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WIPAC MONTHLY
The Monthly Update from Water Industry Process Automation & Control
www.wipac.org.uk												Issue 2/2024- February 2024
Page 2
In this Issue
WIPAC Monthly is a publication of the Water Industry Process Automation & Control Group. It is produced by the group
manager and WIPAC Monthly Editor, Oliver Grievson. This is a free publication for the benefit of the Water Industry and please feel
free to distribute to any who you may feel benefit. However due to the ongoing costs of WIPAC Monthly a donation website has
been set up to allow readers to contribute to the running of WIPAC & WIPAC Monthly, For those wishing to donate then please visit
https://www.patreon.com/Wipac all donations will be used solely for the benefit and development of WIPAC.
All enquires about WIPAC Monthly, including those who want to publish news or articles within these pages, should be directed
to the publications editor, Oliver Grievson at olivergrievson@hotmail.com
From the editor............................................................................................................. 3
Industry news..............................................................................................................
Highlights of the news of the month from the global water industry centred around the successes of a few of the companies
in the global market.
4 - 13
Measuring ammonia accurately for the Environment Act 2021.....................................
In this month's feature we have an article from Rob Stevens of Proteus talking about how to measure ammonia accurately for the
Environment Act 2021 as this is the most difficult ask in the future CSO monitoring that the industry will see adopted over the next
ten years
14-17
The use of generative AI in utilities: A case study of DEWA..........................................
In our first case study this month we look at the Dubai Water & Electricity Authority (DEWA) and how they are using Generative AI to
develop innovations within the utility space.
18-20
The value of trustworthy data......................................................................................
In our second case study this month we look at how Trimble Utilities have helped a utility improve their asset data and how the
trustworthiness of this data has realised savings in the delivery of maintenance programmes in the City of Westminster in the USA
21 - 22
Workshops, conferences & seminars............................................................................
The highlights of the conferences and workshops in the coming months.
23 - 24
Page 3
From the Editor
		
What is the value of data quality? Throughout my career I've heard various opinions on data quality whether it be
fixed data such as asset data or online monitoring data. I, myself started my career in the laboratory environment
working for a public analyst laboratory and so the value of accuracy was ingrained into my very essence at a very young
professional age as was the concept of measurement uncertainty. At the same time the values of auditing and setting up a
continuing performance system was also ingrained in you. Audits in those days were under NAMAS (National Measurement
Accreditation Scheme) when an eagle-eyed auditor would come along and ensure that every single step of the method
that you showed them was to standard, it was quite frankly terrifying at first until you realised the value of concepts such
as auditing and traceability. All of this was before the concept of ISO17025 the standard for Good Laboratory Practice in
testing laboratories which has replaced the systems with an equally rigorous system.
What did I get from all of this experience so early on in my career and how has it benefited my engineering practice? Well,
I suppose it has instilled in me a rigour that when, nowadays, when I look at instrumentation and data I apply a rigour that
I would expect from a laboratory but also knowing the sources of uncertainty for that data. Nowadays, dealing with flow
measurement, which needs to be almost as precise as the measurements that I used to make in the lab I have a greater
understanding of the implications of those measurements. A mm here on there can lead to compound errors that will see a wastewater treatment works
pass or fail its operating consent. When somebody comes along 6 months later and corrects that mm or two's error then it can change whole situations or
in the case of the recent publicity on event duration monitoring whether an overflow records a spill or not...compound this over a year and that slight error
multiplied over multiple devices you get a situation that does not reflect reality.
Over the years I have had people say to me, well as long as the error is consistent you can get a trend of what is happening. My come-back on this is - what if
the end user of the data is not aware of the error and believes it is a true-reflection of the real situation? The use of data in our industry is becoming more and
more important and the communication of the situation using that data has to reflect the truth. In this issue we have two articles which are all about the use
of data. From the stark warning about the technologies we use to measure water quality in the first instance to the recording and use of asset data.
Does all of this need data analysts and special techniques to measure the data - no. Does it need a trained eye to understand what is happening and what the
data is saying and how this reflects the resultant situation, yes. However the important thing in all of this is whether or not the data is accurate and whether
or not it is telling the truth. This is one of the battlefields of the future for the global water industry.
Have a good month,
Oliver
2024IWSChallenge:Win$10,000ToAdvanceSmartWaterTechnology
The Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) are pleased to announce the launch of the sixth annual Intelligent Water
Systems (IWS) Challenge. As technology advances, water systems are using IWS to collect more complex and detailed data that measure key process indicators
and facilitate system operation. This growing store of big data may deliver value in unforeseen ways as utilities work to address more complicated matters.
The Challenge encourages the adoption of intelligent water technologies by demonstrating the ability of IWS to effectively leverage data to enhance decision
making. The competition provides an opportunity for teams of students, professionals, and/or technology aficionados to showcase their ideas and innovations.
The 2024 IWS Challenge team registration deadline is April 22, 2024. The finalists will be competing for a grand prize of $10,000 at the WEFTEC 2024 conference
in New Orleans, LA, on October 7, 2024. For more information on the IWS Challenge and to register your team, visit the IWS Challenge webpage.
NIST releases version 2.0 of landmark cybersecurity framework
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has updated the widely used Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), its landmark guidance document for
reducing cybersecurity risk. The new 2.0 edition is designed for all audiences, industry sectors and organization types, from the smallest schools and non-
profits to the largest agencies and corporations — regardless of their degree of cybersecurity sophistication.
In response to the numerous comments received on the draft version, NIST has expanded the CSF’s core guidance and developed related resources to help
users get the most out of the framework. These resources are designed to provide different audiences with tailored pathways into the CSF and make the
framework easier to put into action.
“The CSF has been a vital tool for many organizations, helping them anticipate and deal with cybersecurity threats,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for
Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio. “CSF 2.0, which builds on previous versions, is not just about one document. It is about a suite
of resources that can be customized and used individually or in combination over time as an organization’s cybersecurity needs change and its capabilities
evolve.
TheCSF2.0,whichsupportstheimplementationoftheNationalCybersecurityStrategy,hasanexpandedscopethatgoesbeyondprotectingcriticalinfrastructure,
such as hospitals and power plants, to all organizations in any sector. It also has a new focus on governance, which encompasses how organizations make and
carry out informed decisions on cybersecurity strategy. The CSF’s governance component emphasizes that cybersecurity is a major source of enterprise risk
that senior leaders should consider alongside others such as finance and reputation.
“Developed by working closely with stakeholders and reflecting the most recent cybersecurity challenges and management practices, this update aims to make
the framework even more relevant to a wider swath of users in the United States and abroad,” according to Kevin Stine, chief of NIST’s Applied Cybersecurity
Division.
Following a presidential Executive Order, NIST first released the CSF in 2014 to help organizations understand, reduce and communicate about cybersecurity
risk. The framework’s core is now organized around six key functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover, along with CSF 2.0’s newly added Govern
function. When considered together, these functions provide a comprehensive view of the life cycle for managing cybersecurity risk.
The updated framework anticipates that organizations will come to the CSF with varying needs and degrees of experience implementing cybersecurity tools.
New adopters can learn from their users’ successes and select their topic of interest from a new set of implementation examples and quick-start guides
designed for specific types of users, such as small businesses, enterprise risk managers, and organizations seeking to secure their supply chains.
A new CSF 2.0 Reference Tool now simplifies the way organizations can implement the CSF, allowing users to browse, search and export data and details from
the CSF’s core guidance in human-consumable and machine-readable formats.
In addition, the CSF 2.0 offers a searchable catalogue of informative references that shows how their current actions map onto the CSF. This catalogue allows
an organization to cross-reference the CSF’s guidance to more than 50 other cybersecurity documents, including others from NIST, such as SP 800-53 Rev. 5, a
catalogue of tools (called controls) for achieving specific cybersecurity outcomes.
Organizations can also consult the Cybersecurity and Privacy Reference Tool (CPRT), which contains an interrelated, browsable and downloadable set of NIST
guidance documents that contextualizes these NIST resources, including the CSF, with other popular resources. And the CPRT offers ways to communicate
these ideas to both technical experts and the C-suite, so that all levels of an organization can stay coordinated.
NIST plans to continue enhancing its resources and making the CSF an even more helpful resource to a broader set of users, Stine said, and feedback from
the community will be crucial.;
“As users customize the CSF, we hope they will share their examples and successes, because that will allow us to amplify their experiences and help others,”
he said. “That will help organizations, sectors and even entire nations better understand and manage their cybersecurity risk.”
Page 4
Industry News
Esh Construction launches National Underground Asset Register with
Northumbrian Water
Esh Construction has showcased the latest in UK digital mapping innovations on site after helping to shape the technology's development
with Northumbrian Water Group (NWG).
The National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) was created by the Geospatial Commission - part of the UK government's Department for Science, Innovation
and Technology - to digitally map data on underground power cables and utility services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Clive Surman-Wells,
Innovation Partnerships Manager at Northumbrian Water Group, initiated the concept during the firm's Innovation Festival in 2018. Esh Construction was the
initial contractor to trial the system, and has worked collaboratively with the water company to develop the technology since 2018.
Norman Barnett, Framework Director at Esh Construction, said: "NUAR will be a game changer for health and safety in the construction industry, which all those
that have been involved with it so far within Esh are in agreement with. Being able to access this information around the clock, and to also capture unchartered
service information, is a huge step forward. We are proud to be one of the first contractors nationally to have been involved with the development of NUAR, from
conception, through the trials and now at the go live stage."
The National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) was created by the Geospatial Commission to digitally map data on underground power cables and utility
services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland
With upwards of 60,000 accidents recorded owing to accidental damage to the network annually, NUAR is identified as not only reducing the number of accidents,
but innovating time-saving and health and safety enhancements to working conditions.
HSEQ Advisor at Esh Construction, Ash Dunn said: "As a delivery and framework partner for Northumbrian Water Group, we were at the Innovation Festival in
2018 and we've been involved with it since – the health and safety benefits are huge.
"The team on the ground can see more than they've ever been able to see before regarding restrictions and hazards, and the clarity of the system beats anything
that has been available before it. When you can easily understand the hazards that are there, it eliminates one element of danger, which is immensely important
within a construction environment and in line with our 'Everyone Safely Home' campaign."
Dunn has been heavily involved in rolling out the system among the Esh Construction team and said the change from cross-referencing and plotting out multiple
maps in back-end administration prior to starting on site to the new NUAR system, which provides instant access when you insert the co-ordinates, offers a
monumental shift.
Dunn and his colleagues showcased how Esh operates the system, where Groundworker and foreman John Ridley said it has been really beneficial. He said: "NUAR
allows us to respond to emergencies and mobilise on site almost immediately without the need to wait for multiple utility drawings to be issued. Seeing as many
assets visible on a single view as possible makes it easier to understand what utilities are in the area and where they are. Having 24/7 access to a live system is a
major benefit as we regularly work around the clock and carry out excavations overnight."
NUAR is a system that has the capability to provide detailed underground maps from over 700 utilities providers, with asset owners like Northumbrian Water
being responsible for granting access to its contractors. While the UK Government's intended roll-out across the UK by 2025 continues to be developed, Esh will
gradually implement the system through the Runway 1 Repairs and Maintenance Framework with Northumbrian Water, but it is envisaged that it will go across
the business' wider divisions when it becomes available to all contractors.
Clive Surman-Wells, Innovation Partnerships Manager at Northumbrian Water Group said: "We're convinced of the many benefits of NUAR: helping keep our
people safe when they are excavating and minimising our impact on services to customers being just two. NWG have rolled-out NUAR more extensively than any
other company and in the North East region there is increasing uptake across both utilities and local authorities. Throughout the development process we have
worked collaboratively with Esh, the Geospatial Commission and other asset owners to design a really usable system."
Page 5
Water quality monitor, locust-inspired electronic nose under
development
Two teams of engineers led by faculty in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis will work toward developing products to
monitor drinking water quality and to detect explosives with an electronic nose with one-year, $650,000 Convergence Accelerator Phase 1 grants from the
National Science Foundation (NSF).
Barani Raman, professor of biomedical engineering, and Daniel Giammar, the Walter E. Browne Professor of Environmental Engineering, will lead teams of
researchers from Washington University and other institutions and entities funded under the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator program, designed to address
national-scale societal challenges through convergence research and to transition basic research and discovery into practice to solve these challenges aligned
with specific research themes. Among the themes are real-world chemical sensing applications, bio-inspired design innovations and equitable water solutions.
Raman and his collaborators have been working for nearly two decades to harness insects’ keen sense of smell into a sensor that could be used to detect
explosives and in other applications. Now, they will take it a step further by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and nanotechnology to create a sensor, or
electronic nose, to detect explosive volatile organic compounds.
Raman, professor of biomedical engineering, will work with long-time McKelvey Engineering collaborators Shantanu Chakrabartty, the Clifford W. Murphy
ProfessorinthePrestonM.GreenDepartmentofElectrical&SystemsEngineering;SrikanthSingamaneni,theLilyan&E.LisleHughesProfessorintheDepartment
of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science; and Braden Giordano, associate superintendent of the Chemistry Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.
Using the information gathered from their research in developing bio-inspired sensors, the team plans to create an AI-enabled, nanoparticle-based electronic
nose device that can be used to gather and validate data. This portable proof-of-concept device would merge two ideas: a large, nanostructured chemical sensor
array with diverse functions and the sensing and AI principles it has identified in the olfactory system of locusts. With the data, they plan to develop a library of
known signatures for various explosive vapors at various concentration ranges.
In addition to detecting volatile organic compounds, the electronic nose could also be used in biomedicine, homeland security, environmental monitoring,
climate change technologies and the flavour and food industry. The team plans to work with industry partners to tailor the design for various uses.
Raman and his collaborators have been working for nearly two decades to harness insects’ keen sense of smell into a sensor that could be used to detect
explosives and in other applications
“A decade ago, we did not yet have the technology to develop a field-deployable and robust electronic nose,” Raman said. “The recent advances in biological
olfaction, combined with developments in materials science and electronics for remote and long-term monitoring, helped us to understand the computing
principles in biological olfaction. In addition, the vast improvements in AI, machine learning and data science provided a new opportunity to develop a robust
artificial chemical sensing system.”
Raman acknowledges that a device equal in capabilities as a biological olfactory system such as the locust’s is a Holy Grail. However, this new work and design
plan will consider the key requirements in various applications and develop priorities of capabilities needed in the electronic nose technology.
In the second McKelvey Engineering-led Convergence Accelerator project, Giammar, also the director of the university’s Centre for the Environment, will
lead a team in developing a drinking water-quality monitoring tool based on point-of-use water filters. The research will focus on residents of disadvantaged
communities served by small public water systems and those in urban locations served by large water systems with an aging infrastructure as well as those who
source water from private wells with lower monitoring requirements.
The team will evaluate the ability of commercially available point-of-use filters, such as faucet-mounted filters, to monitor copper, zinc, manganese, hexavalent
chromium, arsenic, micro-organisms, and per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances, or PFAS, the widely used “forever chemicals” linked with harm to the
environment and to human health.
