Intelligent Water Networks release program update videos

The Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) have released program updates recorded at the Champions Conference in October 2018.

Big Data and Analytics leader David Bergmann, Biosolids and Resource Recovery leader Mick Hawtin, Energy Optimisation and Power leader John Day and Leak Detection, Condition Assessment and Infiltration leader Dean Barnett all delivered succinct updates.

Scroll down to see them all.

New Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing program lead announced

Michael Thomas from Barwon has been announced as the Intelligent Water Networks’ (IWN) new Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing program lead.

Michael takes over from Yarra Valley’s Tanya Pearson, who led the program since its inception 18 months ago.  On his immediate agenda will be overseeing the digital metering workshop on the 21 November with the support of DEWLP, as well as the IWN Knowledge Sharing conference to be held at Barwon Water in March 2019.

Michael comes into the role after serving as a Champion for Barwon in the Western Region. Talking about his new role, Michael said: “This is a tremendous opportunity to build on my time as an IWN Champion and to make a return contribution to IWN. Through the IWN leadership program and development sessions, I feel I’m ready to step-up’and continue the great work by Tanya and her team.

“In many respect, while 2019 will be a year of consolidation, I’m especially excited to explore new and innovative opportunities that make networking and knowledge sharing easier.”

On this front, IWN would like to recognise Tanya for all the hard work she did while in the role. Program Director Brett Millington was full of praise for the work she did for the program, adding: “Tanya has been passionate about the role of IWN in the Victorian Water industry and the value of collaboration. 

“She saw the need to ensure the important work we are doing is more effectively shared at all levels of the member corporations, and hence the drive to establish this program. Her efforts should be duly commended.”

 

OSIsoft PI trial proves huge benefits to customers

The objective of the OSIsoft PI trial was to demonstrate that IoT data (from digital meters) in online sources could be assimilated into the PI System and show that value could be added by analysing data and displaying it to consumers and creating alerts based on the data.

Digital meters were trialled during the flagship project using IoT devices connected with the Sigfox radio network. The meters measured water consumption and periodically sent a meter index back to the Sigfox repository.  Current access to this data is challenging and would be done via logging into a Sigfox cloud system and manually extracting the data for external use. This is another example of siloed data being difficult to access and extract value from, and this is an example of the type of challenge this trial was designed to overcome.

The PI System provides an extensible platform, allowing integrators to define their own tools to process data and interact with the PI System components.  In this GTS had developed a connector to the Sigfox back-end database because the data payload of each device needed to be decoding according to each manufacturer’s data model.

The flagship trial demonstrated a cloud-based interface to the Sigfox back end fetching and loading digital meter data into the PI System, analysis of the data to provide current meter read and other useful information. It Installed meter data and alerts displayed on a map, provided notifications based on meter data and was able to make data returned to the local PI Systems for access by local users.

The flagship trial demonstrated efficiency in managing and incorporating IoT data stored in external web-based systems and was able to leverage the digital meter data to provide useful services to customers (such as raising alerts on unusual usage patterns and avoiding bill shock by providing current consumption data). This is a huge benefit.

Data & Analytics Program Lead David Bergmann said: “our customer will value being notified quickly of any leaks or unusual usage – much better outcomes that our current quarterly meter reading and billing processes.”

 For further information contact the D&A Program Lead: david.bergmann@sew.com.au.

IWN program lead Andrea Pogue presents at AWA event

Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) Edge Technology program lead Andrea Pogue recently presented at the Australian Water Association (AWA) FUTURAMA tech event in Melbourne.

The event was sold out and Pogue made the trip down from Shepparton to deliver her talk, which helped set the scene of the day.

Topics covered included areas that IWN are actively investigating or considering, such as virtual reality/augmented reality, AI, satellite monitoring, remote sensors and smart metering.

It’s encouraging to hear the industry talk openly about a future that involves so many areas that IWN are investigating, and it provides further proof that the organisation is running trials that can provide real value to the Victorian water industry.

