a vision for the future

Jürg Brand, Pascal Tschopp & Management Team VONROLL HYDRO

The amount of water on our planet has been the same since it was formed. So the water we use today is the same water that millions of years ago was the basis of life for dinosaurs and ferns. This simple statement might make As a short thinker one could conclude that there is no need to worry about the future of the planet’s water supply or the concept of then the chapter ZEROWATERLOSS.WORLD. But a moment’s reflection would show us that the statement is not so simple and that our reliance upon water should not be confined to the quantity available but also its quality and how it is distributed. How should what be prices (if at all) ? should water for swimming pools be treated the same as water for cooking or showering ?

From years of dealing with these questions, VONROLL HYDRO has concluded that there is an urgent need for the water industry to focus again on the fundamental requirement when dealing with an inelastic commodity – namely the safe supply of water of perfect quality. The water infrastructure industries have achieved solid results over decades but increasingly run into difficulties in recent years. As the availability of water has been taken for granted it has been assumed that the application of conventional business management principles achieve good results. We can see the failurs of such approach. Well known names have disappeared, others are bought by investment funds or big players. Further suppliers try their luck by giving their name to products which are made in Asia so as to give the appearance that the industry is still 'European'. The manufacturers of infrastructure components for water supplies focus too much on products, benchmarks and economies of scale and hardly at all on the fundamental issue, water. VONROLL HYDRO has also had to learn that the best pipe, the most innovative hydrant, is not an end in itself, but part of a larger task, namely the safe supply of water in perfect quality. This is where the infrastructure industry started and this is where it needs to focus again to take account of today’s challenges: climatic changes, population growth, demands on the standard of living, overexploitation and the normal ignorance.

ZEROWATERLOSS.WORLD is a global challenge. The summer of 2003 was the first to show even water-rich countries in Europe how vital water is to our existence and how vulnerable are the foundations of our life on earth. Although we would rather not think about such things, in 2018 we were reminded of them again. Falling groundwater levels have been observed for years. A significant cause of global migratory movements seems to be due to increasing water shortages or conflicts related to the control of water reserves. The images of the disappearing Aral Sea are well known. Cotton crops were considered more valuable than the fishing economy which had once been the mainstay of the regional economy and water was diverted from the rivers which serve the Aral Sea to irrigate the new crop; today there is virtually no sea but instead deserted boat moorings in the middle of the desert that has resulted. But these problems have seemed to be in another world. Apparently. In the Neue Zurcher Zeitung of March 9, 2019, one could read 'Australia is fighting for the last drops'. The continent's largest river system is threatened by large farms. Somehow we feel that Australia is not so far away.

The authors themselves have experienced several times how, in countries which have to produce water using energy-intensive methods such as desalination plants, more than 50% of the drinking water is lost on the way to the consumers. However, as official statistics and reports put water losses at only 10-20%, no attempt is made to reduce it. 50%WATERLOSS as consequence of misunderstood prestige.

Switzerland, whose water industry is structured and controlled on a small scale, does not seem to have water problems. The value of maintenance work and timely renewal are generally accepted as necessary and it is understood that the cost of this investment has to be reflected in the price. But all this is of little use if, as happened in 2003, Switzerland is asked to drain its reservoirs in order to protect the harvests in Lombardy. Water is an almost completely inelastic commodity. As long as it is available, we take it for granted, if it's availability is restricted or is in doubt, conflict quickly follows. The prevention of future mass misery begins today: through respect for water which is the basis of our life on the planet.

ZEROWATERLOSS.WORLD is VONROLL HYDRO’s way of making a contribution to ensuring that we give water the importance it deserves. Accordingly, ZEROWATERLOSS has been developed by VONROLL HYDRO as an open concept, usable for products and services of any supplier. HYDROPORT is the entrance gate to a ZEROWATERLOSS-future as it reports leaks, manipulations and quality problems recorded via ORTOMAT MTC technology as well as the status of maintenance work. The visualization and inventory software has been developed by the engineers of VONROLL INFRATEC in Emmenbrücke and Krakow. HYDROPORT becomes the basis for a safe water supply in the future.

For countries where infrastructures are treated as state secrets, there are stand-alone versions of HYDROPORT are available. All HYDROPORT data continues to belong s to the respective customer and is not collected and used by ZEROWATERLOSS.WORLD for business purposes.

ZEROWATERLOSS cannot be realized for free. It takes the will of those responsible to choose quality. Since the current WTO and trade agreements as well as national and local budget procedures favour low-cost solutions (and thereby the purchasing e of unnecessarily long transport routes and complex logistics), a great deal of information and persuasion is required in this area. The fatal attraction by stinginess has to be countered with a value attitude towards water, even if this cannot be reflected in simple tendering and award formulas.

Today, we are committed to ZEROWATERLOSS.WORLD, so that also our children and grandchildren can have water of perfect quality at their disposal.


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