“In urban settings, recent crises with lead found in drinking water in Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, highlight the threats to public health posed
by aging water supply infrastructure,” Giammar said. “The existing monitoring framework is often not enough to identify degraded water quality for those
populations most affected, making this an environmental justice issue as much as a water quality issue.”
Giammar’steamincludesco-principalinvestigatorsfromWashU,includingFangqiongLingandKimberlyParker,bothassistantprofessorsofenergy,environmental
& chemical engineering in McKelvey Engineering, and Joe Steensma, professor of practice at the Brown School; as well as researchers from the University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, including Steven Wilson, groundwater hydrologist and principal scientist for the Illinois State Water Survey, Thanh Huong Nguyen,
the Ivan Racheff Professor of Environmental Engineering in Civil & Environmental Engineering, and John Scott, senior analytical chemist in the Illinois Sustainable
Technology Centre.
Giammar’s project also has external partners, including the Midwest Assistance Program, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, the Water Quality
Association, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Page 6
Unveiling opportunities in the digital transformation of Caribbean
water utilities
The Water and Sanitation Division of the Interamerican Development Bank has released a report looking at the digital transformation process underway in water
and wastewater utilities in Caribbean countries.
"The Digital Journey of Water and Sanitation Utilities in the Caribbean: Current State and Opportunities" provides an in-depth analysis of the challenges that
water and sanitation utilities in the Caribbean region are facing and highlights opportunities for improvement through the deployment of digital tools. With
renowned thought leader on water strategy and innovation Will Sarni as the first author, the discussion paper also includes insights obtained through interviews
with leaders of water utilities in the region.
“This report is a significant contribution to understanding the challenges and opportunities with digital transformation in the water sector. The learnings from
the research and interviews are applicable to any geographic region”, Will Sarni told Smart Water Magazine. And he added: “Challenges including access to
capital and technologies and most importantly investment in the workforce are essential when committing to a digital transformation strategy. We view the
opportunities in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region to be significant compelling."
Several questions related to the digital landscape in the water and wastewater utilities of the Caribbean region are addressed: the accessibility of digital tools
available to these utilities, their current state of digital transformation as well as opportunities that exist for further digital transformation. The countries
analysed were Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.
The water sector is critical for the economy of Caribbean countries, supplying water for households, agricultural activities, and the tourism industry. Most
countries rely primarily on rainfall as the primary source of water, and projections indicate that climate change will contribute to increased variability and
intensity of rainfall, resulting in more frequent droughts and exacerbating water scarcity issues. Furthermore, the region is susceptible to challenges such as
water pollution, coastal erosion, rising sea levels, and severe weather conditions.
Caribbean water utilities face notable challenges: predominantly tropical and consisting mostly of islands, the region encounters issues such as water supply
limitations, infrastructure constraints, and adverse weather conditions. Implementation of digital technologies is hindered by infrequent smart meters and
insufficient infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. The region also grapples with a scarcity of supply-side innovation support, with limited startups, budgets,
and technical expertise. A lack of a pro-innovation culture and the economic impact of COVID-19, heavily reliant on tourism, further slowed down digital
transition efforts in recent years. However, there are also advantages: relatively small populations allow for the design and construction of small- and micro-
scale, or off-grid solutions in a capital-efficient manner—a flexibility not easily achievable in larger nations. Additionally, many Caribbean countries boast dense
urban populations, providing significant opportunities for a substantial portion of the population to access municipal drinking water and sanitation solutions.
The research team conducted interviews with members from the following organisations: Barbados Water Authority, Belize Water Services Ltd., Guyana Water
Inc., Jamaican National Water Commission, and Suriname Water Company. The report provides a detailed analysis of the current status of digitalisation, exploring
different aspects: water production operations (sources, collection, treatment and distribution), customer service, digital internal systems, data science practices
and cybersecurity.
Thestudyhighlightedtwourgentissues:theneedforfinancialcapitalandskilledlabouraccessibility.Additionally,ituncoveredprospectsforenhancingwaterasset
sensing systems, accelerating internal information communication, bridging the Knowing-Doing gap (the difference between “knowing” that digital technologies
will improve an organization and actually “doing” something about it), and employing digital technologies to enhance customer education about water and
wastewater matters. The document also suggests innovative investment strategies for Caribbean utilities, providing a valuable resource for policymakers, industry
leaders, and other stakeholders who are interested in improving water and sanitation services in the Caribbean through digital transformation.
Yorkshire Water Reduces Leaks By 57%, Eliminating 30% Of Annual
Distribution Main Repairs
Yorkshire Water Services (YWS) is a leading UK water utility that serves nearly 5.5 million people and has a well-deserved reputation as a progressive and
proactive utility. Their belief that innovation is one of the key driving forces that allows utilities to deliver better services to their customers while keeping costs
down has led them to always seek out new ways to improve their operations both now and in the future.
In 2019, the UK’s Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) issued a challenge to all UK water companies to look beyond business-as-usual solutions and
embrace innovation to transform the way they serve both their customers and the environment.
YWS embraced that challenge and, in 2020, selected its Sheffield location to launch what would become the largest and most extensive smart water pilot in
the UK. Sheffield’s harsh winters and freeze-thaw events would regularly result in leakage and maintenance cost challenges for the utility. This made it the
perfect place to put this new approach to the test.
With the aim of incorporating the latest advances in technology and communications to create a true digital twin and revolutionize the way they manage leaks
and supply interruptions, Yorkshire Water collaborated with 15 companies in the digital water space – including Xylem and Idrica – to transform Sheffield into
the country’s first smart water city.
Page 7
Update Gives Insights Into Non-Acoustic Leak Technologies
Technology company Ovarro has partnered with UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) to update the sector on advancements in non-acoustic leak detection
techniques. The update provides an overview of the current non-acoustic methods that have been trialled and deployed since 2016, when a first iteration of
the study was published, and their relative cost and effectiveness. The report identifies successful applications, potential deployment pitfalls and best practice
guidance for trials.
Emerging and novel techniques were also investigated, with a roadmap of future tools that may become available, together with a discussion of the issues
faced in research, development and innovation and ways to bring new technologies to market more quickly. The existing non-acoustic methods summarised in
the report, which have been trialled or deployed, are satellite and radar-based techniques, pressure transients, in-pipe survey devices, thermal imaging with
hand-held devices and drones, temperature monitoring, sniffer dog detection, fibre optics and gas detection.
Investigations into the implementation and outcomes of these trials has enabled the project team to create best practice guidance, which forms part of the
report. Its key recommendations are for water companies to follow as rigorous and systematic a process as possible and “to be aware of the weaknesses in
their current leakage detection technologies, so they can target trials on these weaknesses rather than seeking general solutions”.
The novel techniques and technologies summarised in the report, that are mostly at proof-of-concept stage, include quantum gravimetry, time domain
reflectometry and turbidity monitoring.
Alan Cunningham, Ovarro software delivery manager and report co-author, said: “A number of technologies have emerged since UKWIR’s 2016 study into non-
acoustic leakage technology, which have been trialled and, in some cases, adopted by water companies.
“It was felt that further investigation into the effectiveness of these methods was required, as well as an overview of individual trials that have taken place,
including looking at why some rollouts of non-acoustic technologies had been successful while others had struggled. We hope the collaborative study will
provide the industry with a better understanding of which existing leak detection techniques are likely to be the most suitable in particular situations, which
emerging technologies have potential to make an impact, and where best to channel resources for innovation projects. In terms of the novel technologies
highlighted, while they are mostly at concept stage, it is helpful to get a picture of what might be possible in the future.”
Jeremy Heath of SES Water, the UKWIR programme lead on leakage, said: “Water leakages from pipes pose a significant environmental and economic problem
and tackling this issue is one of UKWIR's strategic priorities.
"Part of the problem is finding underground leaks which are not showing on the surface. By collecting all the latest findings and best practices on non-acoustic
detection methods into a single resource, we can assist water companies in making informed decisions about long-term leakage reduction strategies. This will
lead to more successful trials and innovative projects, ultimately safeguarding our water supply."
The project combined the outputs of a literature review and water company questionnaire with the outputs from two workshops, bringing together water
company representatives, suppliers and academics.
As part of a refreshed strategy, UKWIR has identified seven mission-based themes which align with the UK 2050 Water Innovation strategy themes, including
‘providing the services society needs, expects and values’. Each research theme has a mission and aims, aligned with UKWIR Big Questions and UN Sustainable
Development Goals for global impact.
The report Update on Non-Acoustic Leak Detection. For more information, visit https://ukwir.org/update-on-non-acoustic-leak-detection-and-location
Vodafone to connect Aqualia's meters in Spain to the Internet of
Things
AqualiahasentrustedVodafoneSpainwiththesupplyofNB-IoTconnectivitytodigitalizetheentirewatercycleforthenext10years,accordingtoanannouncement
made at MWC Barcelona 2024. The initial target is to supply more than 1 million IoT connections to its water meters over the first 5 years of the contract. Since
the rollout with Aqualia began in October 2022, Vodafone Spain has already connected more than 250,000 meters to its NB-IoT network. In the coming years,
Aqualia will offer a remote metering service to its more than 3 million users in Spain, which will lead to a better understanding of water use and efficiency, and
greater transparency in water management. It will also help to improve environmental aspects and generate highly qualified technical employment.
Daniel Barallat, IoT Director at Vodafone Spain, said: "The control and proper management of water use in Spain is a constant challenge and of vital importance
today. With this contract, we are putting our cutting-edge technology at Aqualia's service to actively contribute to better conservation of natural resources and
more efficient water management.
The digitalisation of the integral water cycle that Aqualia will undertake in the communities in which it operates, with the help of Vodafone, is part of the
Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE). PERTE aims to modernise the urban water cycle to improve its efficiency, reducing water
losses in the distribution systems and improving wastewater treatment infrastructures. The funding line foreseen by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and
Demographic Challenge, which manages these projects, amounts to 200 million euros in this second call for proposals. It is expected to mobilise a further 1.7
billion euros of Next Generation public funds over the coming years and create around 3,500 new jobs.
Vodafone has developed the Vodafone Water Metering solution to meet the digitalisation needs of all water management companies. The solution makes it
possible to digitise the consumption metering process of households, industries and public entities through the use of smart and connected devices, which
collect a greater amount of information, and through the subsequent processing of this information with data analysis tools. Both companies are currently
developing a pilot of Vodafone Water Metering in the city of Vigo, which will help Aqualia to have full control of the remote metering solution and guarantee
the best service to its customers.
Page 8
Scientists at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) have developed a robust method for detecting whether a toxic chemical used in car tires is present
in rivers, streams, and lakes and measuring its concentrations.
Tire wear is one of the largest sources of microplastics in rivers, potentially posing a significant risk to wildlife that ingest the particles. Toxic chemicals present
in these microplastics have already been linked to the deaths of salmon in the United States and trout in Canada.
The UKCEH project team chose 6PPD, a commonly used additive in the manufacture of car tires to prevent the degradation of rubber, as the focus of their
research. It was carried out on behalf of Defra as part of a wider project to develop a way of detecting and quantifying microplastics in river water and sediment.
UKCEH pollution scientist Dr. Richard Cross explains, "From a scientific perspective, car tires are a challenging material to investigate. Every tire manufacturer
uses a different formulation, and it can be quite a closely guarded secret."
"However, a handful of additives are used in the production of almost all vehicle tires. These have relatively consistent concentrations and aren't really used in
anything except tires. One of those is 6PPD, and that's why we decided to use it as the 'red flag' that told us tire rubber was in our sample."
As the additive degrades in the environment by reacting with ozone, it transforms into a toxic compound called 6PPD-quinone, which can become dangerous to
wildlife when it runs off into a water course during rainfall and storms. It has been implicated in Urban Runoff Mortality Syndrome, where stormwater discharges
coincide with salmon returning to the streams where they were born, causing mass deaths of adult fish before they can reach these spawning grounds.
Through repeat sampling, the project team was able to detect differences between the more contaminated site on the River Irk and the less contaminated
sediments in the Thames at Wallingford
Since 2022, scientists from UKCEH have taken samples from sediment in the River Thames in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, next to a busy road bridge, and on the
River Irk in Manchester. Sediment was chosen for monitoring because the particles from tires and road wear are dense and can be relatively large and will quickly
form part of the river sediment.
Sediments are very diverse and can undergo rapid changes, particularly during heavy rainfall. Any method to quantify toxic chemicals in sediments accurately
must take into account how variable concentrations are where you are sampling. Through repeat sampling, the project team was able to detect differences
between the more contaminated site on the River Irk and the less contaminated sediments in the Thames at Wallingford.
Using gas chromatography mass-spectrometry techniques, they analysed each sediment sample to detect the presence of 6PPD. By looking in detail at how
variable each location could be, the team proposed a way their sampling method could be rolled out in the future to robustly detect, measure, and quantify the
presence of 6PPD and measure its quantity in water courses.
In addition to this work, UKCEH was able to use the same sampling design to quantify other microplastic fragments in both waters and sediments, an essential
step towards understanding the extent of tire wear particle pollution compared to other sources of microplastic pollution in these rivers.
The chemical 6PPD has been identified as a priority substance for monitoring by the Environment Agency's Prioritization and Early Warning system, and so the
method developed at UKCEH provides an essential tool to understand more about this compound and the wider risks that microplastics and tire wear pose to
freshwaters in the UK. It is aimed at governments and regulators, as well as tyre and additive manufacturers that are interested in product risk assessment.
New method measures levels of toxic tyre particles in rivers
Tetra Tech expands digital transformation services with LS
Technologies acquisition
Tetra Tech, a leading provider of high-end consulting and engineering services, has acquired LS Technologies, an innovative U.S. federal enterprise technology
services and management consulting firm based in Fairfax, Virginia. LS Technologies brings significant additional capabilities, resources, and new federal clients
to Tetra Tech’s Federal Information Technology (IT) practice.
“Tetra Tech integrates high-end technology services with our subject matter expertise to provide innovative mission critical solutions for our clients,” said
Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO. “The addition of LS Technologies to our Federal IT Division enhances the support we provide our government
and commercial customers in modernizing their critical infrastructure. Our combined capabilities bring the best data analytics, cybersecurity, and digital
transformation solutions to these vital projects."
Allison Poltorak, LS Technologies CEO, said, “We are pleased to join Tetra Tech, enabling us to combine our technology and management consulting expertise
to deliver greater value to our clients, while increasing opportunities for our 500 employees around the country. As part of Tetra Tech, we are gaining access to
their global platform and numerous contract vehicles, which will support our continued growth.”
The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. LS Technologies is joining Tetra Tech’s Government Services Group.
Page 9
Thames Water awards Technical Partner Framework to support
future infrastructure
Thames Water has implemented a Technical Partner Framework to support the delivery of its Strategic Resource Options (SRO) Programme. As part of this
recent procurement exercise, Thames Water, sought to work with partners that demonstrated extensive experience in developing and supporting large complex
infrastructure projects in the current UK planning environment.