Other speakers included figures from the Victorian water industry and associated consultancies.

OSIsoft PI shows complex reporting can be automated and provided as live

The objective of the OSIsoftPI was to demonstrate that complex reporting can be automated and provided as live in an online dashboard.

One of the challenges common to all Victorian water authorities is the requirement to provide a standard report to the Essential Services Commission (ESC). This is typically a time-consuming manual process involving capture of data from many sources into a spreadsheet prepared monthly and submitted to the ESC annually.

In addition to the inefficiency of the manual process the use of the data is retrospective, which means the opportunity to take corrective action to meet targets is gone by the time the report is produced.

The PI System can provide the solution to this challenge as it can be used to interface with data from many different sources, perform calculations on the data and use the data in reports and dashboards. 

Additionally, the PI System provides a plug in for Excel, which allows the data to be downloaded into report files. The flagship solution demonstrated that it could collect available ESC data and key performance indicator (KPI) targets into a single structure, calculate year to date and monthly performance against targets, and provide the automation of report preparation such as auto-generating annual spreadsheet and a real-time KPI dashboard.

However this was a prototype and users were trained to modify or create their own displays presenting data in ways that are most meaningful to them.

Through automation, the reporting process becomes much more efficient - thus reducing human effort and releasing resources to do more meaningful work. By having access to live data, users can make tactical decisions that result in better compliance with targets such as avoiding what may otherwise have been a non-compliance.

The dashboard updated in real time, showing managers how their activity was tracking for the current month and year to date. Moreover, by analysing longer term data they could review current year vs. past years to measure improvement and look for peaks caused by seasonal or other factors so that steps could be taken to avoid unwanted incidents.

Taking a step further towards the digital utility, the data from each water authority may be published to the cloud and accessed directly by the Department for Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) or the ESC.  Rather than ask water authorities for new or modified reports, DELWP may instead simply describe a dataset to be provided from which they could perform their own aggregations, analyses, run reports and view real time dashboards.

Data & Analytics Program Lead David Bergmann said: “a consistent, automated and near realtime way of reporting will give new insights to water utilities and revolutionise the way we report to stakeholders.”

For further information contact the D&A Program Lead - david.bergmann@sew.com.au.

Acknowledgement GTS and OSIsoft PI for above content.      

Explained: The architecture of the system and scope of the OSIsoft PI trial

The architecture of the Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) flagship solution by GTS and OSIsoft PI comprised on-premise PI systems at each participating water authority as well as a PI system in the cloud. 

The on-premise systems collected data from local sources, allowed day-to-day client access, tools and interfaces to local systems as well as providing an environment for developing unique site-specific solution components.

The on-premise PI systems published selected data to a cloud-based PI system. It then aggregated data from each participating water authority and provided consistent data modelling, analyses and reporting features as well as feeding calculation results back to the local systems for integration with on premise systems (e.g. creating service requests in local asset management systems).

The areas for improvement in day-to-day activities where data plays a key role were identified through workshops with key stakeholder participating water authorities. 

In particular five common areas of interest were identified and defined the scope of the PI Trial process, these included:

  • ESC reporting

  • Data accessibility

  • Asset performance

  • Water quality

  • Customer experience. 

These will be discussed in future posts.
For further information contact the D&A Program Lead - david.bergmann@sew.com.au.

2018 Champions Conference was a great success

The 2018 Champions Conference ended on Thursday 11th of October and proved to be a great success for all involved.

Over the course of Wednesday 10th, the Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) Champions were exposed to leadership at the edge by Mike Boyle and Cameron Geddes. Reflections on the Midnight Rambler’s heroic experience during the Sydney to Hobart race in 1999 formed the bones of the sessions, and the lessons learned from that will leave the Champions in good stead moving forward.

Guava Insights then ran the second day and focused the session around organisational anxiety and how that can be reduced in the workplace. With a focus on empowering leaders and decision-makers with clarity, foresight and certainty, the session ensured that Champions had something tangible to take back to their water corporations.

