ecoVaro to tackle water stress

For many people within the UK, water is not really something to worry about. Surely enough of it falls out the sky throughout the year that it does feel highly unlikely that we?ll ever run out of it. There certainly does seem to be an abundance of Branded Water available in plastic bottles on our supermarket shelves.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner ? Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Despite this, Once-unthinkable water crises are becoming commonplace.  If you consider that In England and Wales, we use 16 billion litres of clean drinking water every day ? that’s equivalent to 6,400 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Currently, water companies can provide slightly more than we need ? 2 billion litres are available above and beyond what we’re using.  In some areas, though, such as south east England, there is no surplus and, as such, these regions are more likely to face supply restrictions in a dry year.

If we take little moment to reflect on some of the most notable water related stories over the past few years, we’ll start to get a picture of just how real the potential and the threat of water shortages can be.

Reservoirs in Chennai, India?s sixth-largest city, are nearly dry right now. Last year, residents of Cape Town, South Africa narrowly avoided their own Day Zero water shut-off.

It was only year before that, Rome rationed water to conserve scarce resources.

Climate change is likely to mean higher temperatures which may drive up the demand for water (alongside population growth) and increase evaporation from reservoirs and water courses during spring and summer.

The impact of climate change on total rainfall is uncertain, but the rain that does fall is likely to arrive in heavier bursts in winter and summer. Heavier rain tends to flow off land more quickly into rivers and out to sea, rather than recharging groundwater aquifers.

A greater chance of prolonged dry periods is also conceivable.  This combined with the harsh reality that no human population can sustain itself without sufficient access to fresh water.

If present conditions continue, 2 out of 3 people on Earth will live within a water-stressed zone by 2025

What is water stress?

Water stress is a term used to describe situation when demand for water is greater than the amount of water available at a certain period in time, and also when water is of poor quality and this restricts its usage. Water stress means deterioration in both the quantity of available water and the quality of available water due to factors affecting available water.

Water stress refers to the ability, or lack thereof, to meet human and ecological demand for water. Compared to scarcity, water stress is a more inclusive and broader concept.

Water Stress considers several physical aspects related to water resources, including water scarcity, but also water quality, environmental flows, and the accessibility of water.

Supply and Demand

Major factors involved when water scarcity strikes is when a growing populations demand for water exceeds the areas ability to service that need.

Increased food production and development programs also lead to increased demand for water, which ultimately leads to water stress.

Increased need for agricultural irrigation in order to produce more crops or sustain livestock are major contributors to localised water stress.

Overconsumption

The demand for water in a given population is fairly unpredictable.  Primarily, based on the fact that you can never accurately predict human behaviour and changes in climate.

If too many people are consuming more water than they need because they mistakenly believe that water is freely available and plentiful, then water stress could eventually occur.

This is also linked to perceived economic prosperity of a give region.  Manufacturing demand for water can have huge impact regardless whether water is actively used within the manufacturing process or not.

Water Quality

Water quality in any given area is never static.  Water stress could happen as a result of rising pollution levels having a direct impact on water quality.

Water contamination happens when new industries either knowingly or unknowingly contaminate water with their industrial practices.

Largely, this can happen and frequently does so because these industries do not take effective control of monitoring and managing their impact on communal water supplies.  Incorrectly assuming this is the responsibility of an additional third party like the regional water company.

The truth is, water quality and careful monitoring of it is all of our responsibility.

Water Scarcity

Simple increases in demand for water can in itself contribute to water scarcity. However,  these are often preceded by other factors like poverty or just the natural scarcity of water in the area.

In many instances, the initial locations of towns or cities were not influenced by the close proximity of natural resources like water, but rather in pursuit of the extraction of other resources like Gold, Coal or Diamonds.

For Instance, Johannesburg,  South Africa is the largest City in South Africa and is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. It is also located in the mineral rich Witwatersrand range of hills and is the centre of large-scale gold and diamond trade.

Johannesburg is also one of the only major cities of the world that was not built on a river or harbour.   However, it does have streams that contribute to two of Southern Africas mightiest rivers – Limpopo and the Orange rivers.  However, most of the springs from which many of these streams emanate are now covered in concrete!

Water Stress and Agriculture

Peter Buss, co-founder of Sentek Technology calls ground moisture a water bank and manufactures ground sensors to interrogate it. His hometown of Adelaide is in one of the driest states in Australia. This makes monitoring soil water even more critical, if agriculture is to continue. Sentek has been helping farmers deliver optimum amounts of water since 1992.

