Santander Smart Water Project: Improving Efficiency in Water Wanagement
Smart Santander is a project in which several neighbourhoods in the city have been provided with a water monitoring and supervision infrastructure, capable of offering information with the aim of optimizing, adapting and providing the city’s supply, management and optimization needs. The platform offers tools for decision making, providing integrated and processed network information on water composition, supply, consumption, flow rate, condition and operation of machines (pumps, valves, etc.), wastewater, and applied treatment. Sustainability starts with selection of the right technology platform, which helps users by giving them real-time information, analyzing data, making predictions, building reports and presenting dynamic graphs and maps for their control centers.
Santander City Council and the water service manager of the city of Santander considered it necessary to improve the efficiency of water use by improving the infrastructure and implementing efficiency programs for different water uses, as well as reducing the vulnerability of the system to droughts and floods. Drought and flood supply and management systems are more sustainable and economically viable when natural ecosystem functions are conserved, improved and restored and when integrated into centralized resource management.
For this reason, it is necessary to improve data collection and analysis to project the impact on climate change, population growth and optimal consumption on water resources with the aim of identifying risks, impacts and possible contingencies, and thus improve service management.
In order to achieve the objective of improving service and service efficiency, it has been necessary to modernise the infrastructure, in terms of engineering works and to implement a software platform as the technological component of the project, which provides support so that the management of the water network is rigorous, efficient and offers the citizen a closer service.
During the analysis phases, information sources are established that will be integrated into the monitoring platform, which are considered critical in the management of the water cycle and which will allow the provision of information to optimise the service. The information sources were meteorological data, water supply network data, critical stations (sensors at pump station, pressure reduction), Tele-reading of home meters.
In order to integrate the information sources, the platform allows the development of new connectors for each type of equipment, providing historical information through the programmed shipments, as well as real time information, if the equipment allows it.
The connectors also segregate the information that generates compound values, so that aggregated and high level information (averages, highs, lows, fashions, etc.) can be made available, providing significant value to the different profiles involved in monitoring.
Santander’s water service manager, has the capacity to consult historical and real time data, where available, of all the signals stored in the system, with the aim of carrying out all types of analysis (trends, comparisons, predictions, alarms, exports, dashboards, reports, etc.).
- Pilot selection: A new building area was selected, with a new network to minimise risks, in an area addressing specific issues (i.e. as it was close to the sea there was a need to control pumps during high tide)
- Interaction with citizens: participation of citizens in controlling their consumption.
- Municipality government fostered action
- Willingness of the private company to make the effort
- Santander municipality
- Municipality government as enabler and driver of the action
- Municipality managers
- Private company in charge of the water management service
Challenges & Lessons Learnt
The project has been a success from both the technological and citizenship perspectives. In fact, after a first phase in the outskirts of town, which had been selected to minimize risks, a second phase in the downtown was set up.
The most important obstacle is the cost per home, which is still high. To be cost-effective there is a need to improve information provided about the investment being made. Investment towards the internal efficiency of the water management service are taking place. However, in order to provide direct and individualized services to the citizens there is a need to put one element for each home, yet the upfront cost is still not outweighed by savings.
- Monitorization platform
Santander’s water service manager can consult historical and real time data, where available, with the aim of carrying out all types of analysis. The collection of data from the different sectors makes it possible to analyse consumption patterns of the citizens.
The platform allows the creation of synoptics that represent the different sectors of the city, allowing the management company to visualize from the control center the network operation and the critical points of the supply.
- Improved service to the citizens
The improved service offers information on graphics and curves on consumption profiles, alarms for possible leaks, news, etc. through applications for mobile devices. In addition, the management company will be able to issue alerts of breakdowns that may affect the water supply of the dwelling, allowing the citizen to adapt to the programmed cuts.
Another of the functionalities offered by the app is the possibility for citizens to send warnings about incidents on the network, either in its supply or on the public highway.
In addition, information panels displayed throughout the city offer citizens information on various parameters that affect the service. These information panels contain dynamic information that the manager can modify or publish from the same monitoring platform.
- Improvements in efficiency
Having information about minute-to-minute power of water consumption pumps allows adaptation to real needs of the supply network facility, saving energy.
Furthermore, as water leaking in the supply network is proportional to water pressure produced by pumping action, there is also a reduction in water leaking, reducing pressure.
In some specific situations, like the one explained before, in which high tide sea water invades the network, salinity sensors allow a wise use of the pumps in order to avoid struggling with the sea.
The water management service company has activity in several Spanish cities and they have adopted the App framework for all its customers. This App provides advanced services only in those places in which this special monitoring enhancement has been implemented.
Technology watch is being made in order to find the right balance between savings and investment in order to maximize cost-effectiveness and extend the project.