AQUASIGHT: Reimagining Water and Wastewater Utilities

Mahesh Lunani, Founder & CEO, AQUASIGHTMahesh Lunani, Founder & CEO
There are on-screen superheroes. Then, there are real-life heroes. If one is to compare Mahesh Lunani, founder and CEO of AQUASIGHT, with an on-screen superhero, the most relatable one would be Aquaman. While the comic-book superhero protects water resources across the globe, Lunani puts his innovative problem-solving skills in the water and wastewater utility sector. Based out of Troy, Michigan, his company AQUASIGHT offers a digital artificial intelligence (AI) platform with the ability to automatically mine intelligence from real-time data from sensors, water meters, SCADA, process equipment, distribution/collection systems, and lab data.

Driven by the passion for solving challenging problems in mature industries with innovative and disruptive digital solutions, Lunani was quick to identify the persistent issues in water and wastewater infrastructures. Municipal water and wastewater systems consume more than four percent of the country’s total annual primary energy, which equals the energy required to power 6.5 million homes for a year. Other unwanted instances such as effects of water quality violations on 27 million residents, an approximate 240,000 main breaks a year that spells disruption for the communities, and billions of gallons of raw sewage discharge in rivers and lakes, due to storm—create a challenging situation for entrepreneurs. Short-staffed and cash-strapped government agencies lack the resources to solve these challenges on their own. Lunani says, “We wanted to bring in a combination of low-cost technology and sound business and value proposition for cities that would create economic and environmental values.”

We wanted to bring in a combination of low-cost technology and sound business and value proposition for cities that would create economic and environmental values

AQUASIGHT offers four different AI solutions for digital water and wastewater utility management. The first solution suite, named ATLAS, applies AI for pumping operations to assist government agencies in ensuring optimum pump performance and pump health thus reducing recurring operation, energy, and maintenance costs. AURA is yet another solution, which is a GIS-based pre-built, unified live-intelligence platform that provides early warning on water quality and real-time water loss. In addition, AURA maps geographical and seasonal patterns and tracks degradation-with-time for utilities to avoid an unwarranted hazard. Meanwhile, for collection systems, AQUASIGHT’s ACE is designed for flow and level monitoring and offers operators an advance forecast of wastewater flow and loading and helps with competent process control planning for both dry and wet weather. Finally, SAMI is built in a digital assistant that provides system status and notifies of emerging events that humans cannot detect.

Recently, the company deployed APOLLO, its wastewater platform, at one of the largest facilities in the country, as part of the pilot program for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future program, coordinated by the Michigan Energy Office. For the program, AQUASIGHT armed utilities with a digital platform that helps to achieve efficiency with significant no-cost/low-cost savings. APOLLO combines AI with real-time advisors to increase productivity and reduce the cost of operations for water resource recovery facility (WRRFs). Wastewater contains about five times more energy than is needed for its treatment and according to Lunani, “Leveraging APOLLO can drive up to 20 percent reduction in the input costs to treat the wastewater while meeting the same level of permits.”

AQUASIGHT’s solutions are created, keeping the profit, people, and planet in mind. Lunani says, “We have created triple-bottom-line products for cities and municipalities.” His company helps utilities in all three expense categories—operations, maintenance, and capital, which make up more than 85 percent of a utility’s budget. Also, the company’s long-time association with different government agencies and municipalities allows them to understand the idiosyncrasies of government work and craft their solutions accordingly. If one is to take note of AQUASIGHT’s experience and efficiency, public utilities can realize $11B in annual gains, creating value for cities and residents. It is only a matter of time before every city adopts such technologies.