Positive feedback from current Champions was received, and the two days should equip them with further knowledge and skills to make a positive impact at IWN and their respected water corporations.

OSIsoft PI trial presents encouraging summary reports

Green Technology Services (GTS) has a cloud-based data management solution comprising OSIsoft PI hosted on Microsoft Azure and ESRI ArcGIS for data display. 

The pilot aimed to demonstrate aggregation and analysis of data from distributed assets, such as smart meters and sensors, with web-based visualisation of this data. So far, the summary reports have been very encouraging.

It was found that the PI solution was able to interface data from many different sources, perform calculations on the data and use the data in reports and dashboards. An advantage of this is it’s time saving ability, while it will also be able to reduce human error due to its ability to be used for standardised ESC reports.

The trial was also able to demonstrate that PI could provide a single point for data access of real time data from multiple sources and it could also organise and provide self-service visualisation tools. This would provide easy to understand information to more users, which would enable faster and better decision making on issues and assets.

As well as that, the PI systems also showed that it could interface with file based data and live field data such as that for water quality. The automation of data processing, comparison of trends and organisation into reporting dashboards will be a huge benefit to the water industry.

Comparison of data is important, and the Solution was able to excel in this field as well. It could receive data files from external equipment trials such as the Sewer Batt sonar pipe condition assessment technology and compare it to other time-series data and display with geospatial data to demonstrate on a map based visualisation pipe condition.

The PI Solution was able to interface with the backend IoT devices (ie. Sigfox) to load digital meter data into the PI system, and then demonstrated how this could be visualised, and notifications provided.  The trial Solution was also able to demonstrate how internal wastewater flows could be compared with external rainfall data feeds to identify areas of potential unusual inflow and infiltration.

The Knowledge Sharing Hub aims to launch a new era of collaboration

The Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) have played a part in developing a brand new collaboration and knowledge sharing platform.

This bespoke portal, developed under the watchful eye of Yarra Valley Water’s Vincent Halloran, will allow Victorian Water industry staff to contact their peers and engage in open collaborative conversation about IWN projects and programs. The Knowledge Hub allows for media sharing in multiple forms such as video, photos, articles, press releases. This makes it the perfect tool for creating and sharing online content about IWN projects and programs.

Project lead Halloran said: “It’s been an interesting IT challenge for me, but really rewarding to build such a flexible and functional online tool for the IWN. I’m really looking forward to seeing it put to good use over the years to come. The key to the platforms success now will be how well people take this up and use it to upload and share IWN project content in the coming weeks.”

The IWN Knowledge Hub will be launched to the IWN Program Leads and Champions at the upcoming Champions workshop on 10th and 11th of October 2018. Following the workshop, it will be up to the program leads and project managers to upload existing content before the platform is launched to the wider Victorian Water Industry in the not too distant future.

One of the great things about the IWN Knowledge hub portal is its simplicity and user friendly experience. It’s designed to be intuitive with minimal instruction required. Once the portal is live, the IWN champions will communicate further detail on how to access the portal.

Want to know more? Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with vincent.halloran@yvw.com.au

 

 

Video: Waternamics explained in three easy minutes

The Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) Waternamics project has been making a splash at Western Water (WW), and now they’ve produced a video about it.

The three minute clips shows the benefits and values from the trial, which has impressed staff and managers at WW.

Waternamics is part of the Big Data and Analytics program run by David Bergmann. It’s the second project to see positive outcomes, although it only officially only ends in November 2018. Watch the video below to see just how effective the trial has been!

 

 

IWN come away from the World Water Congress in Tokyo with important validation and learnings

Big Data and Analytics Program Leader David Bergmann was an attendee at the IWA World Water Congress in Tokyo last week and came away from the event with valuable insights and learning for the Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) program.

The workshop on Digitisation of Water – Trends and Opportunities highlighted the problems that are common around the world. Many of the issues talked about have been part of the Big Data and Analytics trials, results of which are to be released shortly.

