Water Journal : Water Journal December 2012
refereed paper intelligent water networks water DECEMBER 2012 101 Abstract Water utilities have more data than ever before to help manage and operate their network. The challenge is to make sense of this sea of data and harness the potential that comes from turning it into information and, ultimately, knowledge. In late 2011 Yarra Valley Water (YVW) completed a proof-of-concept trial of the Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) system called TaKaDu on a third of its water network. The aim was to establish if these systems, which are becoming more prominent in use, are suitable for the Australian water utility environment. The trial’s focus was to test the capabilities of the selected IWN system to find efficiencies, save water and assist in locating leakage. The results of the trial confirmed the system’s potential to identify, classify and detect various system events, as well as demonstrated potential to help save additional water, time and costs. The system was able to detect bursts on average 1.5 hours before customer notification, detect various types of meter failures, locate leakage down to 25% of a distribution zone, and help save additional water on top of YVW’s already high standard of practice. As a result, YVW has engaged in a further 12-month evaluation on its entire network to further understand benefits and the range of efficiency savings. IWN shows a lot of promise, and YVW is committed to evaluate and guide the development in the Australian setting. Background Since 1995, Yarra Valley Water (YVW) has undertaken a comprehensive suite of programs to improve the efficiency of its operations. Identifying and resolving system-wide leakage – non-revenue water (NRW) – has been a more critical driver, especially in times of drought and as the price of water increases. Moreover, YVW maintains a strong commitment to its customers and the environment, which further drives sustainable performance. Yarra Valley Water services a population of 1.6 million people in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne via a complex water supply network comprising 9,825 kilometres of mains and has an NRW performance of approximately 12%. To achieve this improvement, a number of large programs were undertaken, including technological solutions and operational changes (as shown in Figure 1). The Zone Metering program (begun in 2001), laid the foundation for quantifying the operations of the water network. Once zone metering was implemented, a clear picture of the network performance changed the way the business identified and responded to issues. Pressure Management programs reconfigured how we supply water to our customers, with further improved network reliability and resulting improved leakage performance. This pressure management program has reduced YVW’s average operating pressure from approximately 73 metres to 63 metres. The Water-Chasers leak detection program involves YVW’s approach of using field staff to monitor and follow water flows in drainage points then trace leakage back to its source. The impact of these programs has helped improve and maintain a high standard of NRW. In 2010–2011, the National Water Commission figures showed YVW with the lowest level of real losses in utilities of over 100,000 connections, equalling 51L per connection per day lost, compared to the median of 66L/con/day (NWC, 2012). In recent years, the focus has been to identify technologies to better manage, integrate and improve the outcomes of the foundations programs as shown in Figure 1. The Rise of Intelligent Water Networks Advances in metering technologies and the increasing costs associated with the scarcity of water present distinct opportunities for water utilities. As the cost of metering, measuring and monitoring technologies decreases, more and more utilities are adopting the ‘Smart Network’ approach. This is resulting in a rising tide of information being available for operators. The challenge is to then effectively and efficiently transform this information to business intelligence to better inform operational, maintenance and planning decisions and actions. This is a key driver for the field of Intelligent Water Networks (IWN). The recent drought experienced across Australia has highlighted the challenge of the scarcity of water for utilities and the community at large. Tied to this is the increase in the cost of water itself, which provides a cost driver to improve system performance. Reducing system leakage and increasing operational network optimisation has been an industry-wide trend with both hardware and software solutions. As economic conditions tighten, the search for efficiency improvements is well underway (Cutler, 2011). Reviews of the operations of Yarra Valley Water highlighted challenges and areas of opportunity for improvement, particularly in operational optimisation, leakage reduction and knowledge management using automated systems. K Thompson, J Sorbello, H Dang, D Snadden A proof-of-concept trial of the TaKaDu system AppRoAcHeS To effIcIeNcy AND INTellIgeNT WATeR NeTWoRKS AT yARRA VAlley WATeR Figure 1. Yarra Valley Water’s Non-Revenue Water (NRW) journey.
Water Journal February 2013
Water Journal November 2012-1