Water networks

In recent years, water companies, users and legislators got an arising awareness for searching the water losses in water supply networks.

BM IDRODATA tried to answer the questions related to water losses:

  1. How many water is lost and where?
  2. Why the water is lost?
  3. What do we have to do to reduce water losses and have a better management?
  4. What do we have to do to ensure the method we chose is the right one?

To answer these questions, BM IDRODATA started from the search of water losses and reached the management of water losses. This was possible thanks to WATERGUARD, the software for virtual hydrical dicstritcs.

The services of BM IDRODATA are:

  • Creation of real and virtual water districts for water losses management.
  • Supply, installation and maintenance of the measuring devices.
  • Use of WATERGUARD software to manage water districts.
  • Optimize water supply network pressure.
  • Numerical models: classic or with genetic algorithms.

What are water districts?

Create a water district means divide a water network in homogeneous districts, territorially collected, and with similar hydraulic features for having a better management of the water supply network. It is possible to create water districts either in new or in existing water networks. In this last case, it is necessary to trace the limit of the water network and the inputs (and output, if necessary) of the water source. Water districts represent an innovative technique. They are the evolution of a traditional approach with water distribution system in all the urban territory. The traditional approach to water network has advantages, such as its working flexibility and easy project of network extensions, but disadvantages too: a less effective control of the water system and difficulties in the monitoring process of the water losses. The creation of virtual water districts allows the monitoring process of incoming and outgoing flow rates and pressures of a part of the water network by using suitable measuring devices. The analysis of the results defines the district’s water balance, that is the quantity of water needed in every moment of the day. If the analysis of a water district consumption is well defined and based on the network extension and on the number/type of users, it will quantify, during the night, the water losses. Pressure measurements, instead, are used to know the trend of piezometric in the water network, in order to check if could be possible to act in some areas o reduce water losses. The pressure modulation is the most effective and cheapest activity if there are networks with big losses and high piezometric values. Regulation is usually obtained by installing pressure valves in the water network.

What water districts are used for?

Water districts can be used for:

  • identify and delete the areas with different piezometric levels;
  • define the measuring points in order to optimize the search for water losses, improving the performances of the water network;
  • distribution of the pressure rates in the water network;
  • make the determination of the water balance easier;
  • increase the water accounted for users;
  • isolate parts of the water network in case of damages, pollution or external factors;
  • define renewal interventions.

Software and Devices

There are different devices and softwares used by BM IDRODATA to create virtual water districts: Ultrasonic Transit Time Flow Meters, Pressure Sensors, Data Logger and GPRS/SMS systems. They are all integrated in the portable ultrasonic flow meters type LLB-PTTFM2000, with a one year battery life. The loaded data are analysed with WATERGUARD software, developed by BM IDRODATA. Waterguard receives the data sent by the measuring devices via GPRS/GSM, and it checks, validates and elaborates them in order to quantify automatically the consumption of the water network and the trand of water losses.

How to manage water losses with WATERGUARD software

BM IDRODATA developed WATERGUARD to manage the water districts. It is an essential tool for water district division by using pressure and flow rate measurements to manage and reduce water losses in water networks. WATERGUARD receives signals sent by any measuring device (of flow rate, pressure, power absorption, power consumption, any signal related to an electrical impulse) by GPRS/GSM technologies. Data are analysed and validated; in this way the user can optimize the management of the water network and can choose how to act to reduce water losses and, for example, the power consumption of pumping stations. The system is based on the data collection form the measuring devices, by using Data Loggers with GPRS/GSM modem. Data are collected and sent to a server located in the customer’s facilities or in the web farm of BM TECNOLOGIE INDUSTRIAL. Incoming data (named RAW DATA) are saved and classified in an Oracle data base. A copy of the raw data is always saved in the system. Then, raw data are analysed to check if they are continuative, suitable and if there are errors or troubles. After this first control phase, they are processed by default o by rules defined by the operator. The system is opened, so new rules can be defined by the operator in any moment in the dedicated WATERGUARD window. When the data are elaborated or validated, they are saved in Oracle data base, as it happened for the raw data. WATERGUARD includes the calculation code EPANET from USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency): if the operator set the geometrical features of the water network, it is possible to see the real time working status of the whole monitored system, based on the data received from the flow meters and pressure sensors. The numerical model is used to know the pressure and flow rate trend and their direction. The numerical model, as mentioned before, runs continuously based on the incoming data, but it is also possible to upload old data in order to evaluate the behavior of the water network in a defined period of time or situation. This function is very useful to evaluate afterward the critical events that happened in the past and have a clear view of what exactly happened. The system is composed of a main software for receiving, validating and saving the incoming data and of a client software used to examine the data base and display all the information. The main software has to be installed in a server for data receiving, while the client software does not need any installation: it could be launched even form an USB pen drive. WATERGUARD is an user friendly software and is composed of windows to help the operator. It has a GIS system too: it is possible to upload all the information about the water network features and the installed devices in a geographical reference.