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Simulation software helps reduce water leaks

5 Jul 22 Simulation software and digital twins of pipeline networks have been used to reduce water leaks for Northumbrian Water by a quarter.

Morrison Water Services and Northumbrian Water have been trialling new leak-detection technology, VariSim Delta, since March in a bid to reduce leakage from the clean water network.

VariSim was developed by Leeds-based Hydaulic Analysis with its sister company Simulation Software.

Leakage in the pilot areas, Newcastle and Dagenham, has reduced by 25% using the software system that uses flow meters, pressure sensors, high-frequency sampling and acoustic loggers to help identify leakages and bursts before they happen.

VariSim Delta has also been used in Qatar and Dubai, two of the most water-stressed countries in the world.

By using millions of calculations per second, VariSim Delta creates an identical digital replica of a water network, known as a digital twin or pipeline simulator. This real-time virtual recreation of the network can also help water companies understand why bursts happen, assess the condition of network assets and pipes and the profile of customer demand to help make informed decisions about asset optimisation.

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Driven by artificial intelligence (AI), VariSim Delta software can also be taught to spot new leaks and bursts, identify changes in customers’ water consumption and create alerts for malfunctioning assets, the developers say.

Northumbrian Water head of water networks Jim Howey said: “By using this exciting new technology, we can look proactively at leakage – stopping the churn of finding and fixing without knowing the root cause. The digital twin is helping us to understand our networks better and has been built based on data we already have along with pressure sensors in pipes. By using it, we can look for anomalies and tackle leaks in a much more efficient way – helping to save water and resources across our operating areas.”

Andy Carter, business services director for M Group Services Water Division, said: “We are delighted our pilots with Northumbrian Water have so conclusively demonstrated that VariSim Delta is a proactive solution to water leakage.”

He said it was “proof that collaborative working between innovative thinkers can successfully explore new ideas and identify new ways to tackle leakage and other challenges the water industry faces”.

Glyn Addicott, operations director at Hydraulic Analysis, said: “We will reduce leakage and improve asset performance by monitoring critical supply areas in the region using live hydraulic models driven by pressure, flow, and acoustic data. Our pipeline simulation software, VariSim Delta, is deployed on water networks and trunk mains around the world and we look forward to implementing our proven solution in the UK in this groundbreaking contract.”

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