With climate change affecting water availability all over the world, it is imperative for any local, regional, or national utility to use resources wisely. More than ever, water must be distributed in a way that serves all citizens, preserves the environment, and guarantees the financial viability of the operation. Considering the size of the challenge, do you have what it takes to face it?
As part of World Water Week 2022, WSUP and Cranfield University have developed a new online game, The Water Balance Challenge, a provocative, engaging, and fun instrument to help people consider their choices and risks when in charge of water distribution in an urban environment.
Through a series of questions and multiple choices of paths to take, the player is asked to navigate not only through the wide range of situations faced by those in charge of a water system, but also random events that affect the overall operation, from politics to marketing.
The game will be jointly promoted at World Water Week, in Stockholm, by WSUP and Cranfield University.
Ready? Click here to play The Water Balance Challenge!
A service for all residents
The Water Balance Challenge takes the player to the fictional city of Kaladi, in Africa. Almost half of its residents (40%) lack access to safely managed drinking water, despite the city being close to a great river and having access to groundwater.
The player is the new Managing Director of Kaladi Water and Sanitation company, which must meet targets of the Sustainable Development Goal-6, related to water and sanitation, of 100% coverage by 2030. That includes the most vulnerable parts of the local population.
It is vital to reach that goal while preserving precious water resources, ensuring all customers receive a fair share of the service, and charging households equitably. Finding that balance, including the company’s relationship with different levels of government, is not easy.
Kaladi has well defined two seasons, the rainy and the dry ones. When it rains, the local community suffers with disruptive flooding. Floods and droughts are becoming more frequent, which has been affecting the levels of both the river and the aquifer.
The game’s fictional city has a population of 150,000, with a 7% annual growth rate, a consequence of the impact of climate change over rural areas.
Just like real life
The situation presented by The Water Balance Challenge reproduces what is seen in real life in many urban environments, particularly in developing nations. The combined pressures of population growth and reduction of available water, both consequences of changes in the climate, force authorities and utilities to find different solutions to reach the goal of universal distribution of water.
Amongst the many sources of water under threat in that context is groundwater, which is vital if communities are to be regularly and reliably served with clean water. Despite being more resistant to changes in the climate than other sources above the ground, aquifers have been affected by pollution and excessive use.
Communities and authorities have become more aware of the need to use water more wisely, fighting wastage in any possible way. From improved infrastructure to the use of digital technology, utilities have been working towards systems and operations that strive for the correct use of every drop. In a world marked by climate change and constant increase in urban populations, that is the only way through which water security can be achieved.