Artificial Intelligence Towards Water Conservation: Approaches, Challenges, and Opportunities

Artificial Intelligence Towards Water Conservation: Approaches, Challenges, and Opportunities

Ravi Sharma, Vivek Gundraniya
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0301-0.ch008
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Innovation and technology are trending in the industry 4.0 revolution, and dealing with environmental issues is no exception. The articulation of artificial intelligence (AI) and its application to the green economy, climate change, and sustainable development is becoming mainstream. Water as a resource is one of them which has direct and indirect interconnectedness with climate change, development, and sustainability goals. In recent decades, several national and international studies revealed the application of AI and algorithm-based studies for integrated water management resources and decision-making systems. This chapter identifies major approaches used for water conservation and management. On the basis of a literature review, authors will outline types of approaches implemented through the years and offer instances of the ways different approaches selected for water conservation and management studies are relevant to the context.
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is not a new concept in the modern era of technology. AI was introduced in ancient time, but the word “artificial intelligence” was not coined until 1956 when Dartmouth College introduced the word Artificial Intelligence. Scientists introduced this word to describe the human mind thinking as the “Symbolic System” (Buchanan, 2005). Artificial intelligence can be captured as a brain-mimicry. AI refers to computer systems that “can sense their environment, think, learn, and act in response to what they sense and their programme objectives,” according to a World Economic Forum report published in 2018. As the fourth Industrial Revolution gains momentum, technological innovations become increasingly connected and accessible. AI has a progressive role as both knowledge and non- knowledge-based activities towards creating a positive impact while delving into urgent environmental challenges. AI together with the big data sources, information accessibility, recent advances in AI algorithms, advancements in hardware, and innovative technologies have resulted in AI to propelled out of the lab and into daily based life and industry sectors, including the energy and environment sectors (World Economic Forum, 2018). The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides another motivation for the implementation of innovative technologies for the challenges facing the environment and humanity. In the current and rapidly changing environmental issues, researchers see the role of AI as a game changer for environmental predictions and decision making. According to Coumou and Rahmstorf (2012), with climate change impacts worsening in the coming decades, as believed by many scientists, they result in increased extreme weather events and disasters. Along with climate change issues, the loss of biodiversity, conservation efforts, ocean health, clean air, and water security are important critical challenges that require transformative actions in the next decade.

According to the United Nations, the world population will increase to 8.5 billion by 2030, and demographers expect India to have the largest population (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2015). With this population size amalgamated with changing weather extremes and events, countries across the world will face water scarcity. The inefficient mechanism for water resource management is another reason contributing to water scarcity. The agriculture sector is another sector where the demand for water has increased. This sector is accountable for about 70% of the total global water withdrawal (FAO, 2017) and with the increase in population, the demand for water and efforts for conservation of resources will also show a trend by 2050. With the growing demand on water, there is a dire need for the implementation of innovative technologies that contribute to water conservation efforts. AI could play a crucial role in solving this issue. Managing water resources, designing efficient supply systems, optimizing present water resources, and planning infrastructure of water resources and safe water mechanisms can be efficiently addressed by the use of AI technologies in water resource management (Lin et al., 2018). Scientists have introduced AI in the water management field for reducing wastage of valuable resource. Researchers have reported the breakthrough cases advocating AI usage to effectively reduce water wastage. Various researchers including Tsanis et al. (2008), Yesilnacar et al. (2008), and Sahoo et al. (2006) used the effective, successful AI as a counterfeit mechanism to traditional hydrological approaches, and Kia et al. (2012), Sahay and Srivastava (2014) used for flood monitoring and management of water.

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