Sarah presenting on tactical leakage targeting

Data analytics is a key area for the water sector, and this year Sheffield University hosted the 15th International Computing & Control in the Water Industry Conference from the 5th to the 7th September, which focussed on “Intelligent water systems”. Hosted over three days with 3 parallel sessions it was a busy event, with presenters from around the globe and around 130 attendees. We were there to hear and learn about some of the recent advances in areas such demand modelling, forecasting, leakage, data analytics, network management and optimisation. However, we weren’t there just to listen, two of our staff were presenting papers on our own research topics.

Shana Meeus presented a paper on “A real time system for detecting events in water networks”. This is a new system for automatically detecting abnormal events that occur in water networks and automatically reporting alarms back to the operators. The system makes use of existing flow data, without the need for new hardware or changes to the logging frequency of flow data. We call the system eVader (eVent alarm detection and reporting). The system has been tested on about 4000 sites so far, and is successfully detecting events in DMAs, on trunk mains and at pressure monitoring sites.

A copy of Shana’s paper can be found here: A real time system for event detection in water networks

Sarah Rogerson presented work she has been developing with Dennis Grimshaw on “Tactical leakage targeting, a modelling and control system to aid efficient leakage strategies”. This work is at a much earlier stage of research and the talk focussed on preliminary investigations into a new approach to leakage targeting at a district metered area (DMA) level. The approach enables modelling of leakage at component level: growth rates of leaks, leak sizes and leak run times. These components allow a data driven approach to be developed for the efficient allocation of resource within a network, based on optimised leakage targeting.

A copy of Sarah’s paper can be found here: Tactical leakage modelling

Both of these these areas of work include novel data analytics and will help water companies meet the stiff challenge from Ofwat to reduce leakage by an additional 15% from 2020 to 2025. More importantly these data driven approaches will be essential in a future where networks will need to be smarter to meet the challenges presented by population growth, limits on abstraction, climate change, higher expectations form consumers and ageing infrastructure.