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Home arrow Test arrow Non Revenue Water Monitoring Solutions (NRW)

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The Technical team at CYPLEX Communications (M) Sdn Bhd has consulted with one of the Worlds best engineers in the field of NRW. That person is Dr. Dewi Rogers, a very experienced hydrologist that helped write the “water bible”. He is a renowned speaker at world water exhibitions and seminars.

CYPLEX Communications (M) Sdn Bhd has learnt his method and sought to improve upon it in a dynamic way. CYPLEX Communications (M) specialize in communications for the water Industry and have designed a way that will improve on Dr. Dewi Rogers method.

The principles are realistically the next step in NRW methods and Dr. Dewi Rogers has moved leak detection to the next level. Although software systems have been around for a while, nobody has had the enterprise to try the method of Mathematical modeling on a large scale. Dr. Dewi Rogers has a living model in Northern Italy and has also designed a training program at a local university there to teach his method.

Whilst in Malaysia Dr Rogers trained the CYPLEX Technical team on his method and we have since organized a joint venture of his methods and our methods to create a dynamic NRW system. This will be an innovation for NRW in Malaysia, if not the world, that if used will leave the client with a tangible system and piping GIS.

Mathematical modeling has been around for a while but never used on a large scale except in Italy. The main essence is in the design, breaking the piping system into Districts and the districts into zones. This is Dr Rogers’ specialty, creating the best design. An incorrect design will fail and proof of bad designs will be evident when NRW staff undertake subsequent “step testing”.

With all the technology out on the market “step testing” is still the best initial proven way to breakdown the leakage correctly. The reason is simple… step testing will eliminate large areas of piping (miles of piping) quicker than technology can determine, and the cost is inexpensive in comparison to noise correlation technology.

Noise Correlation is not a good method if the Bar pressure is below 1 bar and must be done at night for best result. But our preferred method is to step test first and then noise correlate on the smallest area of piping possible. It is a well-known fact that noise correlation will determine even microscopic leaks and it is best to apply correlation on the smallest lengths of piping.

Another advantage of our water management method is that in the development of a model that requires that all valves and piping elements will need to be visited to determine their condition. But the advantage is that once its done, Managers can determine their maintenance schedule and repairs. An asset register can be created from this process and is also embedded in the WatNet model. With Privatization of the industry occurring in Malaysia this process will no doubt add value to Water Authorities.

CYPLEX Communications (Malaysia): Methods of Non Revenue Water Conservation

Water leakage and location is the main area of endeavor to reduce NRW. Using a combination of Dr. Rogers’ method and our telemetry, we believe that this is the correct combination that will leave the client with a tangible and cost effective system. Just using noise correlation techniques alone cannot work effectively and is too costly! We will introduce the optimum solution for water monitoring through a proven system.

It starts with a combination of management tools and telemetry devices combined with a logical process, using a: what | where | when and finally how system.

WHAT is leakage – it is FLOW problems and is measured by flow-meters (called a Node). Strategically positioned flow-meters and pressure sensors, will lead the management process team to find the problem of ……..

…WHERE , through the process of creating these Nodes sectioning and sub-sectioning, the piping system will be sub-divided into smaller districts and from districts to zones, it will help in fault analysis of the piping system by locating and isolating the problems.

A “Step Testing” method with pressure reading will be able to pinpoint the actual zone. Noise correlation is the normal system in the final process of location of the actual leak only if the pressure is above one Bar BUT is decided during the …….

…..$ WHEN $ It is an active decision process time, because we have determined the zone and importunately HOW MUCH is the loss. This decision process is now applicable to the following:

  • length of piping,
  • quality of piping,
  • age of piping,
  • pressure problems,
  • water quality problems,
  • reliability, how much is it costing us and
  • finally how many interruptions.

and now the ….HOW…to come to the final decision.

The method can be one of three options;

  • Replace all the pipes in that zone.
  • Locate the leak precisely through noise correlation and replace a small length of pipe.
  • Reduce the pressure to the district at night to reduce the leakage until it becomes to much of a waste.

