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🗣️ The Invisible Part of the Water Industry

Words on Water

Photo by Joshua Tsu / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Travis Loop
Guest: Antoine Walter | Senior Business Development Manager | GF Piping Systems
Category: 🗣️ Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:57| “We are this invisible part of the water industry. We ensure that flow is flowing, which sounds obvious, but it's not that obvious. So usually you have a need, you want your water to go from A to B. And if you're a process company, that's where your thinking stops. And that's where we started. […] We deliver the pipes, the fittings, the sensors, the valves, the actuators, whatever would be needed to have this water flowing. […] So we are somehow a flow company.”

[4:40] “Infrastructure upgrades can have many different forms. […] But it's also a challenge, because you have to fit new processes into existing infrastructure. And that's where we think that we can be helping the companies which are looking to upgrade. Because it needs a special arrangement of products, it needs a special arrangement of systems and solutions. And that can be challenging, but the beauty […] of being in this bottom part of the water industry is that we are discussing with many people. And usually, if you're a utility, you have to upgrade once every 20, 30, 40 years. If you're a supplier on this bottom part of the pyramid, we have the chance of assisting people to upgrade every second day.”

[6:52] “The reason why we go into this decentralized, distributed approach has much to do with […] existing infrastructure. Because if you add more people into the cities, and […] there's going to be about 70% of humanity living in cities towards 2050. And in some areas of the world like Asia, or in some parts of the US, it's already the case today. […] The existing infrastructure [will] come to a limit. […] You have a choice, whether you arrays, everything and build back bigger, or you try to add more capacity outside of the core of your network. And when you add more capacity, it definitely goes and leads into those approaches of having decentralized approaches and treating water a bit closer to the point where it's used.

[7:48] “The developed world’s route is to say, we have those cities, and we need to be clever in that use of water. And that's what you see in the US for instance in San Francisco, in Los Angeles, in New York, in parts of Texas, that you more and more have onsite reuse of water. Because it makes little sense […] to use 100% drinking water in the full building for whatever appliance you have […]. 95% of the water needs can be covered with different shades of grey water. And that means new routes for water, new treatments and shorter use loops.”

[8:29] “In another part of the word, they don't have exactly the same infrastructure. […] If you look for instance, in Brazil, there's something very powerful, which is the condominium. A condominium is a decentralized approach. It's saying that for your part of the city, you're going to gather with your neighbors, and you're going to build your micro utility, […] which you're going to manage and which you're going to support yourself. So there's still a central utility, which is helping you with the global planning, […] with some engineering and stuff like that, but on the local scheme the first responsible is the citizen. And that blended approach between traditional utility and now local solution is a very powerful way to give access to water and wastewater to these billions of people which are lacking access today, because it's cheaper to some extent, but it gives you also a better ownership of water.”

[11:51] “Industry today is 20% of the world's use in terms of water. And those 20% are the ones you can […] short[en] easier […] [than the] water people drink. […] And shortening that water means that most of the time regulators come to the industrial players and say, you have two choices, whether you simply close or you don't use water anymore, that's not possible, or you treat it yourself. […] And most of the time, you're not an expert in the water loop and the water use within your factory. And most of the time those industries don't even understand exactly where water flows. We've seen cases where they know what was entering the factory and they know water is coming out of that factory. But what happens in between is kind of black magic.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify (Original Title: "Spotting & Supporting the Trends")
🕰️ 26 min | 🗓️ 12/07/2021
✅ Time saved: 24 min