DMA fingerprint

Dutch water companies are increasingly setting up District Metered Areas (DMAs) that can be used to locate leaks in the mains and to learn more about what is happening in the mains. In this project, we will investigate whether pressure wave measurements produce a ‘fingerprint’ for a DMA that will make it possible to see when valves in the mains are in the wrong position.

From pressure wave measurements to fingerprint

Dutch water companies are increasingly following the example of drinking water companies in other countries and introducing DMAs. This may make it possible to determine quickly whether a valve has been left closed inadvertently after work on the mains. Previous projects have looked at how to structure different areas as DMAs in order to prevent problems with valve positions. We now want to investigate the extent to which the frequency analysis of pressure waves that pass through the mains when valves are opened or closed result in a ‘fingerprint’ for a DMA. Detecting changes in that fingerprint should, in theory, make it possible to see what is happening in an area of this kind.

Measurements in practice

Measurements of pressure waves in the mains will determine whether a fingerprint of a DMA can be established on this basis, and whether it is possible to see where valves have been closed. The measurements will be conducted in normal operating conditions, and also in three to five scenarios involving an anomaly such as a closed valve. In addition, we will be investigating whether the fingerprint is also predictable. This is done by modelling the research area with SIMDEUM patterns in normal operating conditions and in the scenario with a closed valve.

Information from DMAs

If the fingerprint concept works, water companies will be able to obtain even more information from DMAs. That will make it possible to further substantiate the business case for setting up areas of this kind, as well as the relevant decisions. In the long term, other applications may result such as testing whether a valve closes properly, or ways of identifying and locating leaks.