The Technical Partner Framework has been awarded to three consortiums:
• Arup & Binnies
• AtkinsRéalis & Stantec
• Jacobs & Mott MacDonald
The company predicts that across London and the Thames Valley, it will need an additional billion litres of water every day for its customers in the next 50 years.
The framework will support the partnership work required to deliver the major infrastructure needed to meet the water scarcity challenges ahead, including
climate change and a growing population.
In announcing the successful completion of this framework procurement, Mohit Farmah, Head of Procurement and Supply Chain for Thames Water’s Strategic
Resource Options Directorate, said: “This Framework Agreement marks a significant step forward with our Strategic Resource Options Programme. We will
now look to work with our technical partners to drive the development of innovative solutions, which will protect the environment, benefit our customers and
secure future water supply to enhance drought resilience.”
Essex & Suffolk Water awards UK's largest IoT smart water metering
contract
UK-based smart technology and digital provider Connexin has been selected by Essex & Suffolk Water for the advanced water metering infrastructure (AMI)
framework contract to manage the roll-out of smart meters across the Essex and Suffolk supply regions. The agreement is the third major smart water meter
win for Connexin having already secured contracts with Yorkshire Water and Severn Trent Water.
The new AMI IoT metering award is the largest of its kind in the UK water utility sector. The delivery of an end-to-end ‘Meter as a Service’ solution will cover
smart water metering requirements across Essex and Suffolk, while also supporting Ofwat’s per capita consumption (PCC) and leakage targets. The water
company has also committed to ensuring that all water meters are “smart” by 2035.
Installation of Connexin’s low-powered and long-range LoRaWAN® network infrastructure will enable communications with Temetra’s Head End System (HES),
sending data from smart water meters via the Connexin AMI network infrastructure to effectively analyse reports from across the network remotely in real-
time. Connexin will install 164,000 Itron water meters by the end of 2025, 612,000 meters by 2030 and up to one million meters in total by 2035. In the next
11 years, Connexin will provide a wireless communications network for up to one million households and businesses, meaning remote access to hourly water
meter readings, this will increase visibility of usage and help customers take control of their bills. The Connexin network will support the water company in
identifying and reducing household leakage across Essex and Suffolk; reducing the amount of water wasted across some of the country’s most water-stressed
regions.
Gary Adams, Head of the Smart Transformation Programme at Essex & Suffolk Water, said:
“Our partnership with Connexin is a cornerstone in supporting our smart meter rollout ambition in these regions and we are excited to bring their extensive
knowledge and experience into our programme of work.
We are passionate about the environment and our targets to reduce both consumption and leakage, creating a more water-efficient system for our customers.
Our rollout of smart metering will support this and provide valuable insight in shaping how the industry can better understand where water is used, and make
sure we’re looking after it for the future. We know that approximately 18% of our domestic customers have a leak at their property which has a direct impact
on the value of their bill. Through this smart connectivity, we will be able to detect customer side leakage more precisely and quicker than before supporting
our customers in keeping their bills as low as possible. The hourly data will also allow us to work with our customers to demonstrate how much water they are
using and provide guidance on how to reduce it to help improve people’s lives and safeguard our environment.”
Connexin has been awarded a contract of up to 15 years to provide the new infrastructure, five years initially with the option to extend for a further 10 years -
truly cementing its position as the go-to end-to-end solutions provider for smart water metering within the utilities sector.
Dan Preece, Vice President of Water & Utilities at Connexin, said:
“We have proved once again we are a leader in smart water infrastructure. Securing the largest UK water metering contract is a commitment to the well-being
of our communities and the conservation of our most precious resource. Together we are paving the way for a more connected, efficient, and responsible world
- one drop at a time.”
The Asset Management Period 8 (AMP8) commences on 1 April 2025, affecting all water companies within England & Wales. The purpose of AMP periods,
set by industry regulator Ofwat, is to increase efficiency and service levels within the sector. It is anticipated that AMP8 will transform the water industry’s
commitments towards climate change and customer expectations on service, society, and the environment.
Page 10
It's Time To askFIDO: AI Assistant Launched For Water
A new artificial intelligence (AI) virtual leakage assistant powered by GPT-4 has been launched to support and empower water professionals to make accurate
and informed decisions on water infrastructure Called ‘askFIDO’ and launched by FIDO Tech, the virtual assistant analyses curated data across FIDO’s systems
and platforms, including the portal and app, to provide clear guidance to water professionals.
The AI assistant leverages GPT-4 to act as a specialized assistant, including integrating documentation, datasets and glossaries, allowing users to access expert-
level guidance and support. GPT-4 is the fourth in the series in large language models created by OpenAI, and made publicly available via the organisation’s paid
chatbot, ChatGPT, which continues to be one of the fastest growing services with over one hundred million users per week.
While ChatGPT answers questions by accessing publicly available information on the internet, askFIDO instead focuses GPT-4 to focus only on FIDO’s collected,
curated and verified data. The development follows a broader partnership between FIDO Tech and OpenAI partner, Microsoft, in which actionable AI is being
deployed to help reduce utility non-revenue water (NRW), as part of the organization’s sustainability and water positive ambitions set for 2030.
The partnership is now active in three locations, starting in London, before moving to Phoenix, Arizona and then Querétaro in Mexico.
askFIDO will act as a tool to bridge FIDO’s ecosystem of hardware and software, making it easier than ever for users to locate and solve water utility challenges.
The new offering aims to create a conversation with users. With natural language and a simple interface, it democratises access to AI, regardless of experience
or skill level. To date, FIDO Tech has been working with water utilities around the world to deploy actionable AI to rank leaks by size.
At DC Water, for example, the FIDO team successfully identified major leaks which had previously gone undetected. This included one leak losing an estimated
130 gallons per minute. The World Bank estimates that as a global average, 30% of the world’s piped water is lost before it reaches the customer, most of it due
to leaks and theft. In developing nations, roughly 45 million cubic metres of water are lost daily, worth over $3B per year.
Victoria Edwards, Co-Founder & CEO of FIDO Tech, said: “We continue to push boundaries in the water sector. Many people said we couldn’t guarantee a 25%
leakage reduction to UK utilities, and we did. Now we’re going one step further with the launch of askFIDO, powered by GPT. In our mission to democratize
access to artificial intelligence, this virtual assistant will help water professionals globally. We believe that using askFIDO, you’ll never have to work alone.”
Page 11
Ultra-sensitive lead detector could significantly improve water
quality monitoring
EngineersattheUniversityofCaliforniaSanDiegohavedevelopedanultra-sensitivesensormadewithgraphenethatcandetectextraordinarilylowconcentrations
of lead ions in water. The device achieves a record limit of detection of lead down to the femtomolar range, which is one million times more sensitive than
previous sensing technologies.
“With the extremely high sensitivity of our device, we ultimately hope to detect even the presence of one lead ion in a reasonable volume of water,” said
Prabhakar Bandaru, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “Lead exposure
is a serious health concern, and it has been indicated that a lead concentration at the level of parts per billion in drinking water could lead to pernicious
outcomes, such as stunted human growth and development.”
The work is described in a paper published recently in Nano Letters.
The device in this study consists of a single layer of graphene mounted on a silicon wafer. Graphene, with its remarkable conductivity and surface-to-volume
ratio, offers an ideal platform for sensing applications. The researchers enhanced the sensing capabilities of the graphene layer by attaching a linker molecule
to its surface. This linker serves as the anchor for an ion receptor and, ultimately, the lead ions.
One of the key features of this work was making the sensor highly specific for detecting lead ions. The researchers used an aptamer, which is a short, single
strand of DNA or RNA, as the ion receptor. These receptor molecules are known for their inherent selectivity toward specific ions. The researchers further
enhanced the receptor’s binding affinity for lead ions by tailoring its DNA or RNA sequence. This ensured that the sensor would only be triggered upon binding
to lead ions.
Achieving the femtomolar limit of detection was made possible by studying in detail the molecular events occurring on the graphene sensor’s surface. The
researchers used a combination of experimental and theoretical techniques to monitor the stepwise adhesion of the linker to the graphene surface, followed
by the binding of the receptor to the linker, and finally, the attachment of lead ions to the receptor.
The researchers analysed thermodynamic parameters of the system such as binding energies, changes in capacitance, and molecular conformations and
found that they played critical roles in optimizing the sensor’s performance. By optimizing each of these thermodynamic parameters, along with the design
of the entire system, from the electronics and materials all the way down to the ion receptor, the researchers created a sensor that can detect lead ions with
unprecedented sensitivity and specificity.
In addition to its superior sensitivity, the new sensor possesses other advantages over existing methods. Traditional techniques for detecting lead with high
accuracy and sensitivity often rely on expensive instrumentation, which limits their accessibility for widespread use. Meanwhile, home kits, while more
accessible, tend to be unreliable and exhibit a relatively poor limit of detection, typically within the micromolar range.
“The technology that we developed aims to overcome the issues of cost as well as reliability,” said Bandaru. “Our goal is for it to be eventually deployed in
homes, given its relative ease of manufacture.”
While the technology is currently at the proof-of-concept stage, Bandaru hopes to one day implement it in real-world settings. Next steps include scaling up the
production for commercial use, which will necessitate collaboration with industry partners.
Page 12
Page 13
Feature Article:
Measuring ammonia accurately
for the Environment Act 2021
Many parameters in monitoring water quality can be measured relatively easily using very well-established techniques that range from physio-chemical and
optical sensors through to reagent-based analysers. There are few parameters in water quality monitoring that provoke such a wide response of opinion as
with ammonia measurement. There are a myriad of suppliers and sensors that offer seemingly unique characteristics and performance advantages.
For the Environment Act 2021 and the WINEP programme, 5 key determinants have been highlighted by DEFRA: turbidity, pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature
and ammonia. In order to measure these determinants, multiparameter probes or sondes have been quickly highlighted as the most obvious instrument to
monitor these parameters based on flexibility, performance and price. In reality any instrument that can meet proposed DEFRA performance specification
should be considered; multiparameter probes are simply one instrument of many that could be used successfully to monitor the impact of Combined Storm
Overflows (CSOs). Multiparameter sondes have been designed to bridge the gap between high end and expensive single parameter analysers and simply
taking samples to laboratories or taking spot samples with simple hand-held meters.
Outright Need for Innovation
However, many water quality determinants have been neglected due to a lack of innovation and have
typically utilised ageing measurement techniques. One such parameter is ammonia (NH3) which
utilises an ammonium ISE (NH4) to measure ammonium salts in the water. The principle behind ISE's
is that a selective membrane allows specific target ions to pass through a porous membrane and then
measured by an electrode inside the sensor.
Once the pH of the water rises above ~pH7.5, ammonium salts begin to convert to ammonia gas (which
can be very detrimental to aquatic ecosystems especially when pH rises above 8.5). There is a point of
inflection at around pH9.2 where most of the ammonium in the water will be converted to ammonia;
by pH11 almost all ammonium will be converted to ammonia. pH and temperature correction are
essential to determine this relationship before providing an output but not necessarily as important as
pollution indicators in their own right.
It can therefore be argued that ammonia is probably the single most important water quality parameter
under the Environment Act. Dissolved oxygen level reactions can take time and don’t necessarily occur
at the point of pollution but instead represented by a lag which could be several days down river;
therefore, its use to specifically target and quantify pollution sources is somewhat limited.
Ion-selective electrodes are often selected due to their relatively inexpensive cost at point of purchase, but this is very much a false economy. The membrane-
based sensors have a limited operational lifetime before the membrane expires and as a technique the membrane remains vulnerable to interference from
other ions and potential drift. While ammonia forms an important part of the picture, it is questionable as to whether with the new monitoring requirements,
ammonium ISEs are suited to being the main parameter by which pollution signals are tracked in water. By comparison, using fluorescence to measure BOD
or ammonia, has less interference and uses optical technology that has a long lifetime and low maintenance cost.
It is therefore essential that we understand the drawbacks of using ISE's before utilising them as a reliable form of measurement; after all, if they are not
accurate enough for the purposes of the Environment Act then it can be argued that the billions of pounds that will be spent, will be simply wasted causing
water companies, the public, environmental enforcement agencies and the government more problems than solutions. Ultimately, we need reliable sensors
that allow us to make competent and informed decisions, ones that will improve our environment; bad data could have the opposite effect. Let’s consider
some of the issues of ISE's:
Issue's of ISE's
1. Poor accuracy
Almost all ISE's (not installed within analysers) have a typical accuracy of ±2mgl. Using an ISE to accurately depict pollution is a temperamental process and
there have been many references by enforcement agencies that they can only really be used as a trend notification rather than absolute measurement. To
make things worse most forms of pollution (whether its wastewater, agricultural or industrial) would effectively be diluted below the accuracy attainable by
an ISE. By using table 1 below, the data demonstrates how CSO discharges into a receiving water course (based on a 10mgl NH4 discharge) most scenarios of
pollution would be within the red triangle. It is widely recognised that no ISE can provide this level of accuracy so clearly, we need innovation to help!
What makes things worse is that ammonia levels would then need to be calculated utilising pH/temperature correction, therefore exacerbating the potential
accuracies even further!
2. Drift
All ISE's will drift, and it is unfair to allow any manufacturer to let any user assume that they will not, and that they are stable. Furthermore, the exact drift
pattern has until recently not been understood and it has been assumed that ISE's drift gradually. This is in fact not true, and the drift is often either triggered
by an event or accelerated by it. Any attempts to re-process the data by applying a drift factor would not be recommended.
Figure 1: Ammonia ISE and optical
measurement
Page 14
3. Maintenance
ISE's require significant maintenance which involves calibrating typically
every 4 weeks and replacing membranes approximately every 6 months.
This is a very costly and time-consuming exercise and with 20000+
installations proposed under the EA21 this is pretty much a resourcing
and carbon nightmare for users.
4. Failure
Even with significant maintenance regimes, ISE's have a propensity to fail
whichwillinstigatefurthercalloutsandcosts.Therearenomanufacturers
currently offering warranties greater than 12 months for their ISE's within
sondes, and for very good reasons!
5. Monitoring Levels
A healthy river should have ammonium levels of below 0.2mgl which
requires an ISE to work accurately and reliably within the <0.5% of its
full-scale range. Not many sensors can do that including ISE's! Then add
its background accuracy of ±2mgl.
6. Data Integrity
With all the issues that have been highlighted, a resolution of 0.01mgl and an accuracy of ±2mgl it is hard to believe how an ISE could ever provide accurate and
defensible data for the EA21. If an organisation was being prosecuted for a 1mgl spike in ammonium/ammonia, then it could obviously be argued that reading
could be anywhere between -1 and 3mgl. We simply need a better and more reliable approach to measuring ammonia!
That's all the bad news, is there any good news?
In fact, there is and quite a lot; DEFRA are actively encouraging water companies to innovate and although the technical guidance released for the EA21 admits
that ammonia measurement needs to be improved, DEFRA have released a more recent update (August 2023) which requests that water companies should
utilise multiparameter instruments with 2 spare parameter ports to allow for future innovation. There is without doubt a massive requirement to provide
more innovative water quality measurement. At this moment in time Proteus Instruments are the only company that can provide these extra 2 parameter
ports; in fact, we can offer 6 spare ports! Furthermore, at the time of writing this, DEFRA/Innovate UK have released a funding call for innovation projects to
improvement environmental monitoring instrumentation. This should also encourage water companies to adopt more innovative monitoring instrumentation
for the purposes of the EA21.
