Organising the Veghel experimental plot

In this project, we are creating a scientific basis for the organisation of water company Brabant Water’s future ‘infrastructural experimental plot’ in Veghel for the specific area of expertise that relates to those new materials, implementation methods and inspection techniques for the underground water infrastructure that are used in practice.

Experimental plot designed to test innovation

In its strategic programme Vitalisation, Brabant Water wants to realise process improvements and technical innovations and thus make it possible to achieve an increase from 150 km to 400 km of remedial work per year. To test out innovations in a practical setting, Brabant Water aims to set up an experimental plot close to the Veghel pumping station. Within this experimental plot, innovations can and will be tested in a realistic and safe environment under both conditioned and extreme conditions. These will include for instance innovations relating to new materials, network configurations, installation & removal techniques, inspection techniques, leakage losses and measuring techniques & control engineering. KWR provides support for the organisation of these tests, which objectively test substantiated theories or hypotheses and mean that we can be sufficiently confident about the results obtained.

KWR advises on the tests to be selected and on their scientific execution

KWR’s scientific knowledge and expertise has led to it being involved in the design of the experimental plot. KWR’s activities have been concentrated in the following areas:

  • advising on the selection of the areas of research
  • translating the formulation of the problem and the theoretical context into a plan for the research project and a (conceptual) design
  • advising on ways of ensuring the quality of the measurements taken (representativeness and accuracy of the measurement set-up, reproducibility of the results, implementation of an evaluation methodology so that research results can be compared).

Two experimental plot ideas selected for elaboration – leakage detection and temperature management

Of the seven research themes established by KWR, Brabant Water has chosen to further develop two of them in the experimental plot:

  1. Testing and comparing detection techniques for latent pipe leaks, using acoustic measurement and tracer gases.
  2. Researching factors that influence and measures to control high drinking water temperatures.

KWR has described the main points of particular interest and the framework conditions for these two themes. These provided the basis for a conceptual design, to be used to realise a concrete, definitive design, including a global installation of the experimental plot in Veghel.

Staged planning for experimental plot installation

The installation of the experimental plot calls for the elaboration of a definitive design on the basis of the conceptual one. As a first step, this requires the prioritisation of the experiments to be carried out. This will then make it possible to elaborate the definitive design by:

  • determining which parameters to measure and which measurement instruments to use;
  • determining whether the installation can be realised in the available space and what the timeframe will be;
  • researching success criteria for the experiments;
  • drafting a blueprint and making a component list for the entire installation.

The experimental plot to be installed will provide a unique environment for the development of new insights into leak detection techniques and drinking water temperatures. The test installation will be generic in design, and will offer the space for future research into a wide range of applications in the field of drinking water distribution.