The latest technology trends—artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things—have the potential to make waves in the slow-moving water management sector but are still waiting for a breakthrough.

Investors are taking a hard look at tech firms that can collect reams of data for utilities and water-thirsty companies that can then use the information to reduce risks and costs, Sunny Kumar, director of access to capital for WaterTAP, a Canadian water technology nonprofit, said Oct. 26....