Although we at Proteus Instruments recognise that there are potentially more valid water quality measurement parameters than ammonia which include BOD,
COD, TOC, E. coli and even phosphorous, we do acknowledge ammonium/ammonia is here to stay and as such this measurement technique simply needs
significant improvement. As it stands, the OPEX burden of maintaining 20,000+ instruments with ammonium ISE's are mind-boggling and almost unjustifiable.
Simple maths would indicate that 22,000 instruments would require a minimum of 12 visits per annum and assuming 4 instruments per day (per field team)
that’s 5000 man-days per month, and that’s assuming no callouts. There is simply not the resource in the UK to achieve this, let alone the carbon footprint that
it would create. Ultimately, we have to remember that this cost would be passed on to the consumer and our environment. So, this is clearly a situation that
nobody is happy with except perhaps any potentially unscrupulous manufacturers or persons. The morally right thing is to innovate and provide a solution that
is more accurate, improves reliability, reduces costs, builds trust with the public, minimises resources and reduces the carbon footprint.
Figure 2: Ammonium River/CSO Mixing Concentrations
Page 15
Proteus Instruments are ahead of the game and have invested heavily in innovation since it was formed in 2018. With multiple world firsts, a Queens Awards
for Enterprise: Innovation (2022) and pivotal contract wins, Proteus Instruments have now also released the world’s first optical instantaneous ammonium
measurement technique for a sonde. Utilising a Proteus with multiple fluorometers, Proteus Instruments are able to provide high accuracy, highly stable
ammonium measurement. Furthermore, the sensors will only require calibration once per annum saving water companies 90-95%% of their OPEX budget that
would be associated with calibrating and maintaining ammonium.
Overall, in any one year we estimate this single technological improvement will save a water company’s OPEX by 65%. Table 2 below demonstrates a typical
calibration calendar for a multiparameter sonde. As you can see 12 visits are required for any NH4 ISE whereas only one visit is needed for optical NH4. If the
move is made to optical it would ultimately mean that probes would only need 3-monthly visits due to pH. Hence, only 1 in 3 visits would be required using
optical NH4 technology from Proteus. There is currently technology that would push out pH calibrations even further which has the potential to instigate a 6 or
12 month calibration run. The cost savings for this are significant but do not compare to the savings associated with extending NH4 calibrations from 1 month
to 12 months.
Month Calibrate NH4 Calibrate Optical
NH4
Calibrate pH Calibrate Turbidity Calibrate Dissolved
Oxygen
1 Yes - - - -
2 Yes - - - -
3 Yes - Yes - -
4 Yes - - - -
5 Yes - - - -
6 Yes (replace membrane) - Yes Yes -
7 Yes - - - -
8 Yes - - - -
9 Yes - Yes - -
10 Yes - - - -
11 Yes - - - -
12 Yes (replace membrane) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Calibrations per
annum
12 1 4 2 1
Let’s see just how much it would cost to run an optical system versus a conventional ISE system. We have utilised conservative costs based on an in-river solution;
a kiosk-based system is likely to cost c.30% more in terms of CAPEX and also an increase in OPEX due to extra maintenance. Labour costs have been approximated
to £250 per visit and each ISE based system requiring 2 replacement membrane caps per annum at £300ea. The table on the right simply demonstrates the
savings that can be attained by utilising optical technology based on 20,000 installed units in England:
Item Cost per unit Total CAPEX Total OPEX per
annum
Total OPEX Cost
(10 Years)
Total Cost
Conventional ISE
based sonde plus
installation
£15k £300 million £72 million £720 million £1,020 million
Proteus Sonde and
installation
£20k £400 million £20 million £200 million £600 million
Just by switching to an optical based system an estimated £420,000,000 could be saved within 10 years; that’s over £45million per water company or a 41%
total life cost saving! This does not include any extra call outs that would be required to attend drifting or failed ISE sensors. Furthermore, it does not take into
account the massive carbon saving associated with having to have 3 times more site visits than with an optical system. This aspect alone could in some minds
even outweigh the actual financial savings of an optical system even further!
What is obvious is that the operational costs far outweigh the purchase costs by 3:1 whereas the optical systems are only 1.5:1. The savings are quite stark and
clearly questions why we are even looking to use sensors which are not designed for long-term performance. This fundamentally backs up DEFRA’s concerns of
using ISEs and hence the call for innovation to revolutionise water quality monitoring; something we have been doing since 2018. What is particularly exciting is
that this is only really the start; it is hoped that innovation and technology will provide even more accurate and reliable forms of measurement, reducing costs
even further. One thing is for sure, we must embrace innovation and not stick to out-dated forms of measurement.
How good is optical?
For optical measurement, just how good is it . . . below is a calibration curve showing 1988 stable ammonium readings (proven by interim calibrations) versus the
Proteus’s optical output. Clearly it is possible to see that the correlation is incredibly robust although we always recommend undertaking a local site calibration
to confirm or optimise the readings. This can be done effortlessly by utilising a good quality ammonium ISE to record data simultaneously for a couple of days.
The Proteus then learns and provides an optical measurement utilising multiple fluorescence sensors and a turbidity sensor. Unlike an ISE, the sensors then only
need to be calibrated once per year. Although other sensors such as pH will need 3-monthly calibrations, this reduces the number of site visits required by 66%.
Furthermore, replacement membranes and associated callouts will be a thing of the past.
Below is a graph showing 6 weeks of continuous 15 min data.
Page 16
Shortly after calibration an event triggers a very small amount of drift which is maintained throughout the deployment. Upon calibration (11th October) the ISE
is recalibrated and completely agrees with the optical ammonium sensor. Although these are relatively low levels of ammonium in this example, typical drift is
often far greater. This data really exemplifies the accuracy and repeatability that optical measurement can bring.
With optical measurement water companies and regulators will get accurate, more meaningful and more defensible data. More importantly optical ammonium
will provide water companies with a reliable means to achieve the aims of the EA21 but it also comes with other great advantages;
1. Sensor life is in excess of 10 years unlike ISE's (<5years).
2. Optical ammonium can measure significantly lower than ISE's.
3. Can be used in environments where ISE's cannot be used such as marine or more saline waters.
4. Not prone to the interferents that ISE's are acknowledged with.
There are clearly a whole multitude of reasons to use optical measurement over ISE-based measurement but if we are to be realistic about achieving the aims
of the EA21 then we need to innovate now. Installing 22,000 ISE sensors from any manufacturer(s) would be the equivalent of driving towards a cliff edge at a
rate of knots. As yet we have not mentioned anything regarding standards of installation or calibration; there is also a fundamental need to provide repeatability
across installations and calibrations. Although there is some discussion about this, there will need to be some degree of flexibility in this, but ultimately will
need a consultation with all manufacturers to incorporate best practice in a national installation and calibration standard. If we don’t, then when the monitored
networks get too big to manage and the data quality is so poor, there will ultimately be a significant backlash from water companies, regulators and the public
questioning how is this sustainable or in fact trustworthy.
With such an obvious outcome it is necessary to innovate now rather than later. Right now, there are great solutions available that will provide better and more
cost-effective data. Those who adopt innovation, will reap the rewards by having maintainable water quality networks with good defensible data; those who
don’t will have networks that will descend into chaos and without doubt have significant interactions with environmental regulators, shareholders and the
public.
Figure 3: Calibration Plot ISE vs Optical
Figure 4: NH4 ISE vs Optical Dataset with minor ISE drift
Page 17
Case Study:
The use of generative AI in
utilities: A case study of DEWA
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) across all its services and operations. DEWA invests in advanced infrastructure
to accelerate digital transformation, enhance the happiness of stakeholders, and provide digital services that support sustainability while reducing our carbon
footprint.
“We are working tirelessly to achieve the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE
and Ruler of Dubai, to position Dubai at the forefront of utilising AI in the government sector. We are prepared for future technological transformations and
substantial changes in government work. We keep pace with the accelerating advancements in various fields, especially AI. We work to develop DEWA’s digital
channels using the latest disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in line with the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031. We started
using AI in 2017 and are working to enrich DEWA’s services with generative AI and ChatGPT. DEWA is the world’s first utility and government organisation in the
UAE to use this modern technology. This is part of DEWA’s continuous efforts to enhance its leadership locally and globally, add value to customers, employees,
and stakeholder experience and promote their happiness. DEWA achieved the second place in the 2023 Dubai Government Customer index with 90.1% by
the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP), which belongs to The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al
Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.
“We utilise AI in all our services and operations to reduce the number of visits to our customer happiness centres and contribute to shaping a new digital future
for Dubai through Digital DEWA, the digital arm of DEWA. We aim to make DEWA the first digital utility in the world with autonomous systems for renewable
energy and storage, with the expansion of AI and digital services. The smart adoption of DEWA’s services reached 99.62% in 2023. DEWA has completed the
digital integration of more than 90 projects with over 65 government and private organisations,” added Al Tayer.
DEWA has provided its employees with the smart assistants Microsoft 365 Copilot and Microsoft Security Copilot, making it the first government entity in
the UAE to adopt this advanced technology from Microsoft. DEWA is among the first utilities in the world to adopt Microsoft’s Copilot. Copilot's features are
powered by generative Artificial Intelligence technology. It enriches the employee experience, facilitates the performance of their tasks, automates workflow,
and strengthens cooperation between work teams, in addition to saving effort and time. Copilot’s features can be modified to suit each individual employee and
to meet their growing needs while ensuring smoother operations. This also helps to keep pace with new and accelerating requirements, anticipate challenges,
and turn them into promising opportunities. These features align with the highest standards of privacy and security followed by DEWA as it implements AI
service protection technologies.
Rammas
DEWA started using ChatGPT in April 2023 on its website and smart app through Rammas, DEWA’s virtual employee supported by AI, to enhance customers’
experience. ChatGPT improves Rammas’ ability to learn, understand, and analyse customer enquiries based on available data and information to respond
promptly and accurately. Since the end of April and until December 2023, Rammas, supported by this advanced technology, has answered more than 138,600
queries through DEWA’s website and smart app. Customer happiness towards Rammas’ services supported by ChatGPT has reached 95%. Since its inception
in the first quarter of 2017, Rammas has responded to over 8.5 million enquiries. Rammas services are available round the clock in Arabic and English through
DEWA’s website, its smart app, Facebook, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, robots, and WhatsApp Business. DEWA is the first government organisation to
Page 18
launch Rammas in Arabic and English.
High Water Usage Alert
The proactive High-Water Usage Alert service helps customers detect leakage in water connections after the meter. The system sends instant notifications to the
customer if there is an unusual increase in consumption.
Smart Living
Through the Smart Living dashboard, DEWA enables customers to monitor their consumption and obtain annual, monthly and daily consumption reports. ‘My
Sustainable Living Programme’ allows customers to compare their consumption with those of similarly efficient homes in their area and get customised tips
to reduce waste. Through the ‘Away Mode’ service, they can receive daily and weekly email reports when they are not at home, activate the service, or travel.
The Self-Assessment tool includes a survey for customers to assess their consumption. After completing the assessment, customers receive a detailed report on
their usage. DEWA Store provides a reliable list of technical service providers in the event of internal faults in the building. Customers can also benefit from the
exclusive discounts on DEWA Store to make their homes smart.
Smart Response
DEWA offers the Smart Response Service for electricity and water technical notifications in 5 different languages. The Smart Response Service includes several
features that empower customers, such as early self-diagnosis of technical interruptions in homes; and reducing the necessary steps to deal with complaints
and follow-ups, while resolving issues through DEWA’s smart app and website. This provides a better experience and a more efficient service to customers. The
service has reduced the number of steps to fix interruptions from 10 steps to 1.
Customer Care Centre
DEWA, through its Customer Care Centre, provides a consistent, integrated, and seamless experience for customers, enabling them to complete their transactions
anytimeand anywhere. The integrated interactivedigital centreincludes a unified and advanced information base that enables employeesto respond to customer
enquiries faster and more accurately. It also contains a dynamic list supported by AI so that employees can identify the caller’s account and communication
records between the two sides. DEWA resolved 100% of customer complaints in 2023. DEWA’s Customer Care Centre set an outstanding service quality level of
96.72%, and maintained an average speed of answering calls in just 13 seconds.
Cyber Defence Centre
The Cyber Defence Centre at DEWA uses AI and Big Data to detect potential security risks and reduce incident response time. In 2023, DEWA in collaboration
with Moro Hub, a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, inaugurated its Cyber Security Innovation Lab, the Waee Cybersecurity Centre, and Identity Intelligence Centre.
This enhances the integrated protection for all stakeholders against cybersecurity risks and ensures secure access to DEWA’s cyberspace, especially with the
acceleration of digital transformation at DEWA and its wide adoption of smart technologies.
Robotic Process Automation
The project works to automate business processes using AI to reduce repetitive and routine tasks. The RPA includes several initiatives such as the automation of
server vulnerability status updates, data caching service monitoring of DEWA’s virtual AI employee, work clearance application (WCA) process, GIS (Geographic
Information Systems) Monitoring System, Bank Guarantee Statement (bank offers), and Domain Naming System (DNS) Scanning.
Distribution Asset Criticality Ranking (DACR)
This system uses AI to digitise the criticality ranking of energy distribution assets for 34,000 transmission substations.
Automated Power Restoration Application
The app automatically locates the technical fault, isolates the affected network sections, reconfigures the network and restores the electrical supply automatically
and without human interaction.
GT Intelligent controller
The Digital Twin Gas Turbine (GT) Intelligent Controller uses thermodynamics, AI, and machine learning to control gas turbines at M-Station in Jebel Ali, the
largest power generation and water desalination plant in the UAE. It improves turbine efficiency, increases generation capacity, and reduces fuel consumption
and harmful emissions.
AI Procurement in a Box toolkit
DEWA collaborated with the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR
UAE), to launch AI Procurement in a Box toolkit. The toolkit provides advanced mechanisms for government procurement of AI technologies.
Power Block app
DEWA and Siemens have started a project to develop the smart Power Block app for the power station as a prototype on a larger scale. The app depends entirely
on AI techniques as well as modern thermodynamic science.
One-Way Data System
Page 19
DEWA has received an international patent for its One-Way Data System, which was designed and implemented internally to ensure the security of data
transmission from power and desalination stations to a shared platform. This builds a knowledge base for decision-makers, enabling them to access data
through smart devices.
Smart Power Plant
DEWA’s Smart Power Plant is a centralised information system that automatically gathers data from control systems in real-time and is capable of functions
such as watering plants using the One-Way Data Device. The operational system is clear and comprehensive, allowing quick analysis and fast decision-making to
improve performance and prevent potential mishaps.
Forecast PV Panel Production System
The system relies on modern technologies such as 3D cloud systems, AI, deep learning, high-density cameras on the main satellite and a network of metrological
stations to predict irradiance, dust, and cloud movement, which can affect PV performance.
