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SmartWaterGrid

SmartWaterGrid will research and design a smart system that substantiates, facilitates and automates leak localisation up to street level in soft real-time.

Hybrid digital twins for accelerated leak localization for drinking water grids

As the climate changes, water availability comes under stress, making efficient water provision all the more critical. However, undiscovered water grid leaks cause over 60 million m3 of drinking water to be lost every year in Flanders alone. To help turn the tide, SmartWaterGrid will create hybrid digital twins of real-time water flow and pressure. This will be done using IoT sensors augmented with GIS data, hydraulic models, expert knowledge and human feedback to accelerate and fine-tune the process of localizing leaks.

Ad hoc leak detection methods often still prevail

The water regulator of Flanders estimates that network water losses can amount to 20% of annual consumption for some providers at a heavy annual cost. While big leaks are spectacular, they are easy to localize. They result in much smaller losses than medium and small leaks, which can stay unnoticed and therefore have long running times. While state-of-the-art predictive consumption approaches already exist, many providers still rely on ad hoc, often manual methods to find these smaller-sized leaks.

State-of-the-art approaches require further development

Both ad hoc and state-of-the-art leak detection methods are restricted to detecting leaks on the level of tens of kilometers network length. Subsequent localization remains expensive and labor intensive. SmartWaterGrid will develop a smart monitoring solution that enables continuous improvement, driving the shift from manual measurements to real-time analysis and proactive customer alerts. It will reduce the number of extra sensors needed, creating a positive business case for significantly lower leakage rates while at the same time stimulating positive customer engagement.

Ground-breaking goals to tackle using sensors, digital twins and modeling

The SmartWaterGrid consortium gathers partners with expertise in digital twinning, sensors and data analysis and social engagement. Together, they want to achieve 4 innovation goals:

  1. Achieve a multidimensional cost-benefit optimization that balances number of sensors with prediction accuracy and customer satisfaction.
  2. Improve leak localization from 70 km to less than 1 km.
  3. Reduce leak localization time from weeks to a few hours.
  4. Evaluate the SmartWaterGrid, which consists of a leak localization system and a proactive customer alerting and interaction platform, in a pilot zone.

A demonstrator with high practical value

SmartWaterGrid will surpass the state of the art in terms of data capture across the water grid as well as hybrid digital twin modeling, which involves both data-driven and model-driven digital twin approaches applied to collected sensor data. The resulting demonstrator and strategy will be incorporated into the offerings of all industry partners to boost service levels, decrease costs and waste and meet increased pressure from regulators.

“SmartWaterGrid will create hybrid digital twins of real-time water flow and pressure. This will be done using IoT sensors augmented with GIS data, hydraulic models, expert knowledge and human feedback to accelerate and fine-tune the process of localizing leaks.”

SmartWaterGrid

Hybrid digital twins for accelerated leak localization for drinking water grids

SmartWaterGrid is an imec.icon research project funded by imec and Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen.

It started on 01.10.2019 and is set to run until 30.09.2021.

Project information

Industry

  • Aloxy
  • De Watergroep
  • Hydroscan     
  • Itineris

Research

  • imec – IDLab IBCN – UGent
  • imec – IDLab Data Science Lab – UGent
  • imec – IDLab MOSAIC – UAntwerpen

Contact

  • Project lead: Filip Vancoillie
  • Research lead: Sofie Van Hoecke
  • Proposal Manager: Sofie Van Hoecke
  • Innovation manager: Eric Moons

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