The Computing and Control for the Water Industry (CCWI) conference attracted 180 representatives from numerous countries to share information about research and applications in the field of distribution systems for drinking water and wastewater. One key issue discussed was the application of tools, programmes and concepts in water company practice. The Dutch participants were able to present several groundbreaking research initiatives but, most importantly, the resulting successful applications, such as self-cleaning networks, the demand predictor SIMDEUM (in Water-Use Info tool), and other tools like OptiValves (with CAVLAR) and USTORE.
Great interest in Dutch developments
The Netherlands is a country with practically no water losses: a goal that still seems unachievable for many countries. The conference showed that this indeed is not something that can be achieved from one day to another, but that it is the product of a long tradition of high-quality research and applications. Concepts such as the self-cleaning network attracted particular attention, but were usually still seen as being too difficult to implement.
PWN: applications help us move forward
In his opening keynote address, Loet Rosenthal, director of Water Supply at PWN, spoke of the impact of the implementation of the research results. Beginning with the approach to supply security, as developed in the 1990s and then incorporated into the Water Distribution Law. Through effective implementation of this approach, a disaster was avoided in the provision of water to Texel: when the pipeline to the island broke there was a great deal of relief that the supply security analysis had shown that such a pipeline needed to be doubled.
Peter Horst, also of PWN, noted in his presentation that the self-cleaning network has been operative since 2005 and has resulted in investment savings of millions of euros. And this did not take into account the non-existing complaints concerning discoloured water.
But new applications, made possible by software like SIMDEUM, also make it clear that close collaboration between researchers and companies is very worthwhile.
Jan Vreeburg made a presentation on an entirely new specialty field. With the ‘Water Out, Shit In’ concept, a new approach to the sewage network will be developed, with the objective of the optimal recovery of resources from wastewater. Here, too, there is a potential for introducing significant improvements to an extremely large network with a long lifespan.