The analogy of a water bank is interesting. Agriculturists must ?bank? water for less-than-rainy days instead of squeezing the last drop. They need a stream of real-time data and utilize cloud-based storage and processing power to curate it.

Sentek?s technology can be found in remote places like Peru?s Atacamba desert and the mountains of Mongolia, where it supports sustainable floriculture, forestry, horticulture, pastures, row crops and viticulture through precise delivery of scarce water.

This relies on precision measurement using a variety of drill and drop probes with sensors fixed at 4? / 10cm increments along multiples of 12? / 30cm up to 4 times. These probe soil moisture, soil temperature and soil salinity, and are readily repositioned to other locations as crops rotate.

Peter Buss is convinced that measurement is a means to an end and only the beginning. ?Too often, growers start watering when plants don’t really need it, wasting water, energy, and labour. By accurately monitoring water can be saved until when the plant really needs it.

Peter also emphasises that crop is the ultimate sensor, and that ?we should ask the plant what it needs?.

This takes the debate a stage further. Water wise farmers should plant water-wise crops, not try to close the stable door after the horse has bolted and dry years return.

The South Australia government thinks the answer also lies in correct farm dam management. It wants farmers to build ones that allow sufficient water to bypass in order to sustain the natural environment too.

There is more to water management than squeezing the last drop. Soil moisture goes beyond measuring for profit. It is about farming sustainably using data from sensors to guide us.

Ecovaro is ahead of the curve as we explore imaginative ways to exploit the data these provide for the common good of all.

A Quarter of the World?s Population, Face High Water Stress

Data from WRI?s Aqueduct tools reveal that 17 countries ? home to one-quarter of the world?s population?face ?extremely high? levels of baseline water stress, where irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities withdraw more than 80% of their available supply on average every year. 

Water stress poses serious threats to human lives, livelihoods and business stability. It’s poised to worsen unless countries act: Population growth, socioeconomic development and urbanization are increasing water demands, while climate change can make precipitation and demand more variable.  

How to manage water stress

Water stress is just one dimension of water security. However, like any challenge, its outlook depends on adequate monitoring and management of environmental data.

Even countries with relatively high water stress have effectively secured their water supplies through proper management by leveraging the knowledge they have garnered by learning from the data they gathered.

3 ways to help reduce water stress

In any geography, water stress can be reduced by measures ranging from common sense to innovative technology solutions.

There are countless solutions, but here are three of the most straightforward:

1. Increase agricultural efficiency: The world needs to make every drop of water go further in its food systems. Farmers can use seeds that require less water and improve their irrigation techniques by using precision watering rather than flooding their fields.

Businesses need to increase investments to improve water productivity, while engineers develop technologies that improve efficiency in agriculture.

Consumers can reduce food loss and waste, which uses one-quarter of all agricultural water.

2. Invest in grey and green infrastructure:  D Data produced by Aqueduct Alliance  –  shows that water stress can vary tremendously over the year.  WRI and the World Bank?s research shows that built infrastructure (like pipes and treatment plants) and green infrastructure (like wetlands and healthy watersheds) can work in tandem to tackle issues of both water supply and water quality.

3. Treat, reuse and recycle:  We need to stop thinking of wastewater as waste.

Treating and reusing it creates a ?new? water source.

There are also useful resources in wastewater that can be harvested to help lower water treatment costs. For example, plants in Xiangyang, China and Washington, D.C. reuse or sell the energy- and nutrient-rich byproducts captured during wastewater treatment.

Summary

The data is undeniably clear, there are very worrying trends in water.

Businesses and other other organisations need to start taking action now and investing in better monitoring and management, we can solve water issues for the good of people, economies and the planet. We collectively cannot kick this can down the road any further, or assume that this problem will be solved by others.

It is time, for a collective sense of responsibility and for everyone to invest in future prosperity of our Planet as a collective whole.  Ecological preservation should be at the forefront of all business plans because at the end of the day profit is meaningless without an environment to enjoy it in!

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Implementing Large-Scale Complex Business Change

Sometimes, driving your people to work harder is not enough for your organisation to withstand the pressures laying siege to it. With uncertain economic conditions, unpredictable fresh competition, and looming threats from the environment or even pandemic-grade diseases, empowering your people to not only ‘think’ but also to ‘step’ out of the box is currently the name of the game.

