Program
July 10, 2012

Logos: Itron, SiemensItron, Siemens, CH2M Hill and Verizon announced that Envision Charlotte - a unique public-private initiative that leverages sustainability for economic growth as a model for all communities - is launching its second model program, Smart Water Now. Smart Water Nowsm is a water measurement and efficiency program that will follow the first-of-its-kind Smart Energy Now program already underway.

Envision Charlotte and the City of Charlotte are collaborating with leading solution providers to design and install the system. CH2M Hill is managing the entire project; Itron is providing water communication modules, the network infrastructure, cloud services and data aggregation; and Verizon will gather the water usage data from a network of machine-to-machine (M2M) devices and transport near real-time information to kiosks utilizing its 4G LTE network. Siemens is providing project support.

Building occupants can track the city’s progress on interactive kiosks, smart phones and web sites along with existing energy information. The design has been established, the downtown surveys have begun and Envision Charlotte expects to have its new program in place in the fall of 2012.

“These solution providers are demonstrating innovation and leadership by providing their expertise, technology and services to help us create models for communities anywhere in the world,” said Tom Shircliff, Chairman, Envision Charlotte. “The teamwork between our partners is unparalleled.”

Like its sister program for energy, Smart Water Now will aggregate information into a single number representing the total uptown usage, then drive awareness and behavior change to reduce consumption. The results will lower operational costs, improve sustainability, engage occupants and contribute to the overall value proposition of working and living in Center City. “Our Center City offers one of the most compelling cases in the country for attracting business and talent and this Envision Charlotte program adds another significant facet,” said Michael Smith, Chairman and CEO, Charlotte Center City Partners.

The City of Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department (CMUD) support Envision Charlotte’s vision and play a foundational role in the initiative. “Envision Charlotte is creating a model for communities and demonstrating the link between sustainability and growth,” said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, who pushed for the initiative’s creation. “I applaud the leadership and innovation from our utility and the solution partners with whom they are working. Charlotte is the first city in the world to endeavor to reduce the carbon footprint of its central business district and together we are working to make Center City Charlotte the most environmentally sustainable center city on the planet.”

CH2M Hill is managing the entire project, in which Itron is providing water communication modules, the network infrastructure, cloud services and data aggregation.“Itron is pleased to participate in this innovative program. Working collaboratively—cities, utilities, governments, private sector businesses and technology partners—we can transform the way the energy and water is consumed and managed,” said Mark deVere-White, senior vice president, of Itron North America. “As smart city initiatives, like Charlotte’s, continue to expand, the convergence of energy and water data under a unified, common platform will simplify this transformation and help shape a sustainable future.”

Verizon will gather the water usage data from a network of machine-to-machine (M2M) devices and transport near real-time information to kiosks utilizing its 4G LTE network, and Siemens is providing project support. “Siemens is pleased to collaborate with all the partners associated with this forward-thinking and innovative project,” said Dave Hopping, vice president and Business Unit Lead for Siemens Building Technologies Division. “Since the National League of Cities forum last September we have increasingly realized the need to use Catawba River water resources more efficiently. The Water Pillar goals perfectly align with Siemens expertise in helping building owners reduce energy and water consumption. Helping to create the Smart Water Now™ network is the logical first step and provides a laboratory for an innovative solution.”.

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