Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT May 2017

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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10 | MAY 2017 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk D ata is an incredibly valuable resource for water companies, who must use it in the right way to harness it to the best advantage, experts told the WWT Smart Water Networks conference. The conference heard from speakers about the importance of data governance and confidentiality, and the problem of making sure that key operational staff are given the data they require to make a difference to the business. "We are now in a world where data is the new oil – it is a valuable asset that can create tremendous value when used correctly," said Natalie Jakomis, head of data and chief statistician at Dwr Cymru Welsh Water. She said that the company's vision is to better exploit data across the organisation, through a series of analytics projects that make up its WISER (Water Information Strategy Enterprise Roadmap) strategy. These projects have seen data used to predict levels of bacteria in service reservoirs, and predict failure in pumps based on their energy use, for example. While the projects are separate they have to have a core process in place for how data is handled and who it goes to. "We had to get the data governance in place first – otherwise we would just end up with siloed data from all of our different systems," said Jakomis. The conference also heard about 'data hack' and 'data dive' events held by Yorkshire Water and Northumbrian Water in which data was made available to external experts, suppliers and data enthusiasts to derive patterns and come up with potential business improvements based on the insight. "Data is the new raw material of the 21st century, and like coal or oil, it's something that can be mined for profit," said Dr Matt Hill, Environmental Lead Advisor at Yorkshire Water. "There are benefits to both the owners and the users of data… the more we can open it out to others, the more chance there is of getting something that can help us." One exciting area of development is that when water company data is opened up, third parties can use it to create apps which present information in a useful way to the public: for example, Yorkshire Water has made information on its current roadworks available, which has allowed travel apps to make use of it to warn motorists, says Hill. WWT's Smart Water Networks conference was held in Birmingham on March 21st and sponsored by Grundfos and Virgin Media Business. THE SPEAKERS "Data is the new raw material of the 21st century, and like coal or oil, it's something that can be mined for profit." Dr Matt Hill Environmental Lead Advisor, Yorkshire Water "If every innovation project succeeds, it's probably a sign that we are being too risk averse." Richard Hynes- Cooper Head of Innovation, Northern Gas Networks "If you don't get the data governance in place first, you will just end up with siloed data from all of your different systems." Natalie Jakomis head of data, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water James Brockett reports from Birmingham "If we can get to a point where all leaks can be fixed within 2 or 3 days of occurring, we really will have changed the economics of leakage." Dr Joseph Sanders Community Intelligence Manager, Affinity Water Events Data 'like oil' for water companies WWT Asset Management conference, May 10th, Birmingham. NEXT EVENT To take away 1. Data is one of the most valuable resources for water companies, but it must be harnessed effectively, with a strategy ensuring that the right people in the organisation see the right data at the right time. 2. Opening data up to the public and potential suppliers can lead to unexpected benefits, although attention must be paid to data protection aspects. 3. A smart water approach entails much more centralised operational information and control, which has security and workforce implications and requires culture change. 4. Smart metering can yield a double benefit in terms of reducing leakage, highlighting customer side leaks as well as lost water elsewhere in the network. 5. Event duration monitoring of CSOs will give wastewater utilities much more information on their assets, and will also be a spur for the Environment Agency to take action.

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