How analytic tools are helping in fixing water woes in Bengaluru, Kerala

Water scarcity is an issue of major concern across the world as well as in India. Sudhir Chowdhary takes a look at two water agencies which are becoming hi-tech in their endeavour to guard that precious drop

Bangalore Water Supply & Sewerage Board: Bangalore Water Supply & Sewerage Board

IBM analytics technology is helping manage the complex water distribution systems in Bengaluru

India is facing a serious water crisis in view of its rapid population growth and economic development. According to Sriram Rajan, executive director, Analytics Business Unit, IBM India/South Asia, the need of the hour is to invest in water distribution systems—both upgrading the old infrastructure as well as building a new one and conserve this resource. IBM is working with agencies in India, and around the world, to create analytics-based solutions that provide smarter water management and better control over the resources for water boards.
A case in point is Bengaluru. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), which supplies water to nearly 800 sq. km of the city, is using IBM Big Data and predictive analytics technology to make water usage more efficient. This advanced technology helps to manage increasingly complex water distribution systems. It monitors the flow of water, provides constant and detailed information regarding quantities, water levels, and much more regarding reservoirs, tanks, etc. in the city.

The need
Bengaluru’s massive population growth—from 5.4 million in 2000 to over 10 million and counting today—has put tremendous strain on the city’s water supply and distribution systems. The main sources of water—Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers—are not just sufficient to meet the water demand in the city to a permissible per capita norms. This leads to a big challenge in equitable distribution of available water across the divisions/subdivisions.

The solution
IBM worked closely with BWSSB to create an operational dashboard, based on the IBM Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC), which serves as a command centre for monitoring, administering and managing the water supply networks.

The command centre is designed to monitor the water flow in 284 of 784 bulk flow meters in the city and provide a clear, single view of the functioning of all the bulk flow meters, amount of water transmitted by each of them, the amount of water supplied to individual parts of the distribution system etc. Data from every working flow meter is reported on a single dashboard.

The IBM Intelligent Operations Centre based solution, developed by the IBM India Software Lab, contains the GIS (geo information system) for Bengaluru to enable a real-time view of flow meters, along with the ability to zoom in and out, and pan and click on a specific flow meter. The software converts the data into a geo-spatial visual map to help BWSSB engineers to better monitor water flow and distribution. When an asset (GLR or flow meter) is selected, a user can have a view of the key performance indicators such as latest flow rate, total flow in 24 hours and average total flow over past seven days etc.

BWSSB engineers can now make modifications in the settings of the control valves and get real time feedback on the changes to the water supply elicited by their actions. By setting and adjusting thresholds at key points, engineers can ensure that supply meets their expected goals. “The analytics-based solution provides smarter water management and better control over the resources for the Bengaluru water board,” says Rajan.

Kerala Water Authority: Water in every household

Kerala Water Authority is also relying on analytic tools from Big Blue to achieve 100% equitable water supply
Kerala Water Authority is also relying on analytic tools from Big Blue to achieve 100% equitable water supply

Kerala Water Authority is also relying on analytic tools from Big Blue to achieve 100% equitable water supply

Kerala Water Authority (KWA), government of Kerala, is using IBM Analytics and Mobility solutions to analyse, monitor and manage water distribution in the city of Thiruvananthapuram. With the solutions, KWA aims to achieve 100% success in equitable water supply with the ability to monitor and flag irregularities in water usage, using sensors and intelligent meters.

The need

With a population of more than 33 lakh in the city, providing 2.1 lakh households connections with equitable water supply across divisions/subdivisions was a challenging task, due to aging pipes, leaking infrastructure and unauthorised use of water. There were huge losses in water distribution with close to 45% of fresh water unaccounted for or wasted due to leakages.

Also, without systems in place to monitor and provide real-time visibility into water consumption, it was difficult to track the performance of water treatment facilities and the effectiveness of the water supply network. KWA was also facing challenges in revenue collection as the billing system was unable to accurately track water consumption by consumers.

The solution

KWA is working with IBM to put in place the necessary infrastructure, monitoring and analytics to help identify potential issues proactively, in an effort to dramatically reduce water waste, improve customer satisfaction and
increase the efficiency of maintenance and business operations.

IBM has helped KWA establish a water management centre using the IBM Intelligent Water Software to bring all the distribution and consumption data from meters to a central dashboard where water usage can be effectively and predictively monitored and managed. This provides the city’s water supply networks and KWA management with a unified and real time view of the transmission and consumption of water across the city of Trivandrum.

For example, when water officials see spikes or other any changes in usage, the system alerts the engineers so that it can rectified immediately. Smart sensors working in conjunction with the IBM Intelligent Operations Water software enable workers to receive alerts through their mobile or smart devices or laptops so they can respond in near real time to get the problem fixed. As a result, KWA is able to respond immediately on to irregularities in water supply and reacting to repairs that are needed in a much shorter time frame.

While water samples used to be manually collected and analysed, by installing sensors throughout the water treatment process, KWA can measure water turbidity, salinity, conductivity, PH and chlorine levels in real time.

Using the IBM Intelligent Water Software, workers can instantly visualise operations and receive alerts and notifications when readings stray from norms or when analysis indicates that water quality has changed. The data monitored by the IBM systems helps KWA in tracking water meters across the city on consumption, thereby reducing billing anomalies and improving revenue collection by more than 10%.

IBM solution will help KWA in 100% equitable water supply. The Analytics and Mobility solutions now enable KWA monitor water distribution and prevent water loss from leakages. The mix of data analytics and a system-level view of the water infrastructure and lifecycle enable the authorities to be more effective in their operations, and also reduce unaccounted depletion of a precious resource.

“Under our Smarter Cities project, we have some of the crucial deployments which is enabling the authorities to provide better services to the citizens,” says Rajan. “This is the smarter future for all our communities in the coming days—a future where resources are optimised, technology is the underpinning of efficient resource management, and data is the key to better planning and execution.”

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