Case

From man-driven to system-based management: Operating with an open system

In the past, Herning Vand has been dependent on individuals knowing everything worth knowing about the utility’s water distribution system. For example, how the system is built; why it is built this way; where valves are placed and whether they are opened or closed.

Concurrently with system growth, this approach has challenged the utility over the years, as it can be difficult to maintain a crystal-clear overview of a growing distribution system based on assumptions. 

Sometimes the utility struggled with time-consuming efforts to track down information about specific assets in the system, because only few individuals knew the status and the exact location of the assets. But now Herning Vand has decided to become more system-based and has therefore started the process by sectioning the water distribution network in Herning. Part of this process is the digitalisation and retrieval of data from critical points in the system.

Data from IoT devices paves the way for efficiency

Herning Vand has initiated a development and structural planning of the entire distribution system in Herning municipality. In the search for technological solutions for water systems, the utility has entered into a development project with AVK Smart Water. The project includes installation of position indicator devices on selected gate valves and smart hydrant caps with an alarm function on selected hydrants. 

“Basically, the purpose for us is to obtain as much data as possible from the system and use it both for operational and planning purposes,” says Mads Riber Rasmussen, Project Manager at Herning Water. He adds: “We want to be able to see our entire distribution system and see the actual operational status of our most important assets. That is why we teamed up with AVK Smart Water.”

AVK Smart Water develops intelligent alarm devices for valves and hydrants that detect changes in the hydraulic setup and then send the data to a cloud platform. The position indicator detects whenever a valve is opened, closed or anything in between. It sends an alarm when the valve is operated and sends a regular update of the valve status. The smart hydrant cap also detects the open/close status of a fire hydrant and sends an alarm whenever the hydrant is opened or closed.

Unique grid insights improve decision making 

Valves and hydrants play an important role in water management. Some are more important than others, and not knowing the status of these critical assets can affect a utility’s water loss, its ability to provide safe drinking water, and its general operation. Valves that are not fully opened or fully closed can result in disruption of meter readings, but even worse, it can affect the pressure in the consumer’s water supply.

In fact, the utility experienced a specific situation where a waterworks suddenly had an extremely high consumption of water, but they could not tell why. It could either be a major leak or a hydrant being opened in case of a fire. Therefore, the employee on duty had to call around to find out what was going on. A time-consuming task that could have been avoided with alarm devices installed.

“You can’t keep an eye on all assets all the time – the distribution network is simply too large,” says Mads Riber Rasmussen. He continues: “But with position indicators on our valves, we get an alarm if a valve is opened or closed. We can also continuously monitor the actual operational status of valves at critical points in our system.”

The position indicator from AVK Smart Water enables Herning Vand to monitor the open/close status of carefully selected valves in the water network. The device detects and sends an alarm whenever the valve or hydrant is opened or closed. It also sends status updates continuously, and the utility can see the actual operating status of the valves in the distribution network.

Facts

18,000 consumer meters

Around 730 km water distribution system

6 people to operate and renovate the water distribution system and consumption meters

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