As the Swiss population has become aware of the importance of water management after the summer drought, several innovations are being developed to limit water consumption. But these technologies are struggling to make their way to municipalities and cantons.
If water is a precious commodity for agriculture, industry or even everyone’s daily life, some companies have made water management a real business.
From its pumping to its treatment up to its distribution to arrive in household taps, innovative products are emerging all along the journey of water. Many digital tools provide all kinds of information on the quality and quantity of water used.
Spot leaks with an app
For example, the sensors provided by a French-speaking start-up, Droople, make it possible to alert when water is flowing without anyone noticing. These sensors were, among other things, integrated into a water fountain at the fire station of Orbe, in the canton of Vaud.
This water fountain from Watertec takes drinking water directly from a tap. Droople’s technology allows the fountain to be managed remotely. “The user has an app on their phone and is notified if there is a leak or if the device’s filter, where the sensor is placed, needs to be changed,” says startup founder Ramzi Bouzerda.
For Major Jonathan Gombert, who commands the Orbe plain intervention center, this technology allows “to see what is consumed”. But with each intervention, firefighters use several thousand liters of water. It would therefore rather be necessary to install sensors on the hydrants so that the impact is greater, according to Ramzi Bouzerda.
Awareness still too low?
However, municipalities and cantons do not take up this type of technology for financial or legislative reasons. According to Nicolas Lorne, president and co-founder of waterpreneurs, awareness is still low. “There is strong support from the authorities in terms of energy with subsidies for example. The same should be done for water”, he underlines.
For Sébastien Apothéloz, head of the water department of the city of Lausanne, the solution is not so simple. “The water sector is self-financed, it is the taxes that make it possible to manage everything. The support programs should therefore be managed in a precise manner”, he specifies at the microphone of the Morning.
“I think it’s difficult to go faster because we are in an area where the infrastructure is made to last a long time,” adds Sébastien Apothéloz. According to him, the city of Lausanne “can still make progress in avoiding leaks, but individual behavior is also very important”.
>> Sébastien Apothéloz’s interview in La Matinale: