Infrastructure is simultaneously the most significant driver and a victim of climate change.
More than 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from infrastructure, and at least 85 per cent of the world's population and infrastructure have already been affected by climate change and extreme weather events.
Many of these events link directly to water infrastructure.
According to a 2021 report by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), 54 per cent of all climate adaptation costs between 2010 and 2050 will involve the water infrastructure sector.
Climate change is exerting considerable stress on infrastructure worldwide as rising temperatures lead to unpredictable and extreme weather events.
Temperatures in the Middle East are set to rise by almost half a degree Celsius each decade, with extreme weather events – including droughts and torrential rain – becoming more common, according to a recent IMF report.
Temperatures in the Middle East are set to rise by almost half a degree Celsius each decade
Investing in water infrastructure while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions will be an extraordinary task. More so because much of the water sector’s existing infrastructure design is based on the frequency of catastrophic events, which was much lower historically than the prevalence observed today.
Digital enablers and digitalisation in general will have a critical role in overcoming these challenges.
Experts say that using digital solutions such as digital twins, smart water systems and operational intelligence systems can help countries, companies and communities to better understand the impact of changing climate patterns.
Water infrastructure needs flexible, interconnected, collaborative ecosystems. In software, this means an open-platform approach based on ecosystem collaboration.
For the sake of disclosure, transparency and cooperation, the water industry needs to take an open approach when selecting infrastructure digital twin technologies and vendors to work with.
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