Just as the smart grid is the new reality for the energy industry, smart water networks are the new face of the water utility industry. In a piece published in Australian business publication ferret, Council Lead Partner Schneider Electric outlines the importance of data analytics and other technologies in transforming a dumb water network into an efficient, automated system – and spells out four steps water utilities can take to ensure a successful transition.
What do smart water networks offer?
The benefits of incorporating data analysis into a water network are better performance with the possibility of improved customer service, and a uniquely detailed way to visualize the network's operations.
On the technology side, smart water networks include the integration of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), meter data management solutions, advanced metering and automated meter reading and more. Those all enhance the ability to prevent the water loss prevalent in dumb systems through leak detection and control, pressure management, equipment repairs and asset management, the company says.
Schneider Electric describes four basic steps intended to occur over time. The following is a brief summary (learn more in the ferret article):
- Within the next few weeks: Obtain an objective assessment by identifying those areas in the existing water system that most need efficiency improvements.
- Within the next six months: Develop a roadmap based on where low upfront investment will yield the desired results in a short period of time.
- Within the next year: Select the areas where the benefits of a smart water network can grow, and select a high level sponsor for the program and come to agreement on the scope of the work, a budget and resources.
- Within two years: Put together a long-range sustainability plan for the program that addresses succession for sponsors and project leaders – and add long-term monitoring and measurement to gauge progress.