Even if the Netherlands has a superbly functioning drinking water network, parts of it are aged and will need to be replaced in the years ahead. Old networks can be made future-proof by bearing future expectations in mind. KWR supports water companies in fulfilling this ambition by developing and implementing tools, inspection techniques, and establishing and evaluating a target structure which embodies the future vision of water distribution networks. On the basis of data, water companies can pursue a more proactive rather than reactive water infrastructure policy. They can therefore better respond to quickly changing needs.
Smart networks are future-proof
Aged water distribution networks are under pressure from changes in water consumption, climate, technologies and the working methods of water companies. Water consumption in a number of regions is dropping because people our moving elsewhere. Global warming leads to higher water temperatures which increases potential microbial hazards. Techniques such as sensoring and ICT technology enable water companies to keep an increasingly sensitive finger on the pulse of their operations. And the quality demands of their customers are rising steadily. The replacement of mains installed in the 1950s and 60s needs to take all these changes into account. There is a challenging opportunity to match the network to the needs of today and the future.
Supporting water companies
KWR supports water companies in making their networks future-proof. We do this by developing and implementing tools which, for instance, determine which mains to replace first. We assist in evaluating existing inspection techniques and by proposing alternatives. We are also leaders in developments in the field of robotics, which aim at simplifying the inspection of extensive subsurface networks.
If a network needs to be replaced, KWR has the knowledge, applying a structured design process, to produce a well-founded and affordable plan: a so-called ‘target structure’. The target structure describes the area into which the network should grow in the forthcoming decades. Before a single spade breaks the ground, we can apply various calculation tools to evaluate the performances of different designs. This applies to distribution networks, but also for example to sensor networks.
From a reactive to a proactive policy
Water companies already do a great deal themselves to make their networks future-proof. This involves the targeted collection of data on the condition of their assets. KWR helps the companies base their operational and strategic decision-making regarding network improvement more on data and less on experience and insight. This gives them the possibility of formulating their policy more proactively rather than reactively, allowing them to better respond to quickly changing needs.