However, such initiatives typically require sweeping changes throughout your entire organisation … and to think even the slightest change is often met with hard resistance.

Whether you’re about to undergo an M&A, relocate due to a major catastrophe, scale down to a skeletal workforce, or implement a brand-new company-wide strategy, our systematic approach to large-scale complex business change can help you make the transition as seamless as possible.

We understand the importance of the human aspect in change management. That is why we’ll focus on making your people appreciate the benefits of having to learn new skills, perform new tasks, employ modern technologies, and go through new processes in order to tone down the resistance level.

Our entire process spans from top to bottom, wherein we’ll start with your sponsors, down to your managers, and then to other stakeholders in making them appreciative of the needed changes and in order to achieve alignment with your organisation’s goals. Our top to bottom approach is also aimed at casting a positive “shadow of the leader” on people down the line, enabling them with an optimistic view despite the gruelling tasks before them.

We invite you to have a look at the steps we take in implementing large-scale complex business change to win over a strong and lasting commitment to it.

Evaluating the Required Change

Large-scale complex business change initiatives can be implemented expeditiously and economically if you’ve clearly defined the scope of the change as well as the forces that shape your organisation. You’ll want to know which areas yield easily and which are hard to change to determine where and how you’re going to focus more of your efforts on.

To arrive at a sound and systematic plan, we first gather as much information as needed and analyse them. We determine whether your departments have the required capabilities and how we can arrive at a clear organisational alignment. That way, we don’t waste time, effort and resources when the moment comes to carry out the plan.

These are some of the diagnostic procedures we perform in evaluating the required change.

  • Change complexity analysis. We’ll assess the contribution of people and task factors to the overall complexity of the change project. This will help us determine how to approach the problem efficiently.
  • Causal analysis. By establishing cause and effect relationships, we can identify root or circular causes. This will allow us to pinpoint problem areas and prevent a repetition of past mistakes.
  • Structural analysis. Any company is propped up by a number of structures: organisational, process, motivational, social, and physical, among others. Understanding the structures that drive, motivate, hamper, connect, and influence your people’s behaviours can provide insights as to how or where structural change can best be executed.
  • Context analysis. We’ll look into market forces as well as political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors enveloping your business. We’ll also analyse your driving objectives, organisational alignment, and organizational capabilities. By analysing the internal and external environment in which your business currently operates, we can formulate a customised strategic and effective plan of action.

Managing Stakeholders

Change initiatives won’t prosper without total commitment from all stakeholders. Stakeholders refer to people in your organisation who either have interests in the change project or can be affected by it.

We deal with your stakeholders starting from the top because if we can’t gain full commitment from those already in the best position to spur the diverse entities in your company into active cooperation, striving to secure commitment from other areas will be futile.

That is, if you don’t have the full support of your key and principal sponsors, i.e. the people who have the biggest say and have greatest control over resources in your organisation, you can’t hope to sustain the change endeavour, let alone provide the much needed spark to get it started.

Here’s how we carry out our stakeholder management actions.

  • Conduct research to identify all stakeholders: the sponsors, your internal and external partners, the main targets of the change, and all interested parties. That way you can “switch on” implementors of each change action in the proper sequence.
  • Not everyone will offer resistance to your change endeavours. We’ll help you identify those stakeholders and sponsors who are willing to offer support, evaluate the level of support they are willing to give, harness all available supports and utilise them extensively to benefit the change.
  • Gain a deeper understanding as to why certain stakeholders are willing to lend support. In doing so, we can implement the right strategies that will encourage them to continue supporting you.
  • Assemble a leadership team that will champion your change initiatives. We’ll facilitate effective collaboration among its team members, transforming them into a cohesive force designed to carry out plans and motivate everyone else down the line.
  • Upon realisation of the change project, we’ll see to it that all stakeholders get a taste of the carrot at the end of the stick. This will encourage them to continue active cooperation in future change initiatives.

Planning for the Change

Anyone who has experienced having their car stuck in the mud knows that stepping on the accelerator will only get the vehicle trapped even deeper. Without the aid of a towing truck, getting the car out will require careful planning since different combinations of pulling, pushing, lifting, rocking to-and-fro, and stepping on the accelerator may be needed.

Of course, some combinations are just better than others. The same principle holds when effecting change.

Our approach to change management typically varies depending upon the information we obtain from the different analyses performed earlier. For instance, since not all organisations are suitable for a collaborative approach, we will employ either collaborative, consultative, directive, or coercive change management strategies wherever applicable.

