Zagreb Water Pipe Bursts Highlight Need for Digital Water Supply Management

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, very frequent ruptures of Zagreb water pipes, which we’ve been witnessing all the more over recent days, cause enormous problems for residents, do significant damage to the economy and show how important it is to have an optimised and “smart” management system of something as complex as the Zagreb Water and Sewerage system.

The digitalisation of such systems is one of the main activities of the Zagreb-based company Schneider Electric, which is part of the eponymous global corporation based in France.

Here in Croatia, it is most represented in low-voltage electricity equipment and water management systems – in Croatian practice, more drainage because it is a segment that has recently been strongly co-financed from EU funds.

The biggest project of all is in Vukovar

Schneider’s efforts, whose largest water project so far is the one with wastewater regulation in Vukovar, to be more strongly present in the modernisation of Croatian water management, especially in large cities, are also along these same lines.

As Tomislav Scrbak, Schneider Electric’s sales director for Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, explained at a press conference held in Zagreb on Tuesday, the modernisation and digital management of water supply and sewerage systems are a necessity today because, in addition to security of supply and ecology, they are costly, and those higher costs are ultimately paid for by normal people.

“All modern industries today are optimised and digitised, and the same is the case with strategic sectors such as water systems. Although little has been done in Croatia so far on this issue, there are some bright examples, such as that in Ljubljana (Slovenia),” said Scrbak.

From this company, whose main segments are IT, energy, industry and construction, they pointed out that they expect a lot from the reconstruction of Zagreb from the 2020 earthquake.

“Our business model is ”open source”, that is, we go into every project with partners because our equipment is open and adaptable for any kind of connection. We’re already a leader on the Croatian market of low voltage electrical equipment, we have cooperation in the production of transformers with Koncar, and we’re going to the Zagreb renovation project with our partners because Schneider rarely appears independently as a supplier and contractor, and we focus more on equipment production and system integration,” explained Scrbak.

The company believes that the newly renovated buildings in the Croatian capital should have at least the basic equipment of a “smart home” for energy efficiency in terms of electricity, heating/cooling and water consumption, which, they point out, is now a technology whose price is negligible.

They added that their building management systems are used mainly by all commercial construction, while in residential ones, it is less frequent and more modest.

“Investors in apartments are mostly interested in the lowest possible starting price per square metre for sale. They’re less concerned about total energy costs over a period of five, 10 or 20 years. The exception is investors such as VMD, who are already calculating multi-year costs from the very beginning and estimate that a minimal increase in the price at the beginning brings them long-term big savings,” stated Schneider Electric.

It is otherwise company that operates in more than 100 countries and globally employs 130,000 people with revenues of 25.2 billion euros, as they had last year. Their main global competitors are Siemens and General Electric.

For more, make sure to check out our business section.


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