Old pipes and devices
Core water grids in many countries were built a long time ago, which spells trouble several times per year. The problem is that it is always a surprise when a main bursts, because currently thereare no ways of monitoring the condition of pipes in grids reliably.
Pumps and valves face a similar problem, since the failures are noticed only when water no longer flows as intended.
SCADA systems give an incomplete picture – usually only a fraction of pumps and other devices are connected to SCADA systems, because these are very expensive. In between two monitored points, any disturbances, such as small pipe leaks are very difficult to pinpoint.
Maintenance personnel still don’t have the proper information about the situation they are going to repair or service; no electronic history of the device, no knowledge of what is actually wrong with the device or asset, where the problem is located geographically, etc. In many places the location of pipes, valves and pumps is actually found only in the heads of the senior service and maintenance personnel!
Quality and safety
Water quality and safety monitoring is a manual process in most places; scheduled water samples are taken from the grid and taken to offsite labs to test the water. This type of manual water quality monitoring is prehistoric and allows problems to go undetected and grow.
Should any pathogens or chemicals enter the drinking water grid, it is very likely that these will only be noticed when people start getting sick.