Oasen N.V. (Oasen) is the main supplier of drinking water to approximately 750,000 people in and around the vibrant town of Gouda, NL. Being one of the most advanced and technologically verse suppliers, they – within the EU financed LIFE programme, together with 3S Antriebe GmbH (3S), DE – want to utilize battery powered, remote controlled smart 3S valve actuators to reduce non-revenue water.
Once water losses are detected in a “SmartWater” project’s District Metering Areas (DMAs), subsections within the DMAs can be closed stepwise to further narrow down the leakage – this is called the “step testing”. The process is done automatically after a zero-consumption measurement during the night. Next, in the morning, mechanics know the zone where to search for the leakage. The implementation of wireless electric valve actuators and the “step testing” system will reduce the total timespan until a respond to leaks from currently about 2 months to 10 days.
However, Oasen and 3S together with their partner, Spatial Insight, NL (SI), want to reduce the period of time to localize a leakage even more – with a grid of pressure metering sensors and a software by SI. The software is basically an algorithm, that compares actual pressure received from sensors in pipes with theoretic pressure in every subsection and helps to localize a leakage immediately after detection. Thus, leakages are found and fixed faster – and non-revenue water is reduced.
The current annual share of losses in the pilot DMAs of the Oasen network is approx. 8% of supplied water, which is comparatively low, as network management procedures are already quite advanced. Due to the minimum night flows, that result from tiny leakages, that are very hard to detect, even in the best managed water grid a bottom share of water losses will remain, that is usually calculated at 3%. Cutting the leakage control time to 20%, our technology is able to bring down the remaining 5 percentage points (8%-3%) down to 1%. The resulting targeted leakage share for Gouda is 4%, the half of the current 8%.
For the first time LIFE “SmartWater” project will enable the cost-efficient automation and control of existing water network hardware, while at the same time enabling sensor data collection and processing in one unit. This smart approach facilitates the establishment of District Metering and Control Areas (DMCAs), which allow for the monitoring AND shaping of the water network flow situation in a defined area of the network. This will also boost the wide implementation and further development of leakage control and pressure management measures, which will have great positive impact on water savings and energy consumption.
The aim of the pilot project is to demonstrate the large-scale application of a new wireless valve actuator technology in combination with pressure sensor technology in industrial environment for the first time. LIFE SmartWater is a “close-to-market” project and will demonstrate its wide applications in the pilot DMAs.