Water and wastewater network Assets are generally buried out of sight and therefore out of mind, but new Digital strategies are making it easier for utilities to ensure that operations remain safe and reliable.
There have been many significant strides in GIS-based workflows between the field and office over the past few years, and this means the industry is able to know what is going on in the field at all times as well as accurately capturing data.
Many in the water industry feel that going digital will transform the delivery of capital projects as well as the performance of assets in operations and maintenance. Digitising assets and processes will realise performance improvements for assets as well as the adoption of new technologies that can enable going digital.
Digital strategies enable users to better understand the condition of the assets, the probability of failure, and the consequences of such failures, thereby ensuring that hundreds of customers are not affected by system failures.
Hydraulic modelling applications, such as Bentley’s WaterGEMS play a role in ensuring safe and reliable operations by forecasting system conditions and performance, managing pumps and storage, planning for scheduled maintenance, and helping operators react to unplanned outages and emergencies.
The goal for most utilities is indeed reducing TOTEX (total expenditure inclusive of CAPEX and OPEX), and technology is the enabler.
WaterCAD, released approximately twenty years ago, was the first mainstream Windows stand-alone hydraulic modelling package – prior to that, the most widely used hydraulic modelling software ran on DOS.
Hydraulic modelling has now matured, and is now used various applications, including master planning, water quality studies, energy studies and optimisation, and real-time operational decision support.
Sensors will play an even larger role in network modelling and operations in the future, providing real-time information that can be supplemented with hydraulic models, giving the operator a true insight into the behaviour and condition of a network.
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