Water utilities around the world lose around $9.6 billion a year because of non-revenue water. Tom Mills from Xylem believes that the effective use of analytics, a digitisation of water networks and good responses can bring this under control. Predicting leaks and minimising disruption to customers can play a big role in this – again, this is encouraging to hear as it confirms that the IWN Big Data and Analytics program is working towards solutions that will have real value for members and the wider industry.

The developments in AI have made programs like Big Data extremely important. Professor Dragan Savic’s Hydroinfomatics concept makes it clear that prescriptive analytics can improve customer service delivery and cut down response time from days to hours.

Work done in IWN has been echoed around the world and Hideyuki Tadokoro from Hitachi described a ‘system of systems view’ that was similar to the concept proposed within the Data and Analytics program – as did Lars Therkidsen when describing the goals for The Greater Copenhagen Utility (HOFOR). 

Data and Analytics was investigated further by Rebekah Eggers, who works for IBM. Their Digital Twin concept fits in with the working of the Big Data and Analytics program and learnings can be made by studying it.

Eye in the sky and an asset risk monitoring trial

North East Water (NEW) will be participating in a trial in an attempt to validate that the use of satellite data and advanced analytical techniques can in detecting hotspots of activity and the locations of heightened risks attributable to the failure (collapse or leakage) of pipeline assets.

Data layer deliverables to be identified will include terrain movement, vegetation intrusion, pipeline asset risk and asset risk zones. A contractor will also provide a list of identified leaks via a street address. Then with each leak will be marked on an individual site plan and validated using existing site acoustic methods.

This trial won’t be focused purely on actual leak detection, but will also be used to assess if the combination of outputs add to can provide potential leak detection benefits indicators.  It should may also be used to provide advanced warning of horizontal and vertical ground movement. Further to that, there is the and potentially for this technology to detect ground slumping caused by infiltration into stormwater and wastewater networks.

Longer term benefits to Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) members could be gained by using it as an early warning ‘big picture’ assessment of their assets. This can include all assets,  including water, draining drainage and waste water as well as roads, reservoirs, dams, water courses, pump stations and critical trunk mains.

Dean Barnett, IWN Program Manager - Leak Detection, Condition Assessment & Infiltration said: “This is a very exciting project which could change the way water corporations do business into the future.

We have a great diverse team working on this project, from specialised contractors to skilled and experienced staff from NEW. It’s only early days as the project kicked off last month.

At this stage we believe some longer-term benefits to IWN members is an early warning big picture high level assessment of their assets, which can include all assets from water, drainage and waste water, as well as to roads, reservoirs,  and dams, water courses, or pump stations. and critical trunk mains. All this can all be monitored precisely over time with the detection of millimetre variations.

We should have some more conclusive results towards the end of the year and early next year.”

 

 

 

Intelligent Water Networks share knowledge and learnings to a Chinese delegation

The Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) have hosted a Chinese delegation from Tianjin Municipal, who were eager to learn more about the organisation’s projects and programs.

A presentation was given by Program Director Brett Millington, which went into details surrounding IWN’s current programs – while Millington fielded questions at the end from the knowledge thirsty delegation.

While the networks were set up to enable and foster greater collaboration between Victorian water corps, this international link is an example of the shared challenges the world faces and proves the value of having an organisation such as IWN.

If knowledge, data and learnings from around the globe can be shared and accessed, it’ll enable more efficient decision making than ever before. And that is the ultimate goal of the IWN.

Talking about the session, Millington said: “It’s always great to explore the different ways of approaching services such as water and sewerage around the world and discuss the common problems we face.  Innovation comes in many forms, but typically starts with a problem to be solved.”

Dr Robert Ross and Dean Barnett provide valuable video insight into their PPPR project

Dr Robert Ross and Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) program lead Dean Barnett have provided a valuable video insight into the Pipe Probe Penetration Robot (PPPR) project.

