Water & Wastewater Asia May/Jun 2018

WATER & WASTEWATER ASIA May / June 2018 FROM THE GROUND / 25 Since June 2013, Unitywater and TaKaDu have been working together to improve network visibility and efficiency, reduce costs and water losses, and improve customer service. This has led Unitywater to become recognised as an industry leader in innovation and technology. Business Need In 2013, Unitywater, a statutory authority that provides water and sewerage services to the Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions of Southeast Queensland, Australia, was recording significant non- revenue water (NRW) loss. The manual process of identifying leaks using acoustic sounding systems was slow and inefficient along with compounding issues such as the areas covered were too large, lack of district metered areas (DMAs) and few meters monitoring the system. Faulty asset repairs were also taking too long and it was hard for maintenance teams to locate hidden leaks. So, Unitywater turned to TaKaDu’s Integrated Event Management system, an IoT cloud-based software solution using big data analytics. The aimwas to improve overall network visibility and efficiency, reduce water loss and save energy costs. A 12-month trial was established and following this successful trial, Unitywater deployed TaKaDu throughout its network in July 2014. People A new teamwas established, with Adrian Bird appointed as system loss engineer to oversee the new team, to act as a central dispatch desk for all network events detected by TaKaDu system. This team, which would work alongside existing field crews, received training from TaKaDu and its local partner, Jacobs. Towards the end of the trial, a cross-departmental NRW Working Group was formed — from retail and asset management to planning and maintenance crews. The Working Group members quickly recognised that TaKaDu’s event management offered more than just leak detection, it provided a focal point to collect data on performance of the network as well as other areas of the business. Bird explained, “TaKaDu gave the business a high level of visibility and focus, not just looking for leaks but also for other types of asset failures (telemetry, meters, etc.). We used the macro information we were gaining to understand the types of assets which were causing the leaks, the water pressure we were providing in certain areas, and the overall impact on the operation. We could understand what is important and not just what is urgent, across all types of problems.” Unitywater also recruited additional field staff to respond faster to network events, which was detected by TaKaDu and handled by their central team. Processes The initial task was to establish 25 DMAs (District Metering Areas) with a target of increasing to 40 within a month. The System Loss team ensured that the TaKaDu event management system obtained data from appropriate data points inside the network, such as flow meters and pressure gauges. Following the trial, an additional 90 DMAs was created within 12 months. With a larger team dedicated to TaKaDu, Unitywater was able to quickly investigate and deal with network events. System planners were able to better develop new areas and implement solutions in existing areas to reduce asset failure frequency.