The reasoning behind item 3, is that the leakage can be economically controlled through pressure reduction at low usage times because, the leakage is not worth locating or repairing. There are many factor to consider and are mentioned in the “when”.

The conclusion on the logic to the above approach is to use a number of elements to conclude on “how”.

Flow chart of the method to create a dynamic model.


From all these elements a Mathematical Model is developed for simulation purposes. The simulator program is a proven worldwide program either WATNET or H2ONET both of these are the best final management tool. The on going process is fed by all the other elements and thefinal mathematical model will help in locating leaks, determining pressures and future water system expansion etc. The additional information will be CYPLEX’s Networked Telemetry™ delivering continuing data for the Final model as well as the initial dynamic information required to setup the model simulation.

A reduction of technology can be achieved at the final model completion because of the way the zones work within the District design. And we have decided to use temporary pressure and flow readings points that can be reused as necessary.

GIS: Geographical Information Systems

What is GIS? It is a digital image of normal mapping with the added feature of overlaying, zooming and editing. The easiest way to understand the make-up of the software is to imagine hat you have four (4) panes of glass laying one on top of the other. The first pane of glass has roads drawn on it in black. The second has the supply piping in red, the third has the distribution network pipes in blue and the fourth has all the values for on/off in green.

The software allows which pane or layer that you wish to look at in reference to other panes or layers. Therefore you may only wish to see roads and shutoff values. So what we get is a visual database of the system with vital location information. To have the whole system like this is the start to correct management of the piping system. That is, if a new manager is posted or transferred (overhead problem) the piping location information and management of the new area have been systemized for smoother knowledge transfer and this person will come up to speed quicker and manage effectively. The software of choice is WatNet for this mathematical modeling because of the developers that created it.

CIS: Client Information Systems

The easiest description of CIS, is the billing or active meter population of the system. Knowing the active billing of a zone helps when combined with other relevant information creates the decision making process whether piping has to be replaced. It is an element in the process for decision making but a necessary component in the total or as we like to call it the “Optimum Solution”. It becomes a vital piece of the system, if using a mathematical model to automate decisions through software.

ANTS: - Automated Network Telemetry Systems

The ANTS equipment increases the speed in which to receive data for analysis of the system and is the ACTIVE component in decision-making. The Management procedure of the statistics is called the “PROCESSING”. This is where the information is mixed into the calibrated model to determine the last steps and whether to activate a response team to determine the leak.

We are using the CYPLEX Packetiser™ as the recording (data storage and logging) and communicating device. Its unique on board software and hardware creates self-protection as well as a telemetry device that logs data. The unique operating system software allows for decision-making, whether it be via timed automation or triggered alarms. Packetiser™ can transfer data on sampling levels and percentages of a sensor. Currently, the most cost effective communications method in Malaysia at present is SMS and Packetiser™compress 96 sample readings into one SMS!

It is cost effective compared to SCADA and we have engaged a creative software team to do the customization of the Control head software, GIS and CIS links. It has been link with SCADA backend software in many placed in Australia but we prefer to customized software using standard Visual Basic or C+++.

By using Visual Basic or a common development software there are many graduates straight out of University that have immediate skills in Visual Basic, C+++ and Java but SCADA software will require extra training and extra expense to clients to maintain changes but should they have their own staff talented in the standards it will be easier to maintain. The secondary danger in training your workers in SCADA is that they will be poached by private industry. My evaluation of SCADA is that it is a backend software with a third party hardware system. The Packetiser’s™ have already been interfaced to SCADA software in Australia so as a Risk and Project Manager I cannot see why we need specialists to do software for SCADA when common software will achieve the same effects with less overhead problems.

Other software used is the Tedida software for a simpler user interface that only wish to evaluate graphically the incoming data great for the Operational Division were as NRW require the graphical and dynamics of the WatNet model.

Calibration through Field Tests

The Structured model has to be finally tested for accuracy and a field team is sent to retrieve location accuracy of pipes and valves using GPS instruments. The GIS is normally created off the pipe mapping and later authenticated with GPS equipment in the calibration phase. Once the initial GIS is in place this is transferred into the mathematical software and normally updated in the mathematical model.