Ross, from La Trobe University, and Barnett from Western Water, have been working on the concrete pipe testing machine as part of the Leak Detection, Condition Assessment and Infiltration program.

Acidic hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) can build up in concrete sewer mains, softening concrete pipe walls and causing cracks and eventual collapse. The ability to accurately detect pipe deterioration early would minimise repair costs and service disruption.

Western Water partnered with La Trobe University in 2016 to develop and trial a Concrete Pipe Testing device. The technology comprises a small robotic tractor with a CCTV camera, which is lowered into an active sewer main via a manhole. The tractor records footage and tests the density of the concrete (relative to new concrete) at regular intervals, for up to 150 metres in either direction of the manhole. This data is analysed to determine the remaining life of the sewer and which, if any, sections require immediate replacement.

Watch the video update on the project below.

AT THE CUTTING EDGE: HOW REMOTE MOWERS ARE ALREADY MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Remote technology has already made a difference to water corporations in Victoria as they have experienced an increase in efficiency and safety while mowing sloped areas.

In particular, Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) experienced great success at Newlyn, Tullaroop and Cairn Curran dams. Remote mowing at all three sites was responsible for the first effective inspection of downstream batters in over 10 years, while contractors at Hume Dam now use remote mowing equipment  on all steep slopes.

GMW has experienced a number of benefits from the use of this technology. Cutting with remote mowers enables a safe way to view steep dam embankment and removes OH&S hazards which affect dam safety inspections, such as slips, trips and falls.

A uniform grass length also allows any defects along dam embankments to be more easily observed. These include animal burrows, seepage, cracks and undulations. A uniform depth of grass cut would also allow technology such as drones to give a more effect aerial surveillance of dam embankments.

Andrew Gillingham, Senior Storage Officer, Catchment Services at GMW observed that this new technology was a huge upgrade on existing methods: “The remote mowers can cover this ground much more efficiently and safely.  One of the many OHS benefits of using this machinery includes better traction and less disturbance to the surface of the embankments.”

Meanwhile, Dam Safety Manager at GMW David Jeffery agreed that the remote mowers aided them a huge amount. “An even depth of cut grass allows any embankment defects to be more readily observed, including undulations, cracks, seepage and animal burrows and the uniform depth of cut grass also allows other technology, such as drones, to provide a more effective aerial surveillance of dam embankments afterwards,” he added.

Melbourne Water have also experienced success with this technology, although not on the same level as GMW. After a demonstration by the North East Grass team, in which mowers tackled a 22-degree batter. The Melbourne Water waterways and land department (WLD) has committed to undertake steps to determine the economic viability of introducing the mowers into the business.

DATA MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TRIALS SET TO DRIVE WATER INDUSTRY FORWARD

The Intelligent Water Networks’ Flagship Program is currently carrying out 3 technology based trials. Each trial is investigating a different data management software, so that Victorian water corporations can decide which system, if any, they’d like to adopt going forward. Each system being trialled has been designed to better manage and integrate data so as to improve customer service, business processes, asset management and field operations.

Western Water is currently trialling Waternamics by Veolia and IBM, which is a software designed to integrate every facet of a water corporation’s operation. The Waternamics base platform displays integrated data and automates standard operating procedures. Additional modules offer specialised functions to assist specific operations, i.e. management of drinking water, wastewater, energy, customer service and work orders. Waternamics software will be linked to five existing management systems within Western Water as well as the GPS devices fixed to their vehicle fleet and stationary assets. Other corporations will be able to experience the platform via a ‘sandbox environment’ and the trial at Western Water will conclude in June 2018.

The second data management platform set to be trialled is i software by AECOM. This trial is being considered for Barwon Water, with Westernport Water and Gippsland Water observing, and Deakin University, Schneider Electrics and SEAMS UK advising. If it proceeds, the project will involve an Enterprise Decision Analytics platform to improve management of water and sewer mains and pumping stations. A second project under consideration (and open for participation by other water utilities) involves the use of predictive analytics on telemetry data to improve pump performance and efficiency. 