Water Smart Distribution Management System
The system aims to increase the visibility and management of its water distribution network. It has a centralised around-the-clock system for remote control
and monitoring, as well as innovative smart equipment and systems. It also uses Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) installed at interconnections between the
transmission and distribution pipelines. In addition, it is linked with advanced water SCADA (Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition) and hydraulic-management
systems. The system will improve fault location and isolation, and lower costs.
Copilot Smart Assistant
DEWA has adopted Microsoft Power Platform and its AI-powered tool Copilot, to enhance DEWA’s digital transformation. Copilot will assist software developers
at DEWA in building smart programmes and applications that support DEWA’s operations more smoothly and efficiently by utilising generative AI tools.
Asset Performance Management
The app manages key equipment at the Jebel Ali Power Plant and Water Desalination Complex using AI and cloud platforms.
Operation and Strategic Planning Improving System
The system is used to manage operational performance. It was developed using data science to improve the performance of the power generation units and
thus improve efficiency.
Simulator and Training Centre
The centre enhances the capabilities of engineers and technicians at DEWA. It enables trainees to experience real-life conditions and provides them with the
skills needed for dealing with different circumstances.
Spot Robot
DEWA uses the four-legged Spot Robots to detect faults, test connection points of high-voltage cables, detect leakage in water pipes, conduct security and
monitoring patrols, create 3D maps and digital twins, ensure construction works are aligned with specifications using multiple-angle cameras, and manage
different facilities such as warehouses, in addition to helping people of determination.
Industrial Arm
DEWA uses the Industrial Arm Robot to clean the surface of low-voltage electrical equipment, painting and welding operations and for cleaning equipment and
valves.
What the case study of the Dubai Electricity and Water authority shows is that with the right investment and the drive towards using Digital Tools can achieve
if the right applications are thought of.
Page 20
Case Study:
The value Of
trustworthy data
The City of Westminster implemented a new mobile app that reduces manual data entry and streamlines workflows as the water utillities crews often juggle
siloed technologies to manage specialized work activities, from valve maintenance and inspections to hydrant repair and flushing.
Lauren Walcott is always seeking new ways to streamline work and maximize resources for the City of Westminster, Colorado. She works as the infrastructure
asset management coordinator for the Department of Public Works and Utilities, which manages 33,000 metered accounts for 112,000 people within the city
for water, potable water, wastewater, and reclaimed water. That entails complex workflows for water treatment and wastewater treatment, as well as field
operations.
The Westminster field crews were already using E.H. Wachs valve exerciser to operate valves when the city adopted Cityworks in 2019 as the asset management
solution across the organization.
“Crews were essentially getting a reading from E.H. Wachs that they had to hand type into Cityworks,” says Walcott. “They asked me if there was a way the two
products could talk to each other. We learned that Cityworks and Trimble were offering an integration with E.H. Wachs that could automate existing workflows.”
Implementing the Solution
The solution was Trimble Unity Mobile for Cityworks, a new mobile application that improves end-to-end services, optimizes asset data collection, and manages
workflows for water and wastewater utilities. The average age in the Westminster valve operations crew is 25 years old, and “they’re always down to try new
technology and integrations,” says Walcott. “So, we jumped on board.”
The app works seamlessly with Cityworks AMS, providing a plug-and-play solution for streamlined data collection and condition assessment workflows. On
Windows devices, the app supports an integration with E.H. Wachs to eliminate the manual entry of valve exercising data and key performance indicators. It
also helps simplify the amount of hardware carried by field crews.
“This integration reduced the time previously spent hand typing and the human error of manual data entry,” says Walcott. “The tool assesses how much torque
is being used and reads that right into the system, as well as number of turns and additional data about the valve.”
Cityworks products and the new Trimble Unity Mobile app are built on a common platform of Esri technology, allowing users to access the same data across the
entire Cityworks platform as well as in web maps, ArcGIS Dashboards, ArcGIS Insights and more. With this tight coupling of technology, field users and office
users are able to view the data for infrastructure and workflows in real-time.
The app supports high accuracy GPS positioning when integrated with Trimble GNSS receivers (Trimble R-series). This allows users to collect accurate location
data at the same time they are performing mandatory inspections—saving time and personnel resources while improving the quality of the organization’s
geodatabase. Adding Trimble Unity Remote Monitoring (RM) also enables field technicians to manage and install Telog IoT devices to help organizations
monitor asset performance data in the field.
Walcott also likes that Trimble Unity Mobile for Cityworks can work offline in areas within the city without good cellular reception. Once the crew is back in
network range, they can sync the data for immediate access in the Cityworks platform.
Page 21
Improving Data Quality
Organizations that use the integrated solution report as much as 30 to 40 percent improvement in operational efficiencies. For example, Trimble Unity Mobile
for Cityworks has made Walcott’s system administrator duties easier.
“Any time there’s a pre-canned integration like this with existing software, I don’t have to spend time installing new products or making some other external
system talk to Cityworks,” she says. “It’s a win for me because it’s more of a ‘deploy and go’ solution. It minimizes the overhead. We have other integrations that
aren’t that way. It’s a lot more work making sure things stay up to date and still communicate. When integrations are part of the Cityworks system, I can spend
time on other innovations or workflows instead of keeping everything together with duct tape.”
Trueman Sanchez, a utilities operator, explains that Trimble Unity Mobile for Cityworks is user-friendly. “We did one training session together and Lauren wrote
up a cheat sheet. We never ran into any issues after that. This app makes things easier because we can now do all of our data entry and valve exercising from
one spot instead of multiple interfaces,” says Mark Uhland, distribution maintenance team foreman."
The ability for the utility to integrate digitization with the enterprise asset management system and GIS ensures valuable information is not lost. Data quality
fuels more informed decisions on repair prioritization and capital planning.
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees had to work independently rather than as crews to take pressure readings off of the hydrants.
“When we dug into our hand-typed data, we found a lot of ‘guesstimating,’” notes Walcott. “Data is not helpful to us if we don't trust it—if we don’t think it’s
accurate. Now with Trimble Unity Mobile for Cityworks we're more confident in our data and can make smarter decisions and better use of funding. Trustworthy
data is a huge benefit. We put a lot of value in that.”
South West Water to roll-out 6,000 leak detection devices to help fix
leaks
South West Water is rolling out innovative leak detection technology across the region in an effort to tackle customer leaks head-on. The water company will
be sending out 6,000 LeakBots to customers in Devon and Cornwall next month as part of a trialled approach to reduce leaks. The trial will run for six months
and, if successful, could be rolled out more widely.
LeakBots are smart devices which help identify internal leaks within customers’ properties. The LeakBot device can be clipped onto a water pipe near the
customer’s internal stop tap and detect if there is a constant flow of water within the property, providing an instant alert to the customer’s smartphone.
David Harris, South West Water’s Drought and Resilience Director, said: “We’re always looking at new and innovative ways of reducing leakage across the
region, alongside more traditional methods. With around 30% of leaks now typically found on customers’ own properties, we really need the help of our
customers. LeakBot will enable customers to detect leaks so that they can be fixed quicky. We’re excited to see the impact LeakBot will have.”
The trial is part of South West Water’s work to reduce leaks in the area and is part of a new campaign to support customers in becoming more water efficient.
South West Water is finding and fixing more leaks than ever before – around 2,000 per month - and utilising innovative techniques including using satellites
to find water leaks two metres underground, drone pilots to cover hard to reach places across Dartmoor and Exmoor, and detection dogs to find leaks in
challenging terrain.
Craig Foster, Chief Executive Officer at Ondo, the company behind LeakBot, said: “Previous trials of LeakBot have achieved a 60% reduction in water leaks within
the home. A roll-out with South West Water will allow us to help prevent unnecessary wastage through domestic leaks across the region. We look forward to
working on the deployment of the initial 6,000 devices and seeing the results.”
Page 22
Water, Wastewater & Environmental Monitoring Conference & Exhibition
Birmingham, UK
9th - 10th October 2024
WWEM is moving to the Birmingham NEC in 2024. Planning is still underway but the firm favourites like the Flow Forum,
Instrumentation Apprentice Competition and the Learning Zone will be returning as well as some surprises. Watch this space for
updates but what is sure that in its new home in Birmingham the WWEM Conference and Exhibition will be bigger than ever.
Sensor for Water Interest Group Workshops
The Sensors for Water Interest Group has moved their workshops for the foreseeable future to an online webinar format. The next
workshops are
12th March 2024 - Sensing as a Service
23 April - Best Practice in Global Innovation Webinar
15th May - The Role of Sensors in Flood Resilience
WEX Global 2024
Madrid - Spain
4th -6th March 2024
WEX Global occupies a unique place in the water conference calendar. Business meetings and conversations lie at the heart of WEX,
along with the principle of ‘exchange’; the exchange of ideas and philosophies, of business cards, of solutions, and of methodologies,
to form strong networks on which to build stronger relationships
WWT Innovation & Smart Water Conference
Birmingham, UK
14th March 2024
The WWT Innovation and Smart Water Conference returns to Birmingham to discuss Digital Transformation in the UK Water Industry
as well as the innovation that is going to be necessary to face the challenges that the water industry will have to answer moving
forward.
Global Smart Water Metering & Intelligent Data Utilisation Congress
London, UK
6th-7th March 2024
The Global Smart Water Metering & Intelligent Data Utilisation Congress is the world's premier global congress, designed to help
water utilities develop faster and more efficient management systems, reflecting the true value of water and supply delivery targets.
With numerous water utilities worldwide evaluating AMI trials and commencing smaller-scale roll-outs, there are resulting questions
to answer: How can the industry quantify the tangible value and benefits of using more granular data? In a world bound by financial
constraints, those deciding to choose AMI over AMR are confronted with another pressing question: is the ROI worthwhile?
Page 23
Conferences, Events,
Seminars & Studies
Conferences, Seminars & Events
2023/4 Conference Calendar
“One of the best events to meet the international community
of innovators in the entire water cycle”
– Dragan Savic, KWR Water Research Institute
Join us at WEX Global 2024
4th
-6th
March, Madrid Spain
WATER, ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE
Integrated Solutions to Build a Water Positive Future
WEX Global occupies a unique place in the
water conference calendar. Business discussions
and connections lie at the heart of WEX, along
with the principle of ‘exchange’; the exchange of
ideas, philosophies, business opportunities and
methodologies to build the strong networks that
will meet the challenges of the circular economy in
mitigating climate change, achieving net zero and
turbo-charging digital transformation.
MEET-4-BUSINESS AT WEX GLOBAL
The relaxed but business focused atmosphere at
WEX Global offers the perfect environment to grow
your international network. A busy timetable of both
formal and informal networking events will present
you with an array of opportunities to meet everyone
that is important to you.