A well-planned change will result in a smoother, less costly, and less disruptive transition. Here’s how we’ll help you plan your change initiatives.

  • When put in a predicament similar to the car-in-the-mud, the basic strategy entails identifying the current resisting forces and predicting what other resisting forces may be encountered along the way. After researching and pointing out your organisation’s resistance forces, we’ll lay out the most appropriate facilitation, education, and negotiation techniques.
  • To bring down wastage to the lowest possible levels, we’ll engineer a change delivery plan that involves the most cost-effective sequence of driver, process, technology, organisational, and people alignment.
  • To win and maintain a high level of trust, confidence and commitment from all sponsors and stakeholders, we’ll present a clear road map of the change process as well as landmarks that will prove how far we will have gone. These landmarks will then be brought to each sponsor’s and stakeholder’s attention each time they are arrived at in order to build up assurance and continued commitment.
  • We’ll design measurement tools and schedule reporting deadlines so that you’ll know what to look forward to and when to expect them.

Managing the Change

Your company will hold a better chance of maintaining a sizeable lead over the rest of the pack if you constantly establish a rally point and instil in your stakeholders the drive to rally to that point from the get-go. To make this happen, your company must undertake the unfreezing, transition, and refreezing phases of change skilfully in order to bring all stakeholders into the right mindset.

Our specialists’ systematic and efficient methods for each of these phases are designed to simplify the management of each phase as well as provide a seamless shift from one phase to the next. This is what we’ll do:

  • Set up a change project management office to ensure that everything associated with the change initiative is given the needed attention and resources even while all the other usual processes in your organisation run concurrently.
  • To unfreeze your people and get them started on the road of change, we’ll employ unfreezing techniques wherever they are most appropriate. We’ll resort to different kinds of methods ranging from presenting persuasive evidence justifying the need for change to showing a motivational vision for inspiring your people to embark on the change process.
  • Since it is during the transition phase when your people can find themselves groping in the dark, we’ll offer executive coaches for your senior managers; facilitators to provide guidance during team meetings and other change activities; coaches to educate and inspire them to meet the change with the right attitude; trainers to teach new systems, procedures, and technologies; as well as employ a variety of other techniques in order to make the transition phase as seamless as possible.
  • Although your people should always be ready to undertake the next major change after a previous one, there should be points in between where they can taste the spirit of success, establish a temporary base to rejuvenate, and immediately gain a deeper understanding of the nearby terrain so as to envision the next rally point. We’ll see to it that this vital phase of change is carried out completely.
The Future is Smarter with a Smart Meter

Traditionally, electricity and water meter consumption was measured via analogue meters. Utility billing was based on actual consumption units obtained from the meter by meter readers. This entailed physical visits to the metering point. Lots of challenges came with meter reading; talk of customers feeling their privacy is intruded, meter readers encountering hostile customers, dogs, closed gates. The result was estimated bills that were most often than not very high.

Smart meters can be dubbed as the ?next generation? type of meters. Smart meters send wireless electronic meter readings to one?s energy supplier automatically. There are both gas smart meters and electricity smart meters. Smart meters come with in-home displays, which give someone real-time feedback on their energy usage and the associated cost.

Smart meters communicate meter readings directly to utility companies therefore no one has to come to your home to read your meter; and neither are you required to submit meter readings yourself. This not only reduces costs, but leads to more accurate electricity bills practically eliminating estimated bills. Smart meters signal the end of estimated bills, and the end of overpaying or underpaying for energy.

Whereas a smart meter in itself does not save you money, the add-ons (in-home displays) that come with the smart meters and which give someone real-time feedback on their energy usage helps them to reduce the unnecessary energy use and this ultimately leads to better oversight into how to lower utility bills hence better management of one?s energy use.

In summary, a smart meter is a technology that enables energy consumers to see their energy as they use it, a technology where energy is displayed as it is being used and wireless ratings sent. Adoption of smart meters would mean the end of estimated energy bills.

Smart meters are also promising a smart future where all energy consuming devices can be connected to the internet and centrally controlled using computers or smartphones. This means one is able to switch off lights and other energy consuming devices from a central point, hence make savings and this will enable them to have greater control of their energy use, hence more comfort, convenience and life will be cheaper for all. This is the smarter future we are all looking forward to.

