Acciona Agua has signed a contract with Aguas de Burgos, the company that runs the city’s drinking water service, to set up a management system for water supplies that will provide instantaneous and remote control of the quality of the water, meter readings and the general state of the network. The city of Burgos will thus become a pioneer in incorporating the ‘smart city’ concept into water management.
A single software platform will integrate daily remote readings of users’ meters, a Geographical Information System (GIS), remote control data, algorithms to forecast demand, a large number of sensors to monitor water quality, and a mathematical model to predict the behavior of the supply system, among other technologies. As a result, advanced business management systems can be developed.
The management system is controlled by a ‘Business Intelligence’ platform that will detect faults, blockages or leaks in real time, together with the location of the fault. This will reduce the time required for localization and repair.
Another new feature in the project is “remote meter reading” and the detection of abnormal levels of consumption, which will alert consumers immediately if there is a suspected leak in the home. Non-domestic consumers will also benefit from the new system, as they will be able to make a real-time consultation of their overall consumption through a website.
These novelties will also have a beneficial effect on the environment, as the early detection of leaks will reduce the quantity of potable water that is not used for end consumption.
Another new feature of the project is monitoring of the network in real time. The composition of the water will be known at any given time, increasing the guarantee of quality as a result. It will also improve the management models for the system and will optimize investment plans, based on real needs.
A ten-million-euro project
The initiative comes under the SmartWater4Europe European project, which comprises 21 entities such as water utility companies, technology companies and universities. The budget for the project is over 10 million euros, and the sum allocated to Burgos is €1.1 M in the form of equipment, engineering work and labor costs.
The project is led by three of the main water sector companies in Europe: ACCIONA Agua, Vitens (Holland) and Thames Water (UK), together with the University of Lille (France). These entities will be responsible for incorporating the devices and programs in the supply networks of the four ‘pilot sites’ and for analyzing the results.
Vitens will carry out the project in the Dutch province of Friesland, Thames Water in the town of Reading, and the University of Lille will make its demonstration in the ‘green technopole’ of Villeneuve d´Ascq, near Lille. ACCIONA Agua has chosen Burgos, where it will monitor 3 water sectors of the network (54 kilometers of pipes in Burgos).
The project will run for four years, during which time the Automation, Control and R&D+I of ACCIONA Agua will work with Aguas de Burgos to implement the system and analyze and quantify the data obtained, with the aim of generating models that will enable the extrapolation of the experience to other places.