OSIsoft PI software by Green Technology Services is the third data management system that the Flagship Program is investigating, and this platform will be piloted at Lower Murray and East Gippsland Water until April 2018. OSIsoft PI is a cloud-based data management system that can aggregate, analyse and display real-time data from distributed assets, to streamline operations. Green Technology Services completed the design and build phase of the project in August 2017, and will continue to provide guidance to the two corporations with relation to their ongoing use of the PI software and analytics display throughout the course of the trial.

It is hoped that these data management solutions will ultimately assist water corporations in making sensible and cost-effective asset investment and business decisions.

Man Versus Machine: IWN Project Investigates Whether Remotely Operated Vehicles Offer a Safer, More Efficient And More Cost-Effective Alternative To Manual Tank Cleaning

The Intelligent Water Networks’ Remote Technologies Program recently conducted a series of trials designed to investigate, test and evaluate the benefits of using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to clean undrained water tanks.

Potable water tanks require regular cleaning so that a high level of water quality is maintained, however current methods for cleaning online tanks have inherent safety risks.

“At present, tanks are taken offline and drained, or divers are sent in to clean the tanks manually while the tanks aren’t in operation,” Project Manager Tanya Pearson said.

“Using divers to clean sediment build-up is costly, labour-intensive and raises hazard exposure safety concerns, so our project looked at ROVs as an alternative in order to eliminate the need for confined space entry by humans. We also assessed the technology’s efficiency and cost in comparison to manual cleaning,” Ms Pearson said.

In October of this year, Kelly’s Australia was commissioned to trial the WEDA VR-600 underwater cleaning ROV supplied by VoR Environmental at six Victorian water corporation sites: Yarra Valley Water, Coliban Water, South East Water, Goulburn Valley Water, Westernport Water and East Gippsland Water.

Not unlike a pool cleaner, the ROV tank cleaner crawls along the bottom of a water tank or basin on caterpillar tracks. It uses rotating brushes to loosen stubborn material and a powerful submersible pump to suck up sediment. The waste is discharged via a hose into nearby sewers or a tanker truck, or where appropriate, disposed into the stormwater system. The ROV is also equipped with lights and cameras, is steered by an operator using real-time video, and cleans between 80 and 90 square metres per hour.

The WEDA VR-600 ROV was trialled on five water tanks and one basin, some of which remained online and some of which were taken offline.

Upon completion of the trials, data revealed that the ROV effectively and efficiently cleaned the base of the water tanks, and the technology’s operational cost was found to be comparable to that of using divers. The ROV also eliminated the need for confined space entry by humans thereby cancelling out its associated risk factors. Turbidity monitoring at the tank outlets and CCTV vision also confirmed that ROVs are capable of cleaning tanks whilst they’re in service, and can do so without disturbing sediments or causing slugs of dirty water to reach the outlet. Unfortunately, the ROV was unable to clean the basin at East Gippsland Water, due to the uneven nature of the basin’s surface, and its sloping sides.

Project Manager Tanya Pearson was pleased with the outcomes of the various trials.

“IWN’s ROV Tank Cleaning Project has provided the water industry with some extremely valuable learnings.”

IWN DIGITAL METERING COLLABORATION WORKSHOP

IWN recently ran a Digital Metering Collaboration Workshop at Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne, after recent survey results revealed that a significant interest exists in this area.

Presentations were given by industry employees and relevant experts on current digital metering projects, business cases, digital innovations and the lessons that have been learnt in this space thus far.

IWN’s Assistant Program Director, Rowan Keeble, said that the event was well attended and proved to be a beneficial collaborative exercise.

"We had great support for the recent Intelligent Water Networks' digital metering collaboration workshop, with representatives from all over Victoria meeting to share lessons on digital metering,” Mr Keeble said.

Following the presentations, those in attendance were asked to work shop a series of questions to promote open communication and facilitate connections across the industry.

