Meet our customer hero
Keeping water where it belongs
Water is an emotional subject. When leaks or contamination become public, they become an immediate focus for environmental groups, government agencies and regulators—and the press.
A case in point: In 2019, when the U.K.’s regulator Ofwat said that Thames Water had failed to curb leaks sufficiently, its chief executive was fired.
Leaks, poor metering and tampering of water supplies are leading to wastage and shortages worldwide—a losing proposition for people, wildlife and the environment. In Australia, one of the world’s driest countries, every drop matters even more.
Consider the Goldfields pipeline, a 600-kilometer pipeline that sends water from Perth to 100,000 people around Western Australia. In 1903, it was iconic feat of engineering. Almost 117 years later, leaks and burst pipelines are endemic in the pipeline, exacerbating the pain of water shortages in the drought-stricken country.
Goldfields is not alone; just a week after New South Wales was declared as 100 percent drought-affected, the press revealed that Sydney Water’s network was leaking the equivalent of 46 Olympic swimming pools of water every day.
The issues go far beyond Australia. The World Bank estimates that more than 126 million cubic meters of water is lost each year globally—at a cost of over $40 billion.
As a utility, if you cannot rein in leaks and control the flow, quality and reliability of your supplies, you are at risk of penalties, fines and—even worse—reputational damage leading to loss of business.
What if you could monitor and manage your entire water network from end-to-end? You could optimize your water distribution system—detect and prevent leaks, tampering and contamination. You could avoid bad press and reputational damage by managing customers’ expectations when a pipeline must be shut down.
It all boils down to taking an intelligent and integrated approach to water loss management. From leak detection to incident management and maintenance, data collected from Internet of Things devices can be the catalyst in a utility’s effort to save water.
By collecting pressure and flow data from digital meters and other water infrastructure, you can detect leaks in an instant. With off-the-shelf tools for monitoring and managing water data, as well as dashboards, you can have near real-time consumption metrics.
Water management also extends to energy consumption. All utilities must pump water and maintain pressure in the network. With the capabilities in the water management platform measuring pressure. It is now possible to create smart rules and algorithms to help correlate demand to energy consumption. Dynamically reducing the pressure when demand falls and, therefore, reduced energy consumption.
This is where Telstra, in partnership with Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT, comes in. Telstra is a leading provider of telecommunications and technology services globally. In an industry where change is constant, it has prospered by embracing new technologies and constantly experimenting with new business models.
Telstra saw the unique chance to capture new network revenues and expand into new sales channels with platforms, devices and services. To get there, they needed a platform that offered the flexible scalable solution and service package that was required. That platform was Cumulocity IoT.
A joint development program in conjunction with a Telstra customer, Busselton Water, resulted in the Cumulocity IoT Solution Accelerator for Water Management.
Gerhard Loots, Executive for Global IoT Solutions at Telstra, said: “We have brought together the deep expertise of both companies and we are proud to be helping the water sector finally tackle some if its longest-standing challenges.”
The solution has been in field trials at Telstra’s customer Busselton Water, which serves 26,000 customers on the Western Australia coast, where the utility is now able to measure pressure, flow and temperature, which will allow for the detection of leaks and working on finding operational efficiencies in its energy usage.
During 2019 Busselton Water worked with Telstra and Software AG to conduct field trials of the solution. Initial results have been very positive.
In the field trial, Telstra installed digital water meters at real customer sites in Western Australia. The new digital meters and Captus IoT devices are now detecting measurements from the field, including flow rates in the network, pressure and temperature.
“We are now delivering true real-time water management to the field, with real leaks already being detected and real savings being made,” said a Software AG representative.
Software AG will continue to develop the solution with Telstra and Busselton water, trialling the use of smart rules and algorithms within the platform to help reduce energy consumption.
“Through the intelligence in the platform we can now predict when pressure and, therefore, pumping and energy use can be reduced. The water management platform can save water through leak detection but also reducing energy consumption and the carbon footprint of a water utility,” said a Software AG representative.
The next version release of Cumulocity IoT Solution Accelerator for Water Management will also see the inclusion of a customer portal. This will allow utilities to provide real insights to their customers via a mobile app and website.
The benefits identified during trials are in line with the initial estimates: up to 20% reductions in leakage, 15% reduction in energy in costs, and 10% to 35% reductions in per capita consumption resulting from increased transparency.
Final results will be dependent on the broader trials planned with many more devices within the utility network.