15 Apr 2024 2 min read

How could new technology tackle the age-old problem of water loss?

By Elisa Piscopiello , Shichen Zhao

From acoustic loggers to smart analytics, a range of innovative technologies are leading to greater efficiency in water use. In our new whitepaper we dive into water scarcity, and how technology could help alleviate the problem. 


Enhanced monitoring and advanced modelling systems are allowing water providers to improve the resiliency and flexibility of today’s water networks.

This isn’t just about conservation; utilities around the world are increasingly needing to implement solutions to reduce ‘non-revenue water’ (NRW), which is water lost in the system before reaching paying customers.

The graphic below shows the wide range of technologies used to limit water loss, whether by detecting leaks or managing pressure to reduce the risks of leaks and bursts in the first place.


Given the range of technologies above, what might a fully integrated and future-proof system really look like? We believe it will be net zero, smart and self-sustaining:

  • Net zero: Powered by 100% renewable energy, many of the areas across the globe that are potentially most impacted by climate change and water scarcity are also those which have the potential for high levels of solar and wind power generation. By bringing together the latest efficiencies in renewables and technologies like high-efficiency RO for desalination, the opportunity exists to dramatically alter the landscape for water availability worldwide.
  • Smart: Truly smart systems can target levels of efficiency and loss prevention that would be unimaginable historically. In many global cities, 30-60% of all water is lost due to old or faulty infrastructure. Smart systems being deployed today are targeting a loss rate of 3%, a step change in efficiency.
  • Self-sustaining: By managing the full cycle of water usage, including recycling wastewater for reuse, it is possible to create closed systems that maximise overall efficiency. These networks will create additional valuable outputs: salts or other minerals from seawater such as sodium hydroxide and gypsum, or fertiliser or energy from biomass. Capturing the potential in these outputs can create additional value for a system and promote long-term self-sustainability.

The above is an extract from our new whitepaper, Clean water technologies: overcoming the challenge of a drier world. Read the whitepaper to learn more about global water scarcity, and the cutting-edge technologies offering potential solutions.

Elisa Piscopiello

Senior ETF Analyst

Elisa joined LGIM as ETF Analyst in June 2021. She contributes towards the development and analysis of investment strategies, whilst also supporting ETF distribution and marketing efforts. Prior to that, Elisa worked as Multi Asset Investment Support Executive at Liontrust, and as Investment Dealing Assistant at Architas. In 2016 she graduated from the University of Kent with a First Class degree in Financial Economics with Econometrics. She holds the Diploma in Investment Management (ESG) and is a CFA charterholder.

Elisa Piscopiello

Shichen Zhao

Thematic Research Analyst

Shichen is a Thematic Research Analyst in the ETF team, contributing to growing the thematic equity ETF range from an investments, research and analytics perspective. Before joining LGIM in August 2023, Shichen worked as an Equity Research Analyst at Candriam, with a focus on global emerging markets and thematic investment research. She graduated from National University of Singapore with a MSc degree in Management in 2019.

Shichen Zhao