Access to clean drinking water and sanitation is essential to daily life, and the infrastructure that enables it is often taken for granted. However, according to the United Nations, worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, and two out of five people are not easily able to wash their hands. Due to unsanitary water conditions, the World Health Organization estimates 829,000 people die each year. To address this problem, the United Nations made access to water and sanitation Goal 6 of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Japan is a leader in water treatment technologies, with a 98% water access and sewage penetration rate. One little-known fact, however, is that the supply of water to rural and depopulated areas is becoming a serious issue for the country.
Water and sewage pipes are aging, and only about 30% of them are resistant to earthquakes. In addition, the cost of maintaining water infrastructure is straining the budgets of many smaller municipalities.
To address this serious issue of safe water supply, in March 2021 SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) formed a capital and business alliance with WOTA CORP., a startup that develops portable water reuse systems and autonomously-controlled water treatment systems. The two companies are collaborating to build new water supply systems and mechanisms.
Until now, water treatment methods were based on “analog” methods using the sight, smell and the accumulated expertise of veterans.
In their collaboration, SoftBank and WOTA are taking a digital approach to automate water treatment.
Their system uses WOTA's proprietary sensors to monitor water quality and other parameters, and AI optimizes the water treatment process. Also, using SoftBank’s cellular network, data acquired from sensors installed in WOTA's products across the country are stored in WOTA's cloud to continually improve and update the AI algorithm and improve the efficiency of the water treatment process.
By commercializing this system, SoftBank and WOTA will be able to realize water infrastructure that is not dependent on water pipes.
Clients planning to implement a distributed water supply system
SoftBank and WOTA will collaborate with Tokyu Land Corporation and Tokyu Resorts & Stays Co., Ltd. to create sustainable infrastructure.
SoftBank and WOTA plan to provide water infrastructure to depopulated areas and remote islands that are facing water infrastructure challenges.
To meet the growing demand for hand washing due to the spread of COVID-19, WOSH, a portable hand washing stand that can be used with just one power source, is now on the market.
To help achieve Goal 6 of the SDGs, ensure access to water and sanitation for all, SoftBank and WOTA will continue to work to provide digital solutions to rural areas and facilities facing water infrastructure issues.
(Posted on September 24, 2021)
by SoftBank News Editors