The Digital Twin in Water Infrastructure

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February 27, 2019 | David Fortune

Our water, wastewater and stormwater networks are extremely valuable assets and essential to modern urban life. But they are out of sight, buried beneath our streets, and they are all too often out of mind ... until they fail.

Innovyze is a world leading producer of ‘digital twins’ for these pipe and sewer networks: virtual computer models of the real world.

The evolution of the digital twin

For asset management the digital twin is the model of what exists, how it was built, where it is, how it is connected, its history of inspections, surveys and maintenance, and its condition. All essential for efficient, cost-effective asset planning: CAPEX, OPEX, maintenance and replacement.

Next, comes the performance model. This is a detailed hydraulic model that is the brain, the intelligence. It shows how well the network performs, how it deals with the water and wastewater flows. This allows us to plan capacity to meet required service levels, and to understand the cause of failures – such as flooding.

Ultimately comes the operational model, where big-data meets artificial intelligence. The ‘brain’ – the hydraulic model – is run in real-time and is driven by live monitored data from the network and customers, together with weather forecasts.

This transforms operations because network managers know what is happening in the pipes and sewers right now, and they can predict what is going to happen in the next hours and days. They can manage effectively, predicting problems before the public is aware and avoid service failures – such as water running dry or flooding and pollution incidents.

So, the digital twin transforms the management of our water and wastewater networks. It is the future for the water industry.

In the UK, other parts of Europe, China, Australia, and many other countries, water utilities are pressing ahead with the digital twin from Innovyze, including the major water utilities in the UK.

The future of water management is happening here. It's happening now. 

This post is the two minute presentation given by David Fortune at the New Civil Engineer Innovations In Infrastructure event in December 2018.
You can read more about the Innovyze application of the digital twin in water infrastructure in this article from NCE, January 2019

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Tags: digital twin, asset management, artificial intelligence, performance model, operational model

About the Authors

David Fortune

David Fortune

VP of Innovation


David drives innovation into water management software systems, including real-time operations, asset management, and hydraulic modelling. He specializes in digital twins: virtual models of water, wastewater and stormwater networks that support design, construction, maintenance, planning, and operations.