The secondary effect of visiting all valves in the system is to evaluate its condition and do maintenance if required. In some cases you can find leaks using this method.

The FINAL MODEL

The final model is a mathematical software model created from all the information gathered and combined to create a simulation of the whole system. In Malaysia the Water Works department of Labuan has a GIS model that is ready to take this next step, combining these extra elements to create the Mathematical Model. Typical software like H2ONET and WATNET are world standard mathematical modeling software. It has a myriad of features such as high-level mathematical calculations all over the network with excellent accuracy.

This final amalgam of all the elements will calculate pressures, create flow estimates and many more features as the population and piping grows. Most importantly, it is these tools in the process of making a final decision and make management of the water distribution simpler.

Water Authorities in Malaysia

Effective management of the Water distribution system needs an Optimum Solution. Rehabilitation management on these effective methods and combining all the elements, will develop most logical and accurate approach. Presently, Melaka is facing a problem in water distribution which could be heightened through outdated water management systems.

To process clean water incurs costs, but the amount of losses due to NRW could run into millions. The amount of Non Revenue Water is at 30 to 40% for Melaka. It is the first area that can be salvaged. Effective recovery of NRW or reducing its loss is not a dream, its hard work but a necessary factor.

Perak (LAP) have put in place a Toll Free call line for customer complaints and the logic behind this method is to have a rapid approach to pipe bursts or low pressure complaints. They are extending the IT side to include Billing complaints this has proved difficult but we have proposed an ICT solution to cheaply retrieve billing data from 7 different billing servers and notify 23 service centers for rapid response to pipe burst. A mathematical model will eliminate the low pressure and pipe burst calls from the public as our telemetry will alert on these issues as this is one of the main features. Our telemetry data alert is fed directly into the software and is an automated process. The Packetiser™ will SMS a manager at the same time as it sends information of a major problems in water flow or pressure.

Melaka at present is experiencing a critical low level of processed water. Recent news events have indicated that the State Government has had to petition the Federal Government for help in developing a new water supply pipe from a neighboring state. The most disturbing news is that the 62 Remote Terminal Units (RTU) placed around the state to retrieve data via a SCADA model and a GSM data system has failed. Leaving PAM with the extra task of manually doing the readings at night. We have done a trial in Melaka using our SMS technology reading flow from there system and have proven that we can deliver the data and salvage all the sites. (report available on request).

Labuan has an excellent GIS system but have major communications problems with only 65% of data returns from the RTU’s and they follow the Water management techniques used in Report 26 and newer reports. They have been repairing leaks through this system since 1993 Labuan is experiencing an overhead problem and therefore need to constantly train new people to perate and update the GIS systems and follow up on areas that the data is not returned. This is not a Mathematical model system but could be transferred into Watnet and become a tangle asset. At present it is an archive of the piping and elements of the Islands piping system.

Part of Report 26 on water management was written by our colleague, Dr. Dewi Rogers in creating an Optimum Solution. With people of his caliber willing to extend the knowledge base from practical experience, combined with our new wireless telemetry and software delivered by local companies, we believe we have an excellent solution yet to be matched.

Conclusion

We are combining and extending the normal NRW practices with our innovative technology. The benefits provide;

  • Reliable data for evaluation
  • A guided Mathematical software model
  • Efficient Management based on statistical processes that if broken down, can be evaluated in the normal manual manner.
  • Rapid response systems.
  • Elimination of overhead (skilled manpower) problems.

From our findings we can see a need to bring reliable telemetry and communications techniques to improve the dynamics of NRW and this we have achieved using the ever reliable and well tested Packetiser™ (also known as ANTS) to solve these issues.

Mathematic modeling will create tangible assets for Water Management Authorities. A Dynamic Mathematical Model combined with alarms and monitoring is an innovation in natural resource management and a clear technological step forward in this area.

For further information regarding our NRW Solutions, contact us:

 
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