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A Smart Step ​for Wastewater ​– Reduce ​Operating Costs

Smart Water ​Systems: Data ​and the Future ​of Water ​

Smart water ​systems empower ​utilities to ​provide better ​service at ​lower costs, ​increased ​effectiveness ​and efficiency, ​and with ​reduced ​environmental ​impacts. While ​ground-breaking ​data collection ​and analysis ​technologies ​make smart ​water systems ​possible, ​increased ​pressure on ​resources from ​threats like ​climate change ​make it ​necessary. As ​just one ​sobering ​example, the ​United Nations ​predicts that ​about two-​thirds of the ​world’s ​population ​— 4.6 ​billion people ​— will ​face water-​stressed ​conditions in ​the next decade ​due to ​increased and ​completing ​demands, more ​extreme climate ​conditions, and ​record-​shattering ​weather events. ​

 

Using Data To ​Drive ​Management ​

Smart water ​systems’ ​critical ​capability is ​that they ​fulfill the ​promise of data-​driven ​decisions and ​actions. While ​water utilities ​have long ​gathered ​extensive data ​of all sorts, ​they have all ​too seldom been ​able to use it ​to good effect. ​It sits siloed ​in legacy ​repositories ​that can’​t talk to each ​other, and ​it’s all ​too common for ​a utility’​s disparate ​units to have ​no idea what ​data the others ​have. And ​technologies ​that enable the ​data to be ​consolidated ​and analyzed ​have been ​expensive and ​cumbersome to ​implement. So ​the truth and ​clarity that ​data should ​provide have ​remained out of ​reach. ​

In 2017, the ​Smart Utility ​Task Force of ​the National ​Association of ​Clean Water ​Agencies (NACWA) outlined its vision for the ​“Digital ​Utility of the ​Future” ​that would ​exploit data, ​analytics and ​integrated ​systems to meet ​these aims: ​

  1. Reduce Operational Costs
  2. Manage and Mitigate Risks
  3. Enhance the ​Customer ​Experience ​
  4. Improve Financial Execution
  5. Optimize ​Asset ​Performance and ​Uncover Hidden ​Value ​
  6. Leverage ​Existing ​Communications ​and Computing ​Platforms ​
  7. Maximize the ​Engagement and ​Efficiency of ​Employees; and ​
  8. Integrate ​Water Quality, ​Policy, and ​Performance ​

What Smart ​Moves Have ​Water Utilities ​Made? ​

Many public ​drinking water ​providers are ​already using ​information and ​communications ​technology to ​build smart ​systems to ​achieve a ​sustainable, ​efficient and ​clean water ​supply. As a ​huge bonus, ​these ​innovations let ​them transform ​what were ​formerly “​just” ​ratepayers into ​allies and ​partners in ​conservation, ​reducing costs, ​and spotting ​problems. ​

 

To cite just ​one smart ​system ​breakthrough, ​in 2013 the ​Kansas City ​Kansas Board of ​Public ​Utilities (KC ​BPU) implemented ​Advanced ​Metering ​Infrastructure (​AIM) for the ​city’s ​water supply ​system that ​delivers hourly ​readings in ​real time of ​each customer’​s water ​consumption. ​That’s a ​lot of raw data ​that on its own ​doesn’t ​make a system ​smart. But when ​the data is ​analyzed to ​identify ​consumption ​patterns and ​levels that ​indicate waste ​due to plumbing ​leaks, and ​water ​department ​staff quickly ​contact the ​customers to ​let them know, ​the system ​becomes smart ​– new ​data is ​collected and ​used in a new ​way to prevent ​waste, lower ​costs for the ​provider and ​customer, ​decrease stress ​on the water ​supply and ​infrastructure, ​and forge a ​bond of ​cooperation ​between ​provider and ​consumers. ​Within a few ​years of the ​program’s ​outset, KC BPU ​had contacted ​over 1,500 ​customers ​– or 2.6% ​of the ​utility’s ​56,000 ​households ​served – ​with a ​Residential ​Leak Alert. ​

 

​19 08 2020 

Smart systems ​are still ​largely in the ​future for ​wastewater ​treatment ​utilities, but ​on-boarding ​them will be ​vital to ​providing ​service ​efficiently and ​protecting the ​environment. ​

As a starting ​point, smart ​systems can ​help wastewater ​utilities ​resolve some of ​their “​low-hanging ​fruit” ​issues like ​identifying and ​reducing waste ​in resource use,​ thereby ​reducing ​operational ​costs – ​the first of ​NACWA’s ​aims for ​digital ​utilities of ​the future. ​Some opportunities:​

  • Pumps and ​blowers ​generally ​account for ​most of the ​energy usage at ​treatment ​plants. By ​using smart ​systems to ​track energy ​use and ​performance, ​inefficiencies ​can be ​uncovered and ​eliminated. ​
  • Energy and ​chemical use in ​process and ​disinfection ​systems can be ​tracked and ​compared with ​industry ​benchmarks, ​highlighting ​additional ​areas ripe for ​to tackling ​inefficiencies ​and reducing ​operating costs.​
  • Collection ​networks ​conveys ​wastewater to ​treatment ​plants and ​support ​community ​growth and ​development. ​But by their ​nature, these ​diffuse ​underground ​networks are ​prone to flow ​problems ​including waste ​fat blockages ​and inflow/​infiltration ​from groundwater ​and stormwater. ​While utilities ​address these ​problems with ​programs ​including ​ratepayer ​education and ​infrastructure ​replacement, a ​smart system ​can identify ​potential ​blockage ​buildups by ​using flow ​meters and ​level sensors. ​Tracking the ​resulting data ​can point field ​staff to ​address ​potential ​problem areas ​immediately ​these areas ​instead of ​making field ​visits based on ​historical ​patterns. ​

The Water and ​Wastewater ​sector is ​confronting ​growing ​challenges such ​as ageing ​infrastructure, ​increasing ​pressure from ​the regulators ​and the public ​and fragmented ​expenditure ​allocation. ​Water utilities ​now have to ​step up and go ​beyond simply ​complying with ​the Clean Water ​Act (CWA.) They ​need to adopt ​innovative ​technologies to ​improve ​environmental ​and regulatory ​compliance ​performance, ​while reducing ​costs and ​increasing ​revenue. ​

The future ​digital water ​utilities will ​have to be able ​to capture, ​synthesize and ​analyze ​multiple layers ​of data to ​extract key ​insights. This ​will require a ​centralized ​system focused ​on cross-​functional ​interoperability ​to provide for ​effective ​decision-making.​ The utilities’​ challenge of ​how to increase ​efficiency is ​ready to be ​answered by the ​right advanced ​technology that ​will allow them ​to tackle ​process ​automation as ​well as access ​to the right ​data at the ​right time. ​

The Klir ​Water and ​Wastewater ​solution ​provides a ​single decision-​making platform ​and a 360° ​view of all ​Urban Waste ​Water and ​Drinking Water ​missions to ​help utilities ​make informed ​decisions and ​meet the ​organization’​s strategic ​objectives. ​

Source https://thewaternetwork.com/article-FfV/smart-water-systems-data-and-the-future-of-water-bms9_qf_STlU5BwWtQME3Q

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