Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Research article
02 Apr 2014
Research article |  | 02 Apr 2014

Online data processing for proactive UK water distribution network operation

J. Machell, S. R. Mounce, B. Farley, and J. B. Boxall

Abstract. Operational benefits and efficiencies generated using prevalent water industry methods and techniques are becoming more difficult to achieve; as demonstrated by English and Welsh water companies' static position with regards the economic level of leakage. Water companies are often unaware of network incidents such as burst pipes or low pressure events until they are reported by customers; and therefore use reactive strategies to manage the effects of these events. It is apparent that new approaches need to be identified and applied to promote proactive network management if potential operational productivity and standards of service improvements are to be realised.

This paper describes how measured flow and pressure data from instrumentation deployed in a UK water distribution network was automatically gathered, checked, analysed and presented using recently developed techniques to generate apposite information about network performance. The work demonstrated that these technologies can provide early warning, and hence additional time to that previously available, thereby creating opportunity to proactively manage a network; for example to minimise the negative impact on standards of customer service caused by unplanned events such as burst pipes. Each method, applied individually, demonstrated improvement on current industry processes. Combined application resulted in further improvements; including quicker and more localised burst main location. Future possibilities are explored, from which a vision of seamless integration between such technologies emerges to enable proactive management of distribution network events.