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.
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.
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:
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.”