Proactive approach for a smart water infrastructure

Future-proof networks

Even if the Netherlands has a superbly functioning drinking water network, parts of it are aged and will need to be renewed in the years ahead. During the process, both the costs and the benefits involved for the water sector should be considered. This provides the opportunity for the creation of future-proof networks. KWR supports water companies in fulfilling this ambition by developing and implementing tools, inspection techniques, and establishing and evaluating a target structure with a future vision of water distribution networks. A water infrastructure policy that is more proactive, rather than reactive, makes it possible to better respond to evolving needs.


Video – 01:45
Toekomstbestendige netwerken: de uitdagingen

Creating future-proof networks

The water distribution network has to meet numerous requirements. For instance, the aged parts of today’s networks are feeling the strain of changes in water consumption, climate, technologies and the working methods of water companies. Water consumption in various regions is dropping because people are moving away, while elsewhere consumption may be rising, for instance, because people are watering their gardens more. And higher water temperatures caused by climate change increase potential microbial hazards, while customer  water-quality requirements rise steadily. On the other hand, techniques such as robotics, sensoring and ICT technology enable water companies to monitor their networks more closely. Now that mains installed in the 1950s and 60s need to be replaced, there is a chance to consider both the costs and the benefits involved for the water sector. This will allow for the creation of future-proof networks.

KWR provides knowledge and software tools

KWR supports water companies in making their networks future-proof. We do this by developing and implementing tools which, for instance, single out which mains to replace first. We also evaluate existing inspection techniques and propose alternatives. We are leaders in the field of robotics, which facilitates the inspection of components of extensive subsurface networks. When replacement is called for, KWR can design a target structure, which projects where the network should grow, affordably, in the decades ahead. Before a single spade breaks the ground, our calculation tools ensure the evaluation and optimisation of the design process. This benefits both distribution networks but also sensor networks, for instance.


Video – 02:31
Toekomstbestendige netwerken: de oplossingen

From reactive to proactive policy

Although water companies already do a great deal to make their networks future-proof, there is room for improvement in their operational and strategic decision-making. Instead of limiting data collection to the condition of assets, KWR offers companies the option of pursuing a more proactive, or less reactive, policy. In this way they can better respond to evolving needs. Moreover, this approach brings cost-savings connected to the lifespan of the mains network.