The Power of Predicting Accurate Consumption Data
Water network operators know the usage at district metered area (DMA) level (water out vs water in, according to the meters at the entry and exit points of the DMA). But this doesn’t provide detailed enough information to run the network effectively. The operator needs to know about usage within it, ideally at the level of individual properties. This would be easy if every property had a smart meter, reporting consumption every 15 minutes. But few network operators have the luxury of that data, and so need some demand prediction tools to aid their modeling. (Get in touch if you’d like more detail on this.)
Empowered to Optimize the Network
Now you have a live hydraulic model of the network that will predict its behavior according to the expected demand. The model can bring in a prediction of demand (such as with DemandWatch Pro) and live telemetry/SCADA data, such as how full a reservoir is, to set the initial conditions.
It can also predict what’s likely to happen in the gaps between sensors, giving a fuller picture of the network without further investment in field monitoring equipment.
This means that water utilities are now empowered to optimize operations.
Live modeling can generate two types of warning: simulation warnings and verification warnings.
Take a simple situation where there are a pump and reservoir that supply a DMA. The network operator would normally top up the reservoir at night when it’s more cost-effective to run the pump thanks to cheaper overnight electricity. The model says that on some mornings – like high-use holidays – the reservoir alone won’t meet demand. Then the operator can adjust the pump schedule for the day, to keep the pump running during the morning. Customers will experience their normal water pressure. Live modeling means the operator can anticipate demand and be ready to meet it.
If the network operator uses live telemetry to verify the model, and the two disagree, the operator can investigate. There could be a burst, or an issue with a pump, for example. Live modeling means the operator gets a warning (beyond typical SCADA), and data that they can compare with the ‘normal’ situation in the model, to get them started with identifying, diagnosing, and fixing any problems.
If a warning shows that there could be a problem and a field crew needs to investigate, they’ll need a work order (WO) to work from. The WO might tell them that a pump needs to be isolated by closing a valve or a crew might need to be dispatched to restart a pump.
One efficient way to do this is to have the live model connected to an asset management program.
Asset management software collects together, and runs analytics on, all the information about pipes, pumps, valves, bearings, and other utility assets, enabling effective daily management as well as prioritized capital improvement planning.
Using a program such as InfoAsset to set up the WO is highly efficient. It can provide the relevant infrastructure data and has WO generation capabilities built in. InfoAsset lets crews access WOs and file their reports from mobile devices at the work site. The work they carry out gets recorded in the system immediately and with minimum effort. If the network operator is also using IWLive Pro for their live model (with either InfoWorks WS Pro, InfoWater or InfoWater Pro as their static model), the updates in InfoAsset feed directly into it – updating both the asset records and the model, immediately and effortlessly.
When something unexpected happens, live modeling will also help manage the incident. Operators can model 'what if' scenarios, such as taking a pump offline for maintenance, or closing a valve to isolate a burst pipe, and seeing the impact on different parts of the network. They can choose the best course of action, manage customers’ expectations, and give them the greatest possible time to plan for any disruption.
Energy Savings - Without Lifting a Finger
IWLive can recommend energy savings in the form of scheduling pump(s) to run off-peak tariff hours to minimize electricity costs. The operator can switch the pump remotely or create a Work Order to dispatch a crew to the pumping station. Then, once the pump status has changed, the telemetry reports back to IWLive Pro – which automatically updates the model.