Advanced modelling tool can transform water distribution network

Schneider Electric places a large emphasis on energy efficiency as a key business issue and help organisations make the most of their energy.

Today’s water professionals need to manage, measure and control energy across multiple activities to achieve maximum performance.

Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure is an integrated hardware and software architecture, which provides visibility across your entire facility, allowing you to control consumption and reduce waste.

Seamlessy integrating the five key enterprise domains of power, process, IT room, buildings and security, EcoStruxure optimises the entire water cycle from to field to enterprise, resulting in up to 30 per cent savings in operating and design costs.

EcoStruxure architecture also incorporates StruxureWare, software applications and suites, collaboratively unifying the above five domains, so that users can see, measure and manage efficiency across entire facilities, at the enterprise, operations and control levels.

EcoStruxure solutions, such as Aquis, deliver process efficiency benefits for water facilities. The hydraulic modelling tool can improve water distribution network performance and deliver both operational and energy savings.

By using live SCADA data, Aquis is transformed from a planning tool to a decision-making tool, integrated in your day-to-day operations – with real time, ‘what if’ simulations and true economic advantages.

The operator does not require any in-depth knowledge of Aquis. By scrolling back and forth on a simple button interface, information such as pressure, flow and quality can be obtained for any given point in time – in the past or in the future.

The Aquis model is fed with live information from the SCADA system as well as forecast information about weather conditions. This enables the model to predict future consumption even during periods of quickly changing or extreme weather conditions.

SCADA enables the linking of smart devices like circuit breakers, meters and protection relays, to provide customers with a complete solution across a common platform. This not only reduces engineering time but also increases productivity, streamlines operations and ultimately creates cost savings for our customers.

Different variables, such as supply pressure, age of the water, amount of chemicals in the water or flow can also be displayed. Effects of interventions, such as opening or closing of valves can be assessed by simulations, which reveal disturbances in consumer supply.

Aquis gives the operator full overview of all aspects of the distribution network. This will provide operational understanding of bottlenecks and potential performance of the network.

Aquis displays the data, such as age or pressure, with colour coding all over the network, enabling the user to learn how the network is functioning at any given time.

The information can be made available to the call centre and error conditions or temporary problems will be evident. The call centre can click on any node in the network to see measurements such as the water pressure at the specific location.

Alarm set points for all parameters can be preconfigured. The model has an accuracy of around one per cent, which means that the model can, in most places, substitute the need for costly instrumentation – here alone the pay-back of Aquis is secured several times.

Aquis is fully integrated with SCADA and can be prepared to send an alarm to the SCADA system if error conditions in the network are predicted. The Aquis system will constantly predict the demand of your network, which is based on history and on the current and future weather situation.

By a click of the mouse the operator can simulate the closing of a valve. Aquis will run prediction and return an alarm if one of the pre-configured set-points is exceeded. The operator will therefore quickly and easily be able to advise the staff in the field if it is safe to close a specific valve. Other related problems can be seen and avoided with intervention simulation.Embedded leakage management system

The system facilitates an easier and quicker identification of leakages, theft or unidentified customers. Consequently the non-revenue water issue can also be addressed and appropriate action taken.

With Aquis you can run scenarios of the network, prior to initiating maintenance work when planning for new neighbourhood consumption. You can also experiment with different operational modes and prepare contingency plans.

Energy management represents five per cent of investment in water infrastructure, but makes up 30 per cent or more of the operating cost for most water utilities. In addition, water networks and treatment plants have a long life cycle and over a plant’s life, 70 per cent of the carbon footprint will result from the energy consumed during operations.

Energy management is the key to operating assets at reduced costs, while use of tested, validated and documented architectures provide capital cost savings for new pumping and treatment plants and desalination plants.

Ongoing monitoring of pumping networks and treatment plants through advanced telemetry and SCADA systems not only provides data for real-time process control, but also provides a rich layer of diagnostic, operational and energy management data that is available to facilitate better decision-making and planning based on factual data.

[Damien McDade is National Segment Manager – Water Wastewater at Schneider Electric.]