Africa has the fastest growing population in the world. In just 10 years, we will need to feed an additional 470 million people. And yet a range of factors, from land degradation and reduced yield growth of major food crops to a changing climate, are making food more costly to produce. Yet there is at least one area where agri-food industries can today make large inroads in reducing their food production costs: the role of water.
An estimated 14 percent more water will be required for agriculture and food production by 2030. With water scarcity becoming a more regular issue across large parts of Africa, avoiding a water crisis in the near future requires a smarter, holistic approach to water management across the value adding chain of food production.
“Optimising the costs of water in food production will be critical in ensuring overall costs of producing food remain in line with what consumers can afford,” explains Veolia Water Technologies’ Chris Braybrooke.
For agri-food companies, the primary water objectives are to ensure safe, hygienic water quality and to reduce consumption, wastewater and energy footprint. The efficiency, cost-effectiveness and reliability of water and wastewater treatment facilities therefore play a vital role in overall business performance.
“As companies look to improve their financial performance and get more from their assets, optimal utilisation and management of their existing assets are becoming obvious economic priorities,” Braybrooke says.
They are achieving this by reaping the rewards digital technologies have brought to the plant floor: historical, real time and predictive process data; intelligent condition monitoring; remote plant visibility; and more automated supply chain management.
Veolia’s AQUAVISTA™ suite brings these capabilities to water treatment in the food and beverage industry. “AQUAVISTA™ is a complete and customisable suite of digital services that can help monitor, manage and optimise water treatment processes,” Braybrooke explains. “Equally suited to both existing and new water treatment facilities, AQUAVISTA™ aggregates and enriches plant data through a variety of applications and algorithms to provide a greater, detailed layer of plant intelligence for managers, operations and maintenance teams.”
In doing so, it is enabling companies to:
• optimise energy and chemical consumption
• improve operating efficiency and stability
• minimise maintenance and prevent costly downtime
• reduce non-compliance incidents and lower environmental impact
• enhance equipment monitoring
• gain a complete view of operating status, historically and in real time