Find out more and to book your place visit www.wex-global.com
SPONSORS & PARTNERS

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WIPAC Monthly Magazine - February 2024

  • 1. WIPAC MONTHLY The Monthly Update from Water Industry Process Automation & Control www.wipac.org.uk Issue 2/2024- February 2024
  • 2. Page 2 In this Issue WIPAC Monthly is a publication of the Water Industry Process Automation & Control Group. It is produced by the group manager and WIPAC Monthly Editor, Oliver Grievson. This is a free publication for the benefit of the Water Industry and please feel free to distribute to any who you may feel benefit. However due to the ongoing costs of WIPAC Monthly a donation website has been set up to allow readers to contribute to the running of WIPAC & WIPAC Monthly, For those wishing to donate then please visit https://www.patreon.com/Wipac all donations will be used solely for the benefit and development of WIPAC. All enquires about WIPAC Monthly, including those who want to publish news or articles within these pages, should be directed to the publications editor, Oliver Grievson at olivergrievson@hotmail.com From the editor............................................................................................................. 3 Industry news.............................................................................................................. Highlights of the news of the month from the global water industry centred around the successes of a few of the companies in the global market. 4 - 13 Measuring ammonia accurately for the Environment Act 2021..................................... In this month's feature we have an article from Rob Stevens of Proteus talking about how to measure ammonia accurately for the Environment Act 2021 as this is the most difficult ask in the future CSO monitoring that the industry will see adopted over the next ten years 14-17 The use of generative AI in utilities: A case study of DEWA.......................................... In our first case study this month we look at the Dubai Water & Electricity Authority (DEWA) and how they are using Generative AI to develop innovations within the utility space. 18-20 The value of trustworthy data...................................................................................... In our second case study this month we look at how Trimble Utilities have helped a utility improve their asset data and how the trustworthiness of this data has realised savings in the delivery of maintenance programmes in the City of Westminster in the USA 21 - 22 Workshops, conferences & seminars............................................................................ The highlights of the conferences and workshops in the coming months. 23 - 24
  • 3. Page 3 From the Editor What is the value of data quality? Throughout my career I've heard various opinions on data quality whether it be fixed data such as asset data or online monitoring data. I, myself started my career in the laboratory environment working for a public analyst laboratory and so the value of accuracy was ingrained into my very essence at a very young professional age as was the concept of measurement uncertainty. At the same time the values of auditing and setting up a continuing performance system was also ingrained in you. Audits in those days were under NAMAS (National Measurement Accreditation Scheme) when an eagle-eyed auditor would come along and ensure that every single step of the method that you showed them was to standard, it was quite frankly terrifying at first until you realised the value of concepts such as auditing and traceability. All of this was before the concept of ISO17025 the standard for Good Laboratory Practice in testing laboratories which has replaced the systems with an equally rigorous system. What did I get from all of this experience so early on in my career and how has it benefited my engineering practice? Well, I suppose it has instilled in me a rigour that when, nowadays, when I look at instrumentation and data I apply a rigour that I would expect from a laboratory but also knowing the sources of uncertainty for that data. Nowadays, dealing with flow measurement, which needs to be almost as precise as the measurements that I used to make in the lab I have a greater understanding of the implications of those measurements. A mm here on there can lead to compound errors that will see a wastewater treatment works pass or fail its operating consent. When somebody comes along 6 months later and corrects that mm or two's error then it can change whole situations or in the case of the recent publicity on event duration monitoring whether an overflow records a spill or not...compound this over a year and that slight error multiplied over multiple devices you get a situation that does not reflect reality. Over the years I have had people say to me, well as long as the error is consistent you can get a trend of what is happening. My come-back on this is - what if the end user of the data is not aware of the error and believes it is a true-reflection of the real situation? The use of data in our industry is becoming more and more important and the communication of the situation using that data has to reflect the truth. In this issue we have two articles which are all about the use of data. From the stark warning about the technologies we use to measure water quality in the first instance to the recording and use of asset data. Does all of this need data analysts and special techniques to measure the data - no. Does it need a trained eye to understand what is happening and what the data is saying and how this reflects the resultant situation, yes. However the important thing in all of this is whether or not the data is accurate and whether or not it is telling the truth. This is one of the battlefields of the future for the global water industry. Have a good month, Oliver
  • 4. 2024IWSChallenge:Win$10,000ToAdvanceSmartWaterTechnology The Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) are pleased to announce the launch of the sixth annual Intelligent Water Systems (IWS) Challenge. As technology advances, water systems are using IWS to collect more complex and detailed data that measure key process indicators and facilitate system operation. This growing store of big data may deliver value in unforeseen ways as utilities work to address more complicated matters. The Challenge encourages the adoption of intelligent water technologies by demonstrating the ability of IWS to effectively leverage data to enhance decision making. The competition provides an opportunity for teams of students, professionals, and/or technology aficionados to showcase their ideas and innovations. The 2024 IWS Challenge team registration deadline is April 22, 2024. The finalists will be competing for a grand prize of $10,000 at the WEFTEC 2024 conference in New Orleans, LA, on October 7, 2024. For more information on the IWS Challenge and to register your team, visit the IWS Challenge webpage. NIST releases version 2.0 of landmark cybersecurity framework The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has updated the widely used Cybersecurity Framework (CSF), its landmark guidance document for reducing cybersecurity risk. The new 2.0 edition is designed for all audiences, industry sectors and organization types, from the smallest schools and non- profits to the largest agencies and corporations — regardless of their degree of cybersecurity sophistication. In response to the numerous comments received on the draft version, NIST has expanded the CSF’s core guidance and developed related resources to help users get the most out of the framework. These resources are designed to provide different audiences with tailored pathways into the CSF and make the framework easier to put into action. “The CSF has been a vital tool for many organizations, helping them anticipate and deal with cybersecurity threats,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio. “CSF 2.0, which builds on previous versions, is not just about one document. It is about a suite of resources that can be customized and used individually or in combination over time as an organization’s cybersecurity needs change and its capabilities evolve. TheCSF2.0,whichsupportstheimplementationoftheNationalCybersecurityStrategy,hasanexpandedscopethatgoesbeyondprotectingcriticalinfrastructure, such as hospitals and power plants, to all organizations in any sector. It also has a new focus on governance, which encompasses how organizations make and carry out informed decisions on cybersecurity strategy. The CSF’s governance component emphasizes that cybersecurity is a major source of enterprise risk that senior leaders should consider alongside others such as finance and reputation. “Developed by working closely with stakeholders and reflecting the most recent cybersecurity challenges and management practices, this update aims to make the framework even more relevant to a wider swath of users in the United States and abroad,” according to Kevin Stine, chief of NIST’s Applied Cybersecurity Division. Following a presidential Executive Order, NIST first released the CSF in 2014 to help organizations understand, reduce and communicate about cybersecurity risk. The framework’s core is now organized around six key functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond and Recover, along with CSF 2.0’s newly added Govern function. When considered together, these functions provide a comprehensive view of the life cycle for managing cybersecurity risk. The updated framework anticipates that organizations will come to the CSF with varying needs and degrees of experience implementing cybersecurity tools. New adopters can learn from their users’ successes and select their topic of interest from a new set of implementation examples and quick-start guides designed for specific types of users, such as small businesses, enterprise risk managers, and organizations seeking to secure their supply chains. A new CSF 2.0 Reference Tool now simplifies the way organizations can implement the CSF, allowing users to browse, search and export data and details from the CSF’s core guidance in human-consumable and machine-readable formats. In addition, the CSF 2.0 offers a searchable catalogue of informative references that shows how their current actions map onto the CSF. This catalogue allows an organization to cross-reference the CSF’s guidance to more than 50 other cybersecurity documents, including others from NIST, such as SP 800-53 Rev. 5, a catalogue of tools (called controls) for achieving specific cybersecurity outcomes. Organizations can also consult the Cybersecurity and Privacy Reference Tool (CPRT), which contains an interrelated, browsable and downloadable set of NIST guidance documents that contextualizes these NIST resources, including the CSF, with other popular resources. And the CPRT offers ways to communicate these ideas to both technical experts and the C-suite, so that all levels of an organization can stay coordinated. NIST plans to continue enhancing its resources and making the CSF an even more helpful resource to a broader set of users, Stine said, and feedback from the community will be crucial.; “As users customize the CSF, we hope they will share their examples and successes, because that will allow us to amplify their experiences and help others,” he said. “That will help organizations, sectors and even entire nations better understand and manage their cybersecurity risk.” Page 4 Industry News
  • 5. Esh Construction launches National Underground Asset Register with Northumbrian Water Esh Construction has showcased the latest in UK digital mapping innovations on site after helping to shape the technology's development with Northumbrian Water Group (NWG). The National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) was created by the Geospatial Commission - part of the UK government's Department for Science, Innovation and Technology - to digitally map data on underground power cables and utility services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Clive Surman-Wells, Innovation Partnerships Manager at Northumbrian Water Group, initiated the concept during the firm's Innovation Festival in 2018. Esh Construction was the initial contractor to trial the system, and has worked collaboratively with the water company to develop the technology since 2018. Norman Barnett, Framework Director at Esh Construction, said: "NUAR will be a game changer for health and safety in the construction industry, which all those that have been involved with it so far within Esh are in agreement with. Being able to access this information around the clock, and to also capture unchartered service information, is a huge step forward. We are proud to be one of the first contractors nationally to have been involved with the development of NUAR, from conception, through the trials and now at the go live stage." The National Underground Asset Register (NUAR) was created by the Geospatial Commission to digitally map data on underground power cables and utility services across England, Wales and Northern Ireland With upwards of 60,000 accidents recorded owing to accidental damage to the network annually, NUAR is identified as not only reducing the number of accidents, but innovating time-saving and health and safety enhancements to working conditions. HSEQ Advisor at Esh Construction, Ash Dunn said: "As a delivery and framework partner for Northumbrian Water Group, we were at the Innovation Festival in 2018 and we've been involved with it since – the health and safety benefits are huge. "The team on the ground can see more than they've ever been able to see before regarding restrictions and hazards, and the clarity of the system beats anything that has been available before it. When you can easily understand the hazards that are there, it eliminates one element of danger, which is immensely important within a construction environment and in line with our 'Everyone Safely Home' campaign." Dunn has been heavily involved in rolling out the system among the Esh Construction team and said the change from cross-referencing and plotting out multiple maps in back-end administration prior to starting on site to the new NUAR system, which provides instant access when you insert the co-ordinates, offers a monumental shift. Dunn and his colleagues showcased how Esh operates the system, where Groundworker and foreman John Ridley said it has been really beneficial. He said: "NUAR allows us to respond to emergencies and mobilise on site almost immediately without the need to wait for multiple utility drawings to be issued. Seeing as many assets visible on a single view as possible makes it easier to understand what utilities are in the area and where they are. Having 24/7 access to a live system is a major benefit as we regularly work around the clock and carry out excavations overnight." NUAR is a system that has the capability to provide detailed underground maps from over 700 utilities providers, with asset owners like Northumbrian Water being responsible for granting access to its contractors. While the UK Government's intended roll-out across the UK by 2025 continues to be developed, Esh will gradually implement the system through the Runway 1 Repairs and Maintenance Framework with Northumbrian Water, but it is envisaged that it will go across the business' wider divisions when it becomes available to all contractors. Clive Surman-Wells, Innovation Partnerships Manager at Northumbrian Water Group said: "We're convinced of the many benefits of NUAR: helping keep our people safe when they are excavating and minimising our impact on services to customers being just two. NWG have rolled-out NUAR more extensively than any other company and in the North East region there is increasing uptake across both utilities and local authorities. Throughout the development process we have worked collaboratively with Esh, the Geospatial Commission and other asset owners to design a really usable system." Page 5
  • 6. Water quality monitor, locust-inspired electronic nose under development Two teams of engineers led by faculty in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis will work toward developing products to monitor drinking water quality and to detect explosives with an electronic nose with one-year, $650,000 Convergence Accelerator Phase 1 grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Barani Raman, professor of biomedical engineering, and Daniel Giammar, the Walter E. Browne Professor of Environmental Engineering, will lead teams of researchers from Washington University and other institutions and entities funded under the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator program, designed to address national-scale societal challenges through convergence research and to transition basic research and discovery into practice to solve these challenges aligned with specific research themes. Among the themes are real-world chemical sensing applications, bio-inspired design innovations and equitable water solutions. Raman and his collaborators have been working for nearly two decades to harness insects’ keen sense of smell into a sensor that could be used to detect explosives and in other applications. Now, they will take it a step further by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and nanotechnology to create a sensor, or electronic nose, to detect explosive volatile organic compounds. Raman, professor of biomedical engineering, will work with long-time McKelvey Engineering collaborators Shantanu Chakrabartty, the Clifford W. Murphy ProfessorinthePrestonM.GreenDepartmentofElectrical&SystemsEngineering;SrikanthSingamaneni,theLilyan&E.LisleHughesProfessorintheDepartment of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science; and Braden Giordano, associate superintendent of the Chemistry Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Using the information gathered from their research in developing bio-inspired sensors, the team plans to create an AI-enabled, nanoparticle-based electronic nose device that can be used to gather and validate data. This portable proof-of-concept device would merge two ideas: a large, nanostructured chemical sensor array with diverse functions and the sensing and AI principles it has identified in the olfactory system of locusts. With the data, they plan to develop a library of known signatures for various explosive vapors at various concentration ranges. In addition to detecting volatile organic compounds, the electronic nose could also be used in biomedicine, homeland security, environmental monitoring, climate change technologies and the flavour and food industry. The team plans to work with industry partners to tailor the design for various uses. Raman and his collaborators have been working for nearly two decades to harness insects’ keen sense of smell into a sensor that could be used to detect explosives and in other applications “A decade ago, we did not yet have the technology to develop a field-deployable and robust electronic nose,” Raman said. “The recent advances in biological olfaction, combined with developments in materials science and electronics for remote and long-term monitoring, helped us to understand the computing principles in biological olfaction. In addition, the vast improvements in AI, machine learning and data science provided a new opportunity to develop a robust artificial chemical sensing system.” Raman acknowledges that a device equal in capabilities as a biological olfactory system such as the locust’s is a Holy Grail. However, this new work and design plan will consider the key requirements in various applications and develop priorities of capabilities needed in the electronic nose technology. In the second McKelvey Engineering-led Convergence Accelerator project, Giammar, also the director of the university’s Centre for the Environment, will lead a team in developing a drinking water-quality monitoring tool based on point-of-use water filters. The research will focus on residents of disadvantaged communities served by small public water systems and those in urban locations served by large water systems with an aging infrastructure as well as those who source water from private wells with lower monitoring requirements. The team will evaluate the ability of commercially available point-of-use filters, such as faucet-mounted filters, to monitor copper, zinc, manganese, hexavalent chromium, arsenic, micro-organisms, and per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances, or PFAS, the widely used “forever chemicals” linked with harm to the environment and to human health. “In urban settings, recent crises with lead found in drinking water in Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, highlight the threats to public health posed by aging water supply infrastructure,” Giammar said. “The existing monitoring framework is often not enough to identify degraded water quality for those populations most affected, making this an environmental justice issue as much as a water quality issue.” Giammar’steamincludesco-principalinvestigatorsfromWashU,includingFangqiongLingandKimberlyParker,bothassistantprofessorsofenergy,environmental & chemical engineering in McKelvey Engineering, and Joe Steensma, professor of practice at the Brown School; as well as researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, including Steven Wilson, groundwater hydrologist and principal scientist for the Illinois State Water Survey, Thanh Huong Nguyen, the Ivan Racheff Professor of Environmental Engineering in Civil & Environmental Engineering, and John Scott, senior analytical chemist in the Illinois Sustainable Technology Centre. Giammar’s project also has external partners, including the Midwest Assistance Program, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, the Water Quality Association, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Page 6
