By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Global industrial technology firm ABB is strengthening its water business segment in the Philippines as it harmonizes existing technology with the Internet of things (IOT) to optimize water supply and resources in light of the looming water crisis in the country.
Wiljean Larano, ABB Philippines vice president and head industry segment, explained that the Swiss-based firm has been present in the water business in the country for over 50 years although it is more known here for its power business.
“ABB is already present in water business with technology and because of IOT, the technology is already with us, we just have to enhance, harmonize, organize, contextualize it, so empower people to be able to put up a solution that could lower cost,” Larano said.
ABB is more known in the Philippines in the power sector, but which has always a water component because it has circuit breakers and other technologies and equipment with similar applications.
“We’ve been here in the water business for the past 50 years, but now we are strengthening our presence because ABB is going into industrial IOT,” he added.
With its high presence in the digital and IOT spheres, Larano said there are many things they can offer and do more and better.
“We are quite excited with our new innovations and solutions,” he said adding that ABB has partnered with world’s leading tech company Microsoft.
Already, ABB’s innovation in the digital world has enabled them to segmentize the industry and been able to customize solution for a particular need of a company.
ABB has been working behind the scenes with major water utility concessionaires.
It is also in talks with the local government units to address their water needs.
“We are here to address the looming water shortage crisis in the country,” said Larano.
Larano cited a study by World Resources Institute, which showed that the Philippines ranked 57th water stressed country among the 167 economies globally. This means, the Philippines is facing a water crisis by 2040 because of climate change and population growth.
The Environmental Management Bureau also reported that only 10 percent of wastewater in the country is treated while a staggering 58 percent of groundwater is contaminated, and over 4,000 people die annually from ingesting contaminated drinking water.
Initially, ABB has offered their technical expertise and knowledge during the European Chamber’s Water Challenge Forum 2017 to an industry impacting residential and commercial users, as well as growth sectors like energy, agriculture and food and beverage.
ABB has been supplying advanced automation systems for local process industries, strengthening the power grid and supporting the potential of renewable energy.
Its technology would be able to predict any danger and risks and eventually redound to lower cost to consumers.
Larano is eager to replicate its success in Italy where its technology enabled 30 percent in savings on operations and 40 percent on maintenance cost.
According to Larano, they will be working with the major concessionaires because the technology should be able to address the cause of the problem right at the supply source.
Hopefully, he said, the ABB technology is not going to increase cost but will address sustainability of clean water supply which is being as envisioned under the Clean Water Act.
Metro Manila has only one major source of water – the La Mesa dam – for so many years already. Cebu’s demand for water is growing double digit already outstripping supply.
There are many options like building a new dam and desalinization to augment resources and ensure sustainability of supply.
“We are not addressing the present, but the future,” he added.