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Yorkshire Water has launched the largest and most extensive smart water network pilot in the UK, to further improve the essential water supply service it provides to customers.

The ambitious multi-stakeholder collaboration combines data from acoustic, flow, pressure and water quality monitors and aims to reduce leakage and burst levels in the pilot area in West Sheffield.

In total, this trial has brought together 15 specialist companies in the digital water space to test the latest cutting-edge digital water meters, sensors, advanced analytics and telecommunication channels, including: ATi UK, Stantec, BT, Xylem, Itron, Inflomatix, HWM, Gutermann, Technolog, Primayer, Connexin, Arqiva, MUS and Syrinix.  This is the first time that data from this many differing technologies has been successfully combined into one ‘data lake’ for analysis.

The pilot, which will use data received at near real-time from across its network, will revolutionise the way Yorkshire Water manages leaks in the future, how it further reduces interruptions to supply and thereby reduce the amount of water taken from the environment.

Yorkshire Water Innovation Programme Manager, Sam Bright said:  “Technology has progressed so much over the past few years that we are now able to combine more data streams than ever before and push the boundaries of what is possible using artificial intelligence. It really is an exciting time to be at the forefront of translating these advances into real value for our customers.”

The Smart water network pilot will integrate the rich data from multiple new and existing sources and present it in a single visualisation platform. This will provide a virtual model of the physical assets across the network referred to as a digital twin. Through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, clustering data sets and removing false positives, this will inform asset and operational decision making.

Analysts in Yorkshire Water will be able to prioritise repairs instantly, enabling leaks to be repaired quicker and reducing water lost. The digital twin will have a live hydraulic modelling capability integrated to sensor data in the field, which will be used in real-time to assess the impact of an incident or network anomaly and to provide an informed operational decision support tool.

ATi UK Executive Director, Garry Tabor, said: “Over the last few years, ATi UK have been strong advocates of multi-technology collaboration partnerships, so we welcome, endorse and support the efforts that have gone into making an initiative of this size come to fruition.

“Damian Crawford has done an exceptional job in co-ordinating this project, which is a significant step forward for the world of intelligent networks. Smart water is not just about leakage and Damian has embraced that – it is a fantastic example of the multi-stakeholder collaboration that is necessary to make smart networks a success. 

“During this pilot, data from our MetriNet will be analysed to give insights, allowing the proactive management of distribution networks. Huge cost reductions will be made in areas such as mains rehabilitation, burst identification and prediction and control of flushing operations. It will also help to identify efficacy of the sensors, TOTEX, installation issues and collaboration opportunities. Developing this integrated approach with all the collaborative partners will revolutionise the industry.”

Damian Crawford, Head of Smart Networks and Leakage at Stantec said:  “We are very excited to partner with Yorkshire Water in delivering this innovative pilot and developing the five layers of smart architecture all the way from designing the physical asset layer through to developing data analytics to support the desired business outcomes.”

The 12-month pilot and the outputs will be used as part of the wider Yorkshire Water’s digital strategy to determine future dynamic control and system optimisation capabilities.

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