Water Journal : Water Journal April 2012
smart systems technical features 86 APRIL 2012 water Abstract What is an 'intelligent water network' and why is it needed? In the context of a water and wastewater network, intelligence may be considered as being informed about likely events or water network behaviours prior to their occurrence, then being able to plan for and mitigate some of the possible outcomes, or prevent their eventuality. It is needed for a number of reasons, including being able to 'get more' out of the existing asset base -- without the need for costly augmentation, optimal utilisation of network capacity, better water network augmentation planning based on an holistic approach, improved tariff structuring for improved service delivery, minimising unaccounted-for water, minimising leaks/ overflows of wastewater to the environment, improved efficiency of treatment plants, and minimising water quality and service delivery risks, in an increasingly complex environment where we are trying to minimise carbon-energy costs, close the water cycle loop and utilise every drop for various forms of reuse and resource recovery. This list is by no means inclusive and thus is only indicative; however, the days of the 'gold-plated' solution by oversizing all of the assets based on extremely conservative construction principles are in the past, because there simply is not the funding to support such ventures. In addition, there is an expectation for improved water accounting by both water consumers and water suppliers in the same way we manage our mobile phone use, and billing is increasingly realistic because of the improvement in monitoring and communications technologies over the last decade. Intelligent water networks will enable operation and planning managers to efficiently operate and plan networks that would reduce the capital, operating and environmental cost to the community. Introduction The three key drivers for such innovation in our water delivery infrastructure are: • To improve the value of water services to the community; • Reduce the risks to service delivery in an increasingly complex environment where more demands are made on the existing asset base; and • Improve the system effectiveness and efficiency. The increasing complexity in our urban water systems is described here, where it is clear that modern water distribution and wastewater collection networks, as shown in Figure 2, present much more of a challenge than the old 'once-through systems' shown in Figure 1, because of the desire to close the water cycle loop. There will be differing water qualities, changing end use patterns and greater complexity, all resulting in new and increased risks to manage. The management of future complex systems (Figure 2) will need a high degree of monitoring with real-time direct feedback for operations and water quality purposes, as well as monitoring of the asset performance and condition to ensure that these multi- million dollar assets, including pipes and water treatment systems, are capable of performing at their optimum. These systems will include indirect potable (IPR) and direct potable use (DPR) of recycled water including desalination, third pipe systems and connectivity to decentralised wastewater systems. The monitoring of these systems will be in the form of sensors for a range of direct and indirect (or inferred) measurements from which system performance and problems can be assessed. One scenario for the system sensors needed to collect the relevant information is depicted in Figure 3. Need for Real-Time Information To address these requirements we need a real-time responsive system -- i.e. one that can be interrogated in order to obtain information on the current D Marney, A Sharma The benefits of current and future sensor technology THE APPLICATION AND UTILITY OF 'SMARTS' FOR MONITORING WATER AND ITS INFRASTRUCTURE Figure 1. Conventional water delivery system. Figure 2. Modern and future closed loop water system.
Water Journal May 2012
Water Journal December 2011