WITH AN MBA FROM SDA BOCCONI IN 2005, ANDREA DELOGU LAUNCHED A STARTUP TO ADVISE WATER UTILITIES ON HOW TO REDUCE LEAKAGE AND INCREASE EFFICIENCY.
In Italy, average losses to water supply due to leakages are 36% of the total amount, which means than more than 3 billion cubic meters of drinking water are lost every year. And on a global scale, losses incurred around the world by water utilities because of leaks are $14 billion per annum, according to World Bank data. These data highlight the importance of mission undertakend by Blue Gold, a start-up launched in 2009 by Andrea Delogu, MBA Class of 2005, SDA Bocconi School of Management. "We have created an algorithm which is capable of identifying leaks in the water grid before they surface," says Andrea, "thus creating electricity savings and therefore also reduce carbon dioxide emissions." Andrea drew inspiration for his business idea from his native land, Sardinia, an island struggling with chronic water shortages that force the development of reservoirs which are then distributed during droughts at high cost.
"Our technology is cloud-based and can be sold around the world," says Andrea, who adds: "We not only sell services but also tools to optimize water networks from an energy standpoint. Our customers are operators of water utilities, such as Acea and A2A in Italy, but we have also developed contacts with international clients such as GDF Suez." In Italy as a whole, water availability is three times the demand, so for utilities the most important aspect is not to plug leaks, but to cut costs. However, each world region has its own kind of water problems. "In the Middle East, conversely, running costs are of minor importantance; what counts is conserving every single drop."