Posts tagged ‘Water Loss’

Your Data Can Stop Leaks

This is the fourth post in the “CTO Smart Water Insights” by Haggai Scolnicov, TaKaDu’s CTO.

I went to Water Loss 2012 in Manila to tell water utilities one simple thing: data already collected under accepted “best practices” is all they need for a dramatic improvement to water loss control. Of course, that’s part of what you get when you deploy TaKaDu, but I wanted to focus on something else.

There are various tools and methodologies out there to use network monitoring data, and they are far from having been created equal. Whilst the data from sensors and other sources does hold the key to water loss control, and the principles as sketched on a conference slide are simple enough, real-world conditions make data analysis the trickiest link in the active leakage control chain. Three murky clouds – typically glossed over in water loss presentations – help to muddy the waters:

–          Data quality (the meter values could be wrong)

–          Other network events (the event you found may not be a leak)

–          Complex utility process (you think there may be a small leak somewhere – what to do now?)

In this presentation (and the more detailed paper), I revisited the “traditional” Active Leakage Control process, highlighting the role of data analysis (manual and automated), revolving around leakage analyst’s work on the 3 “S”es of data analysis Supermen: Sifting, Statistical estimation, and Special knowledge. By boosting this difficult stage, utilities report they achieved significant quantifiable savings throughout the ALC process.

To do this, I listed some guidelines for coping with the 3 big uncertainties of data, network events, and the utility process, starting with detailed knowledge and understanding of these factors, to be addressed by suitable processing. As with many data analytic challenges, these real-world data “technicalities” are, in fact, the main challenge for data-driven ALC.

If you’re a pessimist, my slides are mostly a long list of impediments to active leakage control. If you’re an optimist, they are a collection of opportunities to do it better. If you work at TaKaDu, these slides are just what we have been doing for the past few years, what we’re good at doing, and what we need to keep doing. Have a look also at some of the other great talks and papers from the conference, too.


January 7, 2013 at 8:20 am Leave a comment

The Connection between Water Prices and the State of Water Networks

The Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2011 (“Summer Davos”) is taking place this week, and we thought it’s a great venue to announce our first research report. This report, planned to be the first of many, shows the connection between water prices and water loss rates. Water loss is a key metric that impacts the sustainability, conservation and efficiency of water networks.

In some of the world’s cities, water is priced lower than the costs to pump and transport it, let alone sustain its delivery infrastructure: the network of pipes, pumps, reservoirs and valves that brings water to our homes. In some places water is free.

The question raised by TaKaDu’s research was whether the price of water also affects water loss rates. Theoretically, water underpricing can lead to undervaluing of water and underinvesting in the water distribution network.

Water pricing doesn’t impact residential consumption alone. Globally, only about 10% of water is used residentially, while the remaining 90% is used for agriculture and industry, so water mispricing obviously affects the way all sectors use water.

You can read more by clicking on the ‘Continue reading’ link below.

Continue Reading September 14, 2011 at 5:45 am Leave a comment

Plugging the Leaks: The Business of Repair

Lux Research have published a new report. In it they put the value of the water infrastructure inspection and repair market at $ 20 Bn annually, growing at a healthy clip of 10% a year.

“Outdated water infrastructure and record high government deficits are both fueling demand for low-cost inspection and repair solutions – namely software and sensor technologies that can provide a snapshot of a utility’s entire infrastructure,” said Brent Giles, a Lux Research Senior Analyst and the report’s lead author. “Without this holistic view, utilities cannot prioritize the most critical repairs – and may end up throwing money down the drain to address the leaks that are visible today rather than the ones that could prove catastrophic tomorrow.”

What’s interesting about the report is that Lux say that although the market is big and growing, the result of an infrastructure deficit and aging pipes, the underlying problem the market is set to solve – water loss – won’t be resolved without technology innovation.

While Lux commends both Smart Metering and Pipe Repair Technologies, it comments that the big move that would make a lasting change in the management of water networks is Smart Infrastructure Monitoring options.

April 6, 2011 at 5:55 am 1 comment

Smart Systems and Little Data

Last month, The Economist issued a special report on smart systems. The report is an excellent exploration of the second world that is emerging beside the real world we know: the digital reflection of the world. The real world is strewn with sensors, which constantly transfer masses of output data that is then reflected in a mirror digital world. The mirror digital world doesn’t exist for the sake of knowledge alone. It hopefully makes the task of managing the real world easier and better.

Continue Reading December 28, 2010 at 11:42 am Leave a comment

Charting Our Water Future: Making Water Everyone’s Business

Going through “Charting Our Water Future”, a report by the 2030 water resources group, which, as its name implies, is looking at the future of water supplies in 2030.
One of the views that caught my eye in the report was the gap between how policy makers see the priority of making water investments and evaluating these water investments from an economic viewpoint.

Let’s say a country is facing water shortages. Should it invest in creating more water (desalination, for instance), improving its water infrastructure (investing in groundwater production and pipe networks) or try to get more efficiency gains (e.g. scheduling agricultural irrigation)?

Continue Reading July 14, 2010 at 4:40 am Leave a comment

Ferrara: Smart Water Networks, or: No Water Left Behind

Blogging from the Water Efficiency Conference in Ferrara, Italy. The Water Efficiency Conference is proving so far to provide a deep look into the core issues surrounding water efficiency initiatives: Looking at the real cost of water to measure what the economically efficient investment in leakage reduction should be; and Emphasizing both leak control and the reduction of consumption.

Continue Reading May 20, 2010 at 5:33 am Leave a comment

How Much Does Water REALLY Cost?

How much does water cost? The answer may not be as simple as you think. True, like most commodities, it is priced differently in different parts of the world, and the retail price does not always reflect the wholesale price, so the right answer is “depends”. But things actually get much more complicated than that when we try to estimate the true cost of delivering water.

Continue Reading May 18, 2010 at 5:59 am Leave a comment

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