Water utilities serving more than 25 million customers from around the globe – USA, Latin American, Australia, Asia and across Europe – participated in this survey, which aims to shed some light on the current status and potential value of online water network monitoring.
What are the key findings?
From a preliminary analysis, it appears that most participants use one online monitoring system or more, and receive sensors data constantly, but still do most of the network analysis work manually.
Among the water utilities that participated in the survey, about 80% use online monitoring systems for their water distribution network. This means that the majority of utilities participating in the survey have data transmitted from network sensors to a central system at least every hour on average. A high proportion of sensors transmit data even more frequently. This, of course, depends on the type of sensor and its location.
According to the initial analysis, all participating water utilities have flow meters deployed in their distribution network, and the majority of utilities also have sensors measuring pressure (89%), water level (88%) and quality indicators such as water turbidity (68%) residual chlorine (68%) and pH (63%). Key barriers for deploying more sensors are associated with the related costs (equipment, installation and maintenance).
When asked how valuable they expect real-time online monitoring (defined as ‘data transmission at least every 15 minutes’) to be for their water utility, 84% of respondents rated it as important (ratings of 8, 9 or 10, out of a range of 1-10).
Figure 1: How valuable do you expect real-time online monitoring (data transmission at least every 15 minutes) to be for your utility? Please rate from 1 to 10.
The main perceived benefits of using frequent data transmissions are:
– Better network visibility
– Better network management
– Early detection of network failures
– Higher compliance with regulatory targets
On the flip side, the key barriers for more frequent data transmissions from sensors are the impact on the life expectancy of sensors’ power source as well as increased communication costs.
Most respondents recognize the value of online monitoring and more specifically of real-time online monitoring, and many of them believe that this will be an integral part of future water distribution networks.
Source: SWAN Forum http://www.swan-forum.com
The full report will be published here in early January.
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