Smart communication specialist, Sensus, has proposed that the UK should consider a more sustainable way of managing water resources to help avoid short term solutions which impact customers.

Whilst Ofwat is taking steps to drive water efficiencies, Sensus believes a ‘Best Practise for Smart Water Networks’ would provide a long term strategy to drive water efficiencies and accelerate the adoption of new technologies to drive change.

Andy Slater, director, Sensus, commented, “We have seen in the energy sector initiatives to define the Smart Grid at European and national level and to develop the use cases model behind these. The recent droughts across England have highlighted the problems of an ageing water distribution network and have raised the question, could the water industry replicate this momentum to enable utilities to realise the service level improvements, efficiencies gains and other benefits which will be realised by using real time data across their networks? Adopting the latest technologies to ‘digitise’ the water network making it ‘smart’ is central to tackling the growing problems.”

Smart water networks monitor and enable control of flow rates, pressure and water quality hence reducing instances of bursts on the network and detect quickly where leakage is occurring. They are therefore are an important part of the solution to the challenges associated with water shortages.

Slater continued, “It would be timely for the government and other stakeholders to give a lead to the industry, by looking beyond the possibilities of installing water meters, to establishing a ‘Best Practise for Smart Water Networks’. This could be achieved by establishing a pan-industry Smart Water Advisory Group which would work closely with the Smart Water Forum, SWAN.”

Through developing this best practice water companies could demonstrate how digitising the distribution network could enable them to meet the increasing economic and environmental demands placed upon them and serve their customers more effectively. This should be done via a common industry wide vision based on agreed use cases which would demonstrate the operational improvements and economic benefits of this approach. This would in-turn enable regulators and utilities to invest with confidence in technologies that will drive a step change in our water networks performance.