4 reasons why your gate valves and hydrants should have a LinkedIn account

… Or at least be online so you can connect with them. Emerging technologies makes it very simple and cost-effective to monitor valves in the water distribution network. With NB-IoT sensors and an IT platform, you can connect with your network and increase your knowledge of the entire network of valves and hydrants.

Here are four reasons why you would want to connect with your assets and how it creates value for you:

1. Avoid reacting to misleading data

Online monitoring of consumption and pressure allow utilities to act fast on bursts and leaks. Manual changes in the hydraulic setup, such as opening a gate valve between two zones or unplanned use of hydrants, are not always coordinated across departments.

This can lead to misleading information about network activity such as pressure change or even false high or low consumption/flow rates. If the utility operator is not aware of the change in the hydraulic setup, it requires costly investigation to find the real cause of the alarm. But even worse, it can generate mistrust in the IT system and in the end, it can result in a slower reaction time to bursts. 

With IoT enabled position sensors on gate valves and fire hydrants, the state of valves and hydrants can be integrated into your operation dashboard and give you an online overview of your distribution network. That way, operators can quickly evaluate if an alarm is due to an opened gate valve or fire hydrant or if it is more serious like a leak or a burst. 

2. Follow up on valve maintenance

Well-functioning valves and hydrants are crucial for hydraulic performance, monitoring NRW, fire safety and water quality in general. However, documenting, planning and tracking the maintenance can be a hassle. 

With IoT sensors on gate valves and hydrants, every movement of the assets are automatically registered and stored. This means that the utility operators always have an updated overview of when each valve or hydrant has been operated or if there has been an unauthorised activity. This information enables you to focus on the valves and hydrants that need attention and send the maintenance team directly to the asset that needs fixing. 

Another important factor to know about your valves and hydrants is the duration of time the asset has been opened or closed. Knowing how long an asset has been opened for or inactive provides you with a strong foundation to document flushing. 

3. Monitor unauthorised consumption

By monitoring the hydrants and other possible tapping points, it is possible for the utility to get overview of the volume of both authorised and unauthorised unmeasured water, which is a very important parameter when trying to lower the general NRW level. Partly because it offers means to limit the unauthorised consumption, but also because it provides a valid overview of the real loss in each DMA. 

Only by knowing what your NRW level consists of, you can efficiently reduce it. Registering the state of gate valves and hydrants (opened or closed) combined with timing the sessions will give you a good indication of the volume used. You will know the amount of water flowing into DMAs and thus be aware if there are any irregularities in the flow.

4. Detect tampering and protect against intentional contamination

Gate valves and hydrants are often placed in public areas, and therefore they can be potential targets for tamper and vandalism. That can vary from simple opening or stealing of caps to intentional attempts to contaminate or interrupt the water distribution. 

As soon as a cover of a hydrant is opened or the extension spindle is turned to open or close a gate valve, an IoT device can set off an alarm. That gives the utility a chance to check the status of the valve or hydrant and ensure it is operational when needed and investigate for other kinds of activity around the asset. 

4 reasons, great value. All can be achieved with AVK Smart Water’s intelligent devices: the VIDI Positioner along with the VIDI Cap for fire hydrants. The devices use IoT communication to monitor valve positions and detect if anyone has opened a hydrant in your DMA.