  • 7. Unveiling opportunities in the digital transformation of Caribbean water utilities The Water and Sanitation Division of the Interamerican Development Bank has released a report looking at the digital transformation process underway in water and wastewater utilities in Caribbean countries. "The Digital Journey of Water and Sanitation Utilities in the Caribbean: Current State and Opportunities" provides an in-depth analysis of the challenges that water and sanitation utilities in the Caribbean region are facing and highlights opportunities for improvement through the deployment of digital tools. With renowned thought leader on water strategy and innovation Will Sarni as the first author, the discussion paper also includes insights obtained through interviews with leaders of water utilities in the region. “This report is a significant contribution to understanding the challenges and opportunities with digital transformation in the water sector. The learnings from the research and interviews are applicable to any geographic region”, Will Sarni told Smart Water Magazine. And he added: “Challenges including access to capital and technologies and most importantly investment in the workforce are essential when committing to a digital transformation strategy. We view the opportunities in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region to be significant compelling." Several questions related to the digital landscape in the water and wastewater utilities of the Caribbean region are addressed: the accessibility of digital tools available to these utilities, their current state of digital transformation as well as opportunities that exist for further digital transformation. The countries analysed were Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. The water sector is critical for the economy of Caribbean countries, supplying water for households, agricultural activities, and the tourism industry. Most countries rely primarily on rainfall as the primary source of water, and projections indicate that climate change will contribute to increased variability and intensity of rainfall, resulting in more frequent droughts and exacerbating water scarcity issues. Furthermore, the region is susceptible to challenges such as water pollution, coastal erosion, rising sea levels, and severe weather conditions. Caribbean water utilities face notable challenges: predominantly tropical and consisting mostly of islands, the region encounters issues such as water supply limitations, infrastructure constraints, and adverse weather conditions. Implementation of digital technologies is hindered by infrequent smart meters and insufficient infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. The region also grapples with a scarcity of supply-side innovation support, with limited startups, budgets, and technical expertise. A lack of a pro-innovation culture and the economic impact of COVID-19, heavily reliant on tourism, further slowed down digital transition efforts in recent years. However, there are also advantages: relatively small populations allow for the design and construction of small- and micro- scale, or off-grid solutions in a capital-efficient manner—a flexibility not easily achievable in larger nations. Additionally, many Caribbean countries boast dense urban populations, providing significant opportunities for a substantial portion of the population to access municipal drinking water and sanitation solutions. The research team conducted interviews with members from the following organisations: Barbados Water Authority, Belize Water Services Ltd., Guyana Water Inc., Jamaican National Water Commission, and Suriname Water Company. The report provides a detailed analysis of the current status of digitalisation, exploring different aspects: water production operations (sources, collection, treatment and distribution), customer service, digital internal systems, data science practices and cybersecurity. Thestudyhighlightedtwourgentissues:theneedforfinancialcapitalandskilledlabouraccessibility.Additionally,ituncoveredprospectsforenhancingwaterasset sensing systems, accelerating internal information communication, bridging the Knowing-Doing gap (the difference between “knowing” that digital technologies will improve an organization and actually “doing” something about it), and employing digital technologies to enhance customer education about water and wastewater matters. The document also suggests innovative investment strategies for Caribbean utilities, providing a valuable resource for policymakers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders who are interested in improving water and sanitation services in the Caribbean through digital transformation. Yorkshire Water Reduces Leaks By 57%, Eliminating 30% Of Annual Distribution Main Repairs Yorkshire Water Services (YWS) is a leading UK water utility that serves nearly 5.5 million people and has a well-deserved reputation as a progressive and proactive utility. Their belief that innovation is one of the key driving forces that allows utilities to deliver better services to their customers while keeping costs down has led them to always seek out new ways to improve their operations both now and in the future. In 2019, the UK’s Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) issued a challenge to all UK water companies to look beyond business-as-usual solutions and embrace innovation to transform the way they serve both their customers and the environment. YWS embraced that challenge and, in 2020, selected its Sheffield location to launch what would become the largest and most extensive smart water pilot in the UK. Sheffield’s harsh winters and freeze-thaw events would regularly result in leakage and maintenance cost challenges for the utility. This made it the perfect place to put this new approach to the test. With the aim of incorporating the latest advances in technology and communications to create a true digital twin and revolutionize the way they manage leaks and supply interruptions, Yorkshire Water collaborated with 15 companies in the digital water space – including Xylem and Idrica – to transform Sheffield into the country’s first smart water city. Page 7
  • 8. Update Gives Insights Into Non-Acoustic Leak Technologies Technology company Ovarro has partnered with UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) to update the sector on advancements in non-acoustic leak detection techniques. The update provides an overview of the current non-acoustic methods that have been trialled and deployed since 2016, when a first iteration of the study was published, and their relative cost and effectiveness. The report identifies successful applications, potential deployment pitfalls and best practice guidance for trials. Emerging and novel techniques were also investigated, with a roadmap of future tools that may become available, together with a discussion of the issues faced in research, development and innovation and ways to bring new technologies to market more quickly. The existing non-acoustic methods summarised in the report, which have been trialled or deployed, are satellite and radar-based techniques, pressure transients, in-pipe survey devices, thermal imaging with hand-held devices and drones, temperature monitoring, sniffer dog detection, fibre optics and gas detection. Investigations into the implementation and outcomes of these trials has enabled the project team to create best practice guidance, which forms part of the report. Its key recommendations are for water companies to follow as rigorous and systematic a process as possible and “to be aware of the weaknesses in their current leakage detection technologies, so they can target trials on these weaknesses rather than seeking general solutions”. The novel techniques and technologies summarised in the report, that are mostly at proof-of-concept stage, include quantum gravimetry, time domain reflectometry and turbidity monitoring. Alan Cunningham, Ovarro software delivery manager and report co-author, said: “A number of technologies have emerged since UKWIR’s 2016 study into non- acoustic leakage technology, which have been trialled and, in some cases, adopted by water companies. “It was felt that further investigation into the effectiveness of these methods was required, as well as an overview of individual trials that have taken place, including looking at why some rollouts of non-acoustic technologies had been successful while others had struggled. We hope the collaborative study will provide the industry with a better understanding of which existing leak detection techniques are likely to be the most suitable in particular situations, which emerging technologies have potential to make an impact, and where best to channel resources for innovation projects. In terms of the novel technologies highlighted, while they are mostly at concept stage, it is helpful to get a picture of what might be possible in the future.” Jeremy Heath of SES Water, the UKWIR programme lead on leakage, said: “Water leakages from pipes pose a significant environmental and economic problem and tackling this issue is one of UKWIR's strategic priorities. "Part of the problem is finding underground leaks which are not showing on the surface. By collecting all the latest findings and best practices on non-acoustic detection methods into a single resource, we can assist water companies in making informed decisions about long-term leakage reduction strategies. This will lead to more successful trials and innovative projects, ultimately safeguarding our water supply." The project combined the outputs of a literature review and water company questionnaire with the outputs from two workshops, bringing together water company representatives, suppliers and academics. As part of a refreshed strategy, UKWIR has identified seven mission-based themes which align with the UK 2050 Water Innovation strategy themes, including ‘providing the services society needs, expects and values’. Each research theme has a mission and aims, aligned with UKWIR Big Questions and UN Sustainable Development Goals for global impact. The report Update on Non-Acoustic Leak Detection. For more information, visit https://ukwir.org/update-on-non-acoustic-leak-detection-and-location Vodafone to connect Aqualia's meters in Spain to the Internet of Things AqualiahasentrustedVodafoneSpainwiththesupplyofNB-IoTconnectivitytodigitalizetheentirewatercycleforthenext10years,accordingtoanannouncement made at MWC Barcelona 2024. The initial target is to supply more than 1 million IoT connections to its water meters over the first 5 years of the contract. Since the rollout with Aqualia began in October 2022, Vodafone Spain has already connected more than 250,000 meters to its NB-IoT network. In the coming years, Aqualia will offer a remote metering service to its more than 3 million users in Spain, which will lead to a better understanding of water use and efficiency, and greater transparency in water management. It will also help to improve environmental aspects and generate highly qualified technical employment. Daniel Barallat, IoT Director at Vodafone Spain, said: "The control and proper management of water use in Spain is a constant challenge and of vital importance today. With this contract, we are putting our cutting-edge technology at Aqualia's service to actively contribute to better conservation of natural resources and more efficient water management. The digitalisation of the integral water cycle that Aqualia will undertake in the communities in which it operates, with the help of Vodafone, is part of the Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE). PERTE aims to modernise the urban water cycle to improve its efficiency, reducing water losses in the distribution systems and improving wastewater treatment infrastructures. The funding line foreseen by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, which manages these projects, amounts to 200 million euros in this second call for proposals. It is expected to mobilise a further 1.7 billion euros of Next Generation public funds over the coming years and create around 3,500 new jobs. Vodafone has developed the Vodafone Water Metering solution to meet the digitalisation needs of all water management companies. The solution makes it possible to digitise the consumption metering process of households, industries and public entities through the use of smart and connected devices, which collect a greater amount of information, and through the subsequent processing of this information with data analysis tools. Both companies are currently developing a pilot of Vodafone Water Metering in the city of Vigo, which will help Aqualia to have full control of the remote metering solution and guarantee the best service to its customers. Page 8
  • 9. Scientists at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) have developed a robust method for detecting whether a toxic chemical used in car tires is present in rivers, streams, and lakes and measuring its concentrations. Tire wear is one of the largest sources of microplastics in rivers, potentially posing a significant risk to wildlife that ingest the particles. Toxic chemicals present in these microplastics have already been linked to the deaths of salmon in the United States and trout in Canada. The UKCEH project team chose 6PPD, a commonly used additive in the manufacture of car tires to prevent the degradation of rubber, as the focus of their research. It was carried out on behalf of Defra as part of a wider project to develop a way of detecting and quantifying microplastics in river water and sediment. UKCEH pollution scientist Dr. Richard Cross explains, "From a scientific perspective, car tires are a challenging material to investigate. Every tire manufacturer uses a different formulation, and it can be quite a closely guarded secret." "However, a handful of additives are used in the production of almost all vehicle tires. These have relatively consistent concentrations and aren't really used in anything except tires. One of those is 6PPD, and that's why we decided to use it as the 'red flag' that told us tire rubber was in our sample." As the additive degrades in the environment by reacting with ozone, it transforms into a toxic compound called 6PPD-quinone, which can become dangerous to wildlife when it runs off into a water course during rainfall and storms. It has been implicated in Urban Runoff Mortality Syndrome, where stormwater discharges coincide with salmon returning to the streams where they were born, causing mass deaths of adult fish before they can reach these spawning grounds. Through repeat sampling, the project team was able to detect differences between the more contaminated site on the River Irk and the less contaminated sediments in the Thames at Wallingford Since 2022, scientists from UKCEH have taken samples from sediment in the River Thames in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, next to a busy road bridge, and on the River Irk in Manchester. Sediment was chosen for monitoring because the particles from tires and road wear are dense and can be relatively large and will quickly form part of the river sediment. Sediments are very diverse and can undergo rapid changes, particularly during heavy rainfall. Any method to quantify toxic chemicals in sediments accurately must take into account how variable concentrations are where you are sampling. Through repeat sampling, the project team was able to detect differences between the more contaminated site on the River Irk and the less contaminated sediments in the Thames at Wallingford. Using gas chromatography mass-spectrometry techniques, they analysed each sediment sample to detect the presence of 6PPD. By looking in detail at how variable each location could be, the team proposed a way their sampling method could be rolled out in the future to robustly detect, measure, and quantify the presence of 6PPD and measure its quantity in water courses. In addition to this work, UKCEH was able to use the same sampling design to quantify other microplastic fragments in both waters and sediments, an essential step towards understanding the extent of tire wear particle pollution compared to other sources of microplastic pollution in these rivers. The chemical 6PPD has been identified as a priority substance for monitoring by the Environment Agency's Prioritization and Early Warning system, and so the method developed at UKCEH provides an essential tool to understand more about this compound and the wider risks that microplastics and tire wear pose to freshwaters in the UK. It is aimed at governments and regulators, as well as tyre and additive manufacturers that are interested in product risk assessment. New method measures levels of toxic tyre particles in rivers Tetra Tech expands digital transformation services with LS Technologies acquisition Tetra Tech, a leading provider of high-end consulting and engineering services, has acquired LS Technologies, an innovative U.S. federal enterprise technology services and management consulting firm based in Fairfax, Virginia. LS Technologies brings significant additional capabilities, resources, and new federal clients to Tetra Tech’s Federal Information Technology (IT) practice. “Tetra Tech integrates high-end technology services with our subject matter expertise to provide innovative mission critical solutions for our clients,” said Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO. “The addition of LS Technologies to our Federal IT Division enhances the support we provide our government and commercial customers in modernizing their critical infrastructure. Our combined capabilities bring the best data analytics, cybersecurity, and digital transformation solutions to these vital projects." Allison Poltorak, LS Technologies CEO, said, “We are pleased to join Tetra Tech, enabling us to combine our technology and management consulting expertise to deliver greater value to our clients, while increasing opportunities for our 500 employees around the country. As part of Tetra Tech, we are gaining access to their global platform and numerous contract vehicles, which will support our continued growth.” The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. LS Technologies is joining Tetra Tech’s Government Services Group. Page 9
  • 10. Thames Water awards Technical Partner Framework to support future infrastructure Thames Water has implemented a Technical Partner Framework to support the delivery of its Strategic Resource Options (SRO) Programme. As part of this recent procurement exercise, Thames Water, sought to work with partners that demonstrated extensive experience in developing and supporting large complex infrastructure projects in the current UK planning environment. The Technical Partner Framework has been awarded to three consortiums: • Arup & Binnies • AtkinsRéalis & Stantec • Jacobs & Mott MacDonald The company predicts that across London and the Thames Valley, it will need an additional billion litres of water every day for its customers in the next 50 years. The framework will support the partnership work required to deliver the major infrastructure needed to meet the water scarcity challenges ahead, including climate change and a growing population. In announcing the successful completion of this framework procurement, Mohit Farmah, Head of Procurement and Supply Chain for Thames Water’s Strategic Resource Options Directorate, said: “This Framework Agreement marks a significant step forward with our Strategic Resource Options Programme. We will now look to work with our technical partners to drive the development of innovative solutions, which will protect the environment, benefit our customers and secure future water supply to enhance drought resilience.” Essex & Suffolk Water awards UK's largest IoT smart water metering contract UK-based smart technology and digital provider Connexin has been selected by Essex & Suffolk Water for the advanced water metering infrastructure (AMI) framework contract to manage the roll-out of smart meters across the Essex and Suffolk supply regions. The agreement is the third major smart water meter win for Connexin having already secured contracts with Yorkshire Water and Severn Trent Water. The new AMI IoT metering award is the largest of its kind in the UK water utility sector. The delivery of an end-to-end ‘Meter as a Service’ solution will cover smart water metering requirements across Essex and Suffolk, while also supporting Ofwat’s per capita consumption (PCC) and leakage targets. The water company has also committed to ensuring that all water meters are “smart” by 2035. Installation of Connexin’s low-powered and long-range LoRaWAN® network infrastructure will enable communications with Temetra’s Head End System (HES), sending data from smart water meters via the Connexin AMI network infrastructure to effectively analyse reports from across the network remotely in real- time. Connexin will install 164,000 Itron water meters by the end of 2025, 612,000 meters by 2030 and up to one million meters in total by 2035. In the next 11 years, Connexin will provide a wireless communications network for up to one million households and businesses, meaning remote access to hourly water meter readings, this will increase visibility of usage and help customers take control of their bills. The Connexin network will support the water company in identifying and reducing household leakage across Essex and Suffolk; reducing the amount of water wasted across some of the country’s most water-stressed regions. Gary Adams, Head of the Smart Transformation Programme at Essex & Suffolk Water, said: “Our partnership with Connexin is a cornerstone in supporting our smart meter rollout ambition in these regions and we are excited to bring their extensive knowledge and experience into our programme of work. We are passionate about the environment and our targets to reduce both consumption and leakage, creating a more water-efficient system for our customers. Our rollout of smart metering will support this and provide valuable insight in shaping how the industry can better understand where water is used, and make sure we’re looking after it for the future. We know that approximately 18% of our domestic customers have a leak at their property which has a direct impact on the value of their bill. Through this smart connectivity, we will be able to detect customer side leakage more precisely and quicker than before supporting our customers in keeping their bills as low as possible. The hourly data will also allow us to work with our customers to demonstrate how much water they are using and provide guidance on how to reduce it to help improve people’s lives and safeguard our environment.” Connexin has been awarded a contract of up to 15 years to provide the new infrastructure, five years initially with the option to extend for a further 10 years - truly cementing its position as the go-to end-to-end solutions provider for smart water metering within the utilities sector. Dan Preece, Vice President of Water & Utilities at Connexin, said: “We have proved once again we are a leader in smart water infrastructure. Securing the largest UK water metering contract is a commitment to the well-being of our communities and the conservation of our most precious resource. Together we are paving the way for a more connected, efficient, and responsible world - one drop at a time.” The Asset Management Period 8 (AMP8) commences on 1 April 2025, affecting all water companies within England & Wales. The purpose of AMP periods, set by industry regulator Ofwat, is to increase efficiency and service levels within the sector. It is anticipated that AMP8 will transform the water industry’s commitments towards climate change and customer expectations on service, society, and the environment. Page 10