Maturing Into CMMI

 

In all likelihood, the reason why you landed on this page was because you were seeking CMMI experts to help you meet the demands of a growing number of potential clients who require CMMI compliance.

Whether or not you’re here for that reason, you might want to know why CMMI or Capability Maturity Model Integration is steadily becoming a common denominator among highly successful software and engineering development companies. If you stay for a while, we can show you how CMMI can substantially increase your organisation’s chances of:

  • reducing development costs;
  • acquiring new customers and retaining old ones;
  • beating deadlines;
  • bringing down development time;
  • increasing the overall quality of your products and services; and
  • improving the level of satisfaction of customers, employees, and all other stakeholders.

Surely, no organisation can be too small or too big to aspire for such benefits of attaining high levels of maturity and capability.

If you want to look beyond Maturity Level ratings, then you’ve come to the right place. We focus on introducing CMMI principles and blending them into your organisation’s culture to achieve a truly superior and sustainable business advantage. Compliance will then be an inevitable offshoot of the actions you make.

Likewise, if you simply want to obtain a deeper understanding of CMMI and learn how it can be applied either to your entire organisation or to specific projects, we’d be happy to assist you in that regard as well.

Finally, when you’re ready, we can also conduct CMMI appraisals either for benchmarking purposes or simply for determining how well your process improvement initiatives are going.

CMMI Consulting

Are you worried that implementing CMMI might entail an overhaul of your current processes? Don’t be.

CMMI is all about improving current processes, not replacing them. Ideally, the final result of all process improvement activities should be hinged on your own business objectives and context, so we’ll make sure it remains that way when we work with you.

We rely on our extensive knowledge and experience in CMMI, engineering, software development, and technologies as well as in change and project management in providing model-based process improvement services. Whether you’re gearing up for an appraisal or simply want to employ CMMI-based practices, these are the things we can do for you.

  • Help you interpret how CMMI can be implemented in relation to your business.
  • Assist in convincing sponsors and stakeholders to support your CMMI implementation initiatives.
  • Introduce the necessary training to all individuals who need to undertake them.
  • Conduct a Gap Analysis to find out where your company’s current processes stand relative to their CMMI specifications.
  • Assemble a process group that will champion your process improvement initiatives. We’ll facilitate effective collaboration among its team members, transforming them into a cohesive force designed to carry out plans and motivate everyone else down the line.
  • Introduce tools and practices that will improve the efficiency of our process improvement initiatives.
  • Carry out periodic evaluations and produce reports to provide sponsors and stakeholders a clear picture of our progress.

CMMI Training

Still not convinced CMMI is right for you? There’s only one way to fully grasp the benefits of implementing CMMI – take the Introduction to CMMI course. Although what happens next is entirely up to you, we’re pretty sure you’ll make the right decision after passing it.

Do you need to include people from your organisation in a SCAMPI (Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement) team? They’ll have to undergo this course too. The Introduction to CMMI is for systems and software engineering managers and practitioners, appraisal team members, process group members, and basically anyone who want to grasp CMMI fundamentals.

This is what you’ll be able to do after going through 3 days of lectures and exercises:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the various components of CMMI-DEV models and their relationships.
  • Discuss the process areas in CMMI-DEV models.
  • Extract and interpret aspects in the model relevant to your own organisation’s processes.

We also offer highly specialised training and workshops such as those for:

  • Achieving High Maturity Levels
  • Top Executives
  • Team Building in Preparation for Appraisals

CMMI Appraisal

An organisation new to CMMI will want to know first how far their current processes are relative to the implementation of model-based improvements in order to determine the resources and time that have to be spent to get there.

Similarly, an organisation already well acquainted with CMMI and has begun taking steps in improving processes, will eventually want to know how close it has come to the Maturity Level it has aimed for.

In both cases, these organisations will have to be assessed by a qualified CMMI appraiser to obtain an accurate picture of their current status. We can perform appraisals on either your entire organisation or on specific projects/practices within a process area. Our appraisers can conduct the following SCAMPI (Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement) appraisals:

  • SCAMPI Class A – This is what you’ll need if you’re aiming for a level rating.
  • SCAMPI Class B – You may want to use this for process reviews or for preparing for a SCAMPI Class A.
  • SCAMPI Class C or Gap Analysis – We typically conduct this for organisations who have yet to implement CMMI-based initiatives so that they can design the most cost-effective road map for the implementation proper.

Ready to work with Denizon?