What is a Smart Water Network?
A Smart Water Network is the collection of data-driven components helping to operate the data-less physical layer of pipes, pumps, reservoirs and valves. Water utilities are gradually deploying more data-enabled components. It’s up to us to make the most out of them, by turning the discrete elements into a cohesive ‘overlay network’.
Collecting and using comprehensive data about water network operations offers the promise of better operations through better knowledge and tighter control of the network’s extensive and complex assets. The water industry is not traditionally a fast-moving early adopter of such solutions, but it is rapidly adjusting to this new necessity. Data technologies for water networks span water sources and production, transmission and distribution, consumer end-points and internal piping.
Smart Water Networks are layered, as any data ecosystem is, starting from sensors, remote control, and enterprise data sources, through data collection and communications, data management and display, and up to data fusion and analysis. The latter covers many categories, from decision support, automation to analytic solutions.
Smart Water Network solutions improve the efficiency, longevity, and reliability of the underlying physical water network by better measuring, collecting, analyzing, and acting upon a wide range of network events. This can take shape in different phases of the utility process, such as real-time monitoring and automation, operational readiness, or network planning. The availability of cheap, easy-to-use data technologies, as well as external pressures on the water industry, means that water networks will see much greater sensor and controller density, and inevitably a more central role for all the data systems built on top of them.
The Smart Water Network concept should have a significant contribution in the efforts towards affordable, sustainable and pure water for all.