Mr Keeble also noted the importance of knowledge sharing with regard to new technologies.

"It is essential that the water industry continues to monitor these digital metering advances and share their experiences to help capitalise on the benefits available." 

Digital metering: what could possibly go wrong?

Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) has developed a unique and valuable risk assessment tool for Victorian water businesses considering a move to digital metering.

‘The Digital Metering Risk Assessment Tool (DMRAT) is a prime example of the industry-led collaboration and innovation made possible by the IWN,’ says Neil Brennan, Chair of the IWN.

‘Many Victorian water businesses are contemplating digital metering, with some already working on business cases for consideration by their customers, Boards, the State Government and other stakeholders.

‘To ensure that these businesses cases are robust, all risks associated with digital metering must be identified, along with appropriate mitigations.'

 'If we separately engaged an expert consultant to complete our own risk assessments, it would cost up to $50,000 per business,’ says Virginia Collins, from Yarra Valley Water – leader of the DMRAT project, for the IWN.

‘Since all water businesses face common issues with digital metering, the IWN provided the platform to combine the resources of multiple stakeholders, do this work once and share the results across the industry.

‘As well as making significant savings in consultant fees, collaboration also allowed us to collate the collective knowledge of experienced personnel from multiple water businesses, ensuring a more thorough risk analysis.’

The development of the DMRAT was fully funded by the IWN, which is funded through member organization contributions. Yarra Valley Water managed the project, under a steering committee of representatives from other water businesses.

Oakley Greenwood was selected as the consultant on the project, after a tender process.

‘Oakley Greenwood facilitated a series of three full-day workshops to identify digital metering risks and mitigations. These were attended by 19 people, representing 14 water corporations, the IWN Executive Group and VicWater,’ Ms Collins says.

‘In addition, the consultant interviewed external stakeholders, including the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria, the Essential Services Commission, the Water Services Association of Australia, and Victorian Government departments.

‘Nearly 200 risks associated with digital metering were identified through this process, along with recommended mitigations.’

The comprehensive list of potential risks produced through the IWN project includes those associated with customer perceptions, technology failures, data management and protection challenges, contractor problems, OH&S matters, environmental hazards, industrial relations issues, legal troubles, financial risks, vandalism, and more.

The risks and proposed mitigations were considered in the context of various business scenarios.

‘Different water businesses will make different technological and operational choices regarding digital metering, which change the associated risks, their weightings, and the possible mitigations,’ explains Ms Collins.

‘For example, one water business might choose ‘bleeding-edge’ metering and communications technologies, and an operational model involving multiple contractors and high frequency meter readings. Their risks will obviously be different to those of a business selecting well-established technology, keeping operations inhouse and opting for less frequent meter readings.

‘It became clear in the first workshop that the DMRAT would need to be flexible in order to accommodate a variety of users. We developed a range of five different hypothetical business scenarios, within which we considered and weighted associated risks, and identified appropriate mitigations.

‘Consequently, the DMRAT provides customised data – the user makes technological and operational choices and the tool adapts its outputs,’ Ms Collins says.

‘The DMRAT is unique in Australia – nothing else comes close. Victorian water businesses using this tool can take the next step towards digital metering with confidence that their risk analysis is of the highest possible standard.

‘I’m proud of this project and proud to be part of the IWN, providing our member water businesses with solutions that optimise expenditure and create positive outcomes for our customers.’

Inquiries from Victorian water corporations regarding access to the DMRAT should be addressed to Tanya Pearson, IWN Acting Assistant Program Director.

New projects approved in April

Two new projects have been approved during the month.  The first project, known as Pumpcheckr, uses smart technology and programming to identify how efficiently pumps are running, and identify when best to perform maintenance. This project is being managed by Trent Newton at North East Water.

The second project approved is to test the effectiveness of using Bitrex (an anti-ingestant) to identify cross-connections in class A recycled water supply systems. This project will be managed by Yarra Valley Water.  To learn more contact Luke Dickson.