GE, American Water Announce Digital Alliance

The goal is to help the industry reduce environmental impacts and operating costs associated with water production, treatment, transportation, and delivery.

GE and American Water this week announced they have formed a new digital alliance to identify and explore advances in the Industrial Internet of Things to help solve key water industry challenges. The companies said their alliance will allow the industry to harness the power of data and analytics to improve the nation's water infrastructure by using GE's Predix, a cloud platform built for industry; the announcement was made on World Water Day.

The goal is to help the industry reduce environmental impacts and operating costs associated with water production, treatment, transportation, and delivery.

"We are excited to launch our new digital collaboration with American Water by combining our collective expertise in software, water technologies, and utility management to help the United States build a more sustainable and secure water future," said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO, water and distributed power for GE Power. "We are developing software, advanced predictive analytics, and diagnostic tools that will give operators the real-time data they need to better manage their critical water infrastructure assets, 24 hours a day."

"These are critical times for our nation's water infrastructure. For 130 years, American Water has been a trusted guardian of water sources and a leader in the industry, providing capital resources, research, innovation, and new technologies," said Susan Story, president and CEO of American Water. "We're proud to collaborate with GE in seeking new and innovative ways to use data analytics to continue our tradition of providing solutions to our nation's water challenges."

GE also participated in the first-ever White House Water Summit on March 22, an event held to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States. The company highlighted these four commitments to help develop a sustainable water future:

  • GE expects to invest more than $500 million in R&D during the next 10 years to fuel innovation, expertise, and global capabilities in advanced water, wastewater, and reuse technologies.
  • GE's advanced water treatment technologies, including drinking water, wastewater, reuse, and desalination applications, have helped customers treat more than 3 billion gallons of water per day, and the company intends to increase customers' daily water treatment capacity to more than 7 billion gallons in the next 10 years.
  • Since 2006, GE facilities have reduced freshwater use more than 42 percent as part of its Ecomagination strategy, and it announced 2020 commitments to reduce freshwater consumption by an additional 20 percent from the 2011 baseline, which translates to a 1.8 billion gallon reduction in total annual water usage.
  • The GE Foundation has invested more than $4.7 million on programs supporting the design, installation, and training of small-scale water purification units for community clinics and birthing centers to provide access to safe water. In the next decade, the programs are expected to produce more than 3 billion gallons of treated water at select health facilities in Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda, Cambodia, and Honduras (through a partnership of Emory University, Assist International, GE's water business, and UNICEF).

"We are in the midst of a global water crisis, and GE is striving to help solve the world's pressing water challenges with ongoing technology innovation, collaborative partnerships, and a commitment to a sustainable water future," said Markhoff. "Our planet's water resources are being threatened by climate change, drought, population growth, waste, and the rising demand for energy. To secure our water future, we need to conserve, recycle, and reuse water, reduce consumption, adopt policies, and continue to create innovative cutting-edge technologies."

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