Advanced strategies to deliver a successful smart water network
More than a third of the world’s drinking water is lost before it reaches consumers. Not only does this inefficiency affect utilities by increasing operational costs and failing to provide a satisfactory customer service — but it also has a huge impact on the environment.
A smart water network is a fully integrated set of products, solutions and systems that enables water utilities to remotely and continuously monitor and diagnose problems within the network. Intelligent networks can help utilities address the challenging and precious resource that water has become and accurate data from these networks can improve business decisions.
With its acquisition of Sensus and Visenti in November 2016, Xylem has brought technology solutions together, to create an end-to-end smart water offering to the global water market delivering a combination of technology and services.
Visenti is a technology innovation company that has deployed one of the world’s largest smart water network platforms for a public utilities board in Singapore. It has at its core the engineering knowledge, technology and experience to help utilities reduce their non-revenue water with an advanced smart water network.
One of the platforms they use is a real-time monitoring water distribution system called View. It can be used by utilities to improve system management and operations by providing integrated measurement and analytics. As a platform, View allows water utilities to better understand the behaviour of their distribution network and thus improve its planning, water usage and operation. This includes reduced response time to events such as water leaks and bursts, improved operational planning and associated efficiency savings.
View was deployed in the City area of Singapore, in collaboration with the Public Utilities Board of Singapore (PUB). The platform was linked in to PUB’s SCADA system to exchange sensor data and was operated remotely. The platform provided PUB’s water supply network operations and planning teams with decision support services including event detection (leaks, bursts), system modelling, demand prediction and operational simulation.
It has detected several pipe bursts through pressure transient sensors, and numerous pressure abnormalities relating to both planned and unplanned system operations. Graph 1 shows an example of several sensors within the vicinity that detected a break that was traced back to a large main.
A post-event analysis helps trace back the sequence of events before a confirmed leak or burst event to understand which operations may have contributed to the leak. Graph 2 shows a trace of events at several sensor sites where unusual system operations may have led to leakage.
As a result of using this innovative technology, and having access to accurate measurement data, PUB has been able to see the characteristics of many normal and abnormal events. Real-time email alerts and data visualisation have helped PUB identify operation inefficiencies, perform remedial actions and immediately validate the results of these actions. The real-time data has given informative feedback to help quickly isolate complaints of low pressure in high consumption areas, saving time and frustration. View has also supplied PUB with a real-time hydraulic network model that has provided PUB with an up-to-the-minute view on demand and consumption in the network.
To more efficiently operate and manage water distribution systems, it is important to not just intelligently increase the number of measurements being made within the system, but also to use intelligent analytics to extract information from the data. A smart water network will allow water utilities to better manage their infrastructure from source to consumer through improved monitoring and data analysis.
An advanced smart water solution supplying real-time data can provide utilities with savings of up to $5.2 billion annually. Safeguarding precious water resources while making intelligent business decisions can be achieved by forming intelligent partnerships between people and technology.
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