In the event of a drinking water contamination incident, the tracing of the contamination source is crucial in limiting the negative impact on customer satisfaction and health. Hydraulic software packages, combined with specific techniques, known as backtracing and source identification, can potentially provide important information in this context. These techniques are not yet being applied by the water companies, but are considered valuable for application in the case of emergencies.
In this project for PWN and Brabant Water, we studied what the prerequisites were for the implementation of backtracing and source identification techniques in the hydraulic software used by water companies.
Survey of tracing functionalities in Synergi and Infoworks
To unlock backtracing and source identification methods for their implementation by water companies, we conducted a survey of the tracing functionalities of the hydraulic Synergi and Infoworks software. We did this by drawing on the manuals and consulting with the hydraulics experts at PWN and Brabant Water. Based on the existing functionalities, we examined the steps required to implement our methods for source identification. We also researched what information is needed to achieve reliable results, and the degree of accuracy and the availability of this information at water companies.
Different possibilities for source identification; water company effort necessary
The possibilities offered by current versions of Synergi and Infoworks vary considerably. Synergi 4.8.0 has a backtracing functionality. On this basis, and by following the step-by-step plan laid out in our report, it is easy to restrict the boundaries of the contamination source area. In contrast, Infoworks-WS 15.0.3 does not have a backtracing functionality. The functionality has to be added to this software if it is to locate contamination sources. The research also shows that acquiring reliable backtracing results requires that water companies make an effort to further improve their distribution network data and hydraulic models.