  • 11. It's Time To askFIDO: AI Assistant Launched For Water A new artificial intelligence (AI) virtual leakage assistant powered by GPT-4 has been launched to support and empower water professionals to make accurate and informed decisions on water infrastructure Called ‘askFIDO’ and launched by FIDO Tech, the virtual assistant analyses curated data across FIDO’s systems and platforms, including the portal and app, to provide clear guidance to water professionals. The AI assistant leverages GPT-4 to act as a specialized assistant, including integrating documentation, datasets and glossaries, allowing users to access expert- level guidance and support. GPT-4 is the fourth in the series in large language models created by OpenAI, and made publicly available via the organisation’s paid chatbot, ChatGPT, which continues to be one of the fastest growing services with over one hundred million users per week. While ChatGPT answers questions by accessing publicly available information on the internet, askFIDO instead focuses GPT-4 to focus only on FIDO’s collected, curated and verified data. The development follows a broader partnership between FIDO Tech and OpenAI partner, Microsoft, in which actionable AI is being deployed to help reduce utility non-revenue water (NRW), as part of the organization’s sustainability and water positive ambitions set for 2030. The partnership is now active in three locations, starting in London, before moving to Phoenix, Arizona and then Querétaro in Mexico. askFIDO will act as a tool to bridge FIDO’s ecosystem of hardware and software, making it easier than ever for users to locate and solve water utility challenges. The new offering aims to create a conversation with users. With natural language and a simple interface, it democratises access to AI, regardless of experience or skill level. To date, FIDO Tech has been working with water utilities around the world to deploy actionable AI to rank leaks by size. At DC Water, for example, the FIDO team successfully identified major leaks which had previously gone undetected. This included one leak losing an estimated 130 gallons per minute. The World Bank estimates that as a global average, 30% of the world’s piped water is lost before it reaches the customer, most of it due to leaks and theft. In developing nations, roughly 45 million cubic metres of water are lost daily, worth over $3B per year. Victoria Edwards, Co-Founder & CEO of FIDO Tech, said: “We continue to push boundaries in the water sector. Many people said we couldn’t guarantee a 25% leakage reduction to UK utilities, and we did. Now we’re going one step further with the launch of askFIDO, powered by GPT. In our mission to democratize access to artificial intelligence, this virtual assistant will help water professionals globally. We believe that using askFIDO, you’ll never have to work alone.” Page 11
  • 12. Ultra-sensitive lead detector could significantly improve water quality monitoring EngineersattheUniversityofCaliforniaSanDiegohavedevelopedanultra-sensitivesensormadewithgraphenethatcandetectextraordinarilylowconcentrations of lead ions in water. The device achieves a record limit of detection of lead down to the femtomolar range, which is one million times more sensitive than previous sensing technologies. “With the extremely high sensitivity of our device, we ultimately hope to detect even the presence of one lead ion in a reasonable volume of water,” said Prabhakar Bandaru, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “Lead exposure is a serious health concern, and it has been indicated that a lead concentration at the level of parts per billion in drinking water could lead to pernicious outcomes, such as stunted human growth and development.” The work is described in a paper published recently in Nano Letters. The device in this study consists of a single layer of graphene mounted on a silicon wafer. Graphene, with its remarkable conductivity and surface-to-volume ratio, offers an ideal platform for sensing applications. The researchers enhanced the sensing capabilities of the graphene layer by attaching a linker molecule to its surface. This linker serves as the anchor for an ion receptor and, ultimately, the lead ions. One of the key features of this work was making the sensor highly specific for detecting lead ions. The researchers used an aptamer, which is a short, single strand of DNA or RNA, as the ion receptor. These receptor molecules are known for their inherent selectivity toward specific ions. The researchers further enhanced the receptor’s binding affinity for lead ions by tailoring its DNA or RNA sequence. This ensured that the sensor would only be triggered upon binding to lead ions. Achieving the femtomolar limit of detection was made possible by studying in detail the molecular events occurring on the graphene sensor’s surface. The researchers used a combination of experimental and theoretical techniques to monitor the stepwise adhesion of the linker to the graphene surface, followed by the binding of the receptor to the linker, and finally, the attachment of lead ions to the receptor. The researchers analysed thermodynamic parameters of the system such as binding energies, changes in capacitance, and molecular conformations and found that they played critical roles in optimizing the sensor’s performance. By optimizing each of these thermodynamic parameters, along with the design of the entire system, from the electronics and materials all the way down to the ion receptor, the researchers created a sensor that can detect lead ions with unprecedented sensitivity and specificity. In addition to its superior sensitivity, the new sensor possesses other advantages over existing methods. Traditional techniques for detecting lead with high accuracy and sensitivity often rely on expensive instrumentation, which limits their accessibility for widespread use. Meanwhile, home kits, while more accessible, tend to be unreliable and exhibit a relatively poor limit of detection, typically within the micromolar range. “The technology that we developed aims to overcome the issues of cost as well as reliability,” said Bandaru. “Our goal is for it to be eventually deployed in homes, given its relative ease of manufacture.” While the technology is currently at the proof-of-concept stage, Bandaru hopes to one day implement it in real-world settings. Next steps include scaling up the production for commercial use, which will necessitate collaboration with industry partners. Page 12
  • 14. Feature Article: Measuring ammonia accurately for the Environment Act 2021 Many parameters in monitoring water quality can be measured relatively easily using very well-established techniques that range from physio-chemical and optical sensors through to reagent-based analysers. There are few parameters in water quality monitoring that provoke such a wide response of opinion as with ammonia measurement. There are a myriad of suppliers and sensors that offer seemingly unique characteristics and performance advantages. For the Environment Act 2021 and the WINEP programme, 5 key determinants have been highlighted by DEFRA: turbidity, pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and ammonia. In order to measure these determinants, multiparameter probes or sondes have been quickly highlighted as the most obvious instrument to monitor these parameters based on flexibility, performance and price. In reality any instrument that can meet proposed DEFRA performance specification should be considered; multiparameter probes are simply one instrument of many that could be used successfully to monitor the impact of Combined Storm Overflows (CSOs). Multiparameter sondes have been designed to bridge the gap between high end and expensive single parameter analysers and simply taking samples to laboratories or taking spot samples with simple hand-held meters. Outright Need for Innovation However, many water quality determinants have been neglected due to a lack of innovation and have typically utilised ageing measurement techniques. One such parameter is ammonia (NH3) which utilises an ammonium ISE (NH4) to measure ammonium salts in the water. The principle behind ISE's is that a selective membrane allows specific target ions to pass through a porous membrane and then measured by an electrode inside the sensor. Once the pH of the water rises above ~pH7.5, ammonium salts begin to convert to ammonia gas (which can be very detrimental to aquatic ecosystems especially when pH rises above 8.5). There is a point of inflection at around pH9.2 where most of the ammonium in the water will be converted to ammonia; by pH11 almost all ammonium will be converted to ammonia. pH and temperature correction are essential to determine this relationship before providing an output but not necessarily as important as pollution indicators in their own right. It can therefore be argued that ammonia is probably the single most important water quality parameter under the Environment Act. Dissolved oxygen level reactions can take time and don’t necessarily occur at the point of pollution but instead represented by a lag which could be several days down river; therefore, its use to specifically target and quantify pollution sources is somewhat limited. Ion-selective electrodes are often selected due to their relatively inexpensive cost at point of purchase, but this is very much a false economy. The membrane- based sensors have a limited operational lifetime before the membrane expires and as a technique the membrane remains vulnerable to interference from other ions and potential drift. While ammonia forms an important part of the picture, it is questionable as to whether with the new monitoring requirements, ammonium ISEs are suited to being the main parameter by which pollution signals are tracked in water. By comparison, using fluorescence to measure BOD or ammonia, has less interference and uses optical technology that has a long lifetime and low maintenance cost. It is therefore essential that we understand the drawbacks of using ISE's before utilising them as a reliable form of measurement; after all, if they are not accurate enough for the purposes of the Environment Act then it can be argued that the billions of pounds that will be spent, will be simply wasted causing water companies, the public, environmental enforcement agencies and the government more problems than solutions. Ultimately, we need reliable sensors that allow us to make competent and informed decisions, ones that will improve our environment; bad data could have the opposite effect. Let’s consider some of the issues of ISE's: Issue's of ISE's 1. Poor accuracy Almost all ISE's (not installed within analysers) have a typical accuracy of ±2mgl. Using an ISE to accurately depict pollution is a temperamental process and there have been many references by enforcement agencies that they can only really be used as a trend notification rather than absolute measurement. To make things worse most forms of pollution (whether its wastewater, agricultural or industrial) would effectively be diluted below the accuracy attainable by an ISE. By using table 1 below, the data demonstrates how CSO discharges into a receiving water course (based on a 10mgl NH4 discharge) most scenarios of pollution would be within the red triangle. It is widely recognised that no ISE can provide this level of accuracy so clearly, we need innovation to help! What makes things worse is that ammonia levels would then need to be calculated utilising pH/temperature correction, therefore exacerbating the potential accuracies even further! 2. Drift All ISE's will drift, and it is unfair to allow any manufacturer to let any user assume that they will not, and that they are stable. Furthermore, the exact drift pattern has until recently not been understood and it has been assumed that ISE's drift gradually. This is in fact not true, and the drift is often either triggered by an event or accelerated by it. Any attempts to re-process the data by applying a drift factor would not be recommended. Figure 1: Ammonia ISE and optical measurement Page 14
  • 15. 3. Maintenance ISE's require significant maintenance which involves calibrating typically every 4 weeks and replacing membranes approximately every 6 months. This is a very costly and time-consuming exercise and with 20000+ installations proposed under the EA21 this is pretty much a resourcing and carbon nightmare for users. 4. Failure Even with significant maintenance regimes, ISE's have a propensity to fail whichwillinstigatefurthercalloutsandcosts.Therearenomanufacturers currently offering warranties greater than 12 months for their ISE's within sondes, and for very good reasons! 5. Monitoring Levels A healthy river should have ammonium levels of below 0.2mgl which requires an ISE to work accurately and reliably within the <0.5% of its full-scale range. Not many sensors can do that including ISE's! Then add its background accuracy of ±2mgl. 6. Data Integrity With all the issues that have been highlighted, a resolution of 0.01mgl and an accuracy of ±2mgl it is hard to believe how an ISE could ever provide accurate and defensible data for the EA21. If an organisation was being prosecuted for a 1mgl spike in ammonium/ammonia, then it could obviously be argued that reading could be anywhere between -1 and 3mgl. We simply need a better and more reliable approach to measuring ammonia! That's all the bad news, is there any good news? In fact, there is and quite a lot; DEFRA are actively encouraging water companies to innovate and although the technical guidance released for the EA21 admits that ammonia measurement needs to be improved, DEFRA have released a more recent update (August 2023) which requests that water companies should utilise multiparameter instruments with 2 spare parameter ports to allow for future innovation. There is without doubt a massive requirement to provide more innovative water quality measurement. At this moment in time Proteus Instruments are the only company that can provide these extra 2 parameter ports; in fact, we can offer 6 spare ports! Furthermore, at the time of writing this, DEFRA/Innovate UK have released a funding call for innovation projects to improvement environmental monitoring instrumentation. This should also encourage water companies to adopt more innovative monitoring instrumentation for the purposes of the EA21. Although we at Proteus Instruments recognise that there are potentially more valid water quality measurement parameters than ammonia which include BOD, COD, TOC, E. coli and even phosphorous, we do acknowledge ammonium/ammonia is here to stay and as such this measurement technique simply needs significant improvement. As it stands, the OPEX burden of maintaining 20,000+ instruments with ammonium ISE's are mind-boggling and almost unjustifiable. Simple maths would indicate that 22,000 instruments would require a minimum of 12 visits per annum and assuming 4 instruments per day (per field team) that’s 5000 man-days per month, and that’s assuming no callouts. There is simply not the resource in the UK to achieve this, let alone the carbon footprint that it would create. Ultimately, we have to remember that this cost would be passed on to the consumer and our environment. So, this is clearly a situation that nobody is happy with except perhaps any potentially unscrupulous manufacturers or persons. The morally right thing is to innovate and provide a solution that is more accurate, improves reliability, reduces costs, builds trust with the public, minimises resources and reduces the carbon footprint. Figure 2: Ammonium River/CSO Mixing Concentrations Page 15
  • 16. Proteus Instruments are ahead of the game and have invested heavily in innovation since it was formed in 2018. With multiple world firsts, a Queens Awards for Enterprise: Innovation (2022) and pivotal contract wins, Proteus Instruments have now also released the world’s first optical instantaneous ammonium measurement technique for a sonde. Utilising a Proteus with multiple fluorometers, Proteus Instruments are able to provide high accuracy, highly stable ammonium measurement. Furthermore, the sensors will only require calibration once per annum saving water companies 90-95%% of their OPEX budget that would be associated with calibrating and maintaining ammonium. Overall, in any one year we estimate this single technological improvement will save a water company’s OPEX by 65%. Table 2 below demonstrates a typical calibration calendar for a multiparameter sonde. As you can see 12 visits are required for any NH4 ISE whereas only one visit is needed for optical NH4. If the move is made to optical it would ultimately mean that probes would only need 3-monthly visits due to pH. Hence, only 1 in 3 visits would be required using optical NH4 technology from Proteus. There is currently technology that would push out pH calibrations even further which has the potential to instigate a 6 or 12 month calibration run. The cost savings for this are significant but do not compare to the savings associated with extending NH4 calibrations from 1 month to 12 months. Month Calibrate NH4 Calibrate Optical NH4 Calibrate pH Calibrate Turbidity Calibrate Dissolved Oxygen 1 Yes - - - - 2 Yes - - - - 3 Yes - Yes - - 4 Yes - - - - 5 Yes - - - - 6 Yes (replace membrane) - Yes Yes - 7 Yes - - - - 8 Yes - - - - 9 Yes - Yes - - 10 Yes - - - - 11 Yes - - - - 12 Yes (replace membrane) Yes Yes Yes Yes Calibrations per annum 12 1 4 2 1 Let’s see just how much it would cost to run an optical system versus a conventional ISE system. We have utilised conservative costs based on an in-river solution; a kiosk-based system is likely to cost c.30% more in terms of CAPEX and also an increase in OPEX due to extra maintenance. Labour costs have been approximated to £250 per visit and each ISE based system requiring 2 replacement membrane caps per annum at £300ea. The table on the right simply demonstrates the savings that can be attained by utilising optical technology based on 20,000 installed units in England: Item Cost per unit Total CAPEX Total OPEX per annum Total OPEX Cost (10 Years) Total Cost Conventional ISE based sonde plus installation £15k £300 million £72 million £720 million £1,020 million Proteus Sonde and installation £20k £400 million £20 million £200 million £600 million Just by switching to an optical based system an estimated £420,000,000 could be saved within 10 years; that’s over £45million per water company or a 41% total life cost saving! This does not include any extra call outs that would be required to attend drifting or failed ISE sensors. Furthermore, it does not take into account the massive carbon saving associated with having to have 3 times more site visits than with an optical system. This aspect alone could in some minds even outweigh the actual financial savings of an optical system even further! What is obvious is that the operational costs far outweigh the purchase costs by 3:1 whereas the optical systems are only 1.5:1. The savings are quite stark and clearly questions why we are even looking to use sensors which are not designed for long-term performance. This fundamentally backs up DEFRA’s concerns of using ISEs and hence the call for innovation to revolutionise water quality monitoring; something we have been doing since 2018. What is particularly exciting is that this is only really the start; it is hoped that innovation and technology will provide even more accurate and reliable forms of measurement, reducing costs even further. One thing is for sure, we must embrace innovation and not stick to out-dated forms of measurement. How good is optical? For optical measurement, just how good is it . . . below is a calibration curve showing 1988 stable ammonium readings (proven by interim calibrations) versus the Proteus’s optical output. Clearly it is possible to see that the correlation is incredibly robust although we always recommend undertaking a local site calibration to confirm or optimise the readings. This can be done effortlessly by utilising a good quality ammonium ISE to record data simultaneously for a couple of days. The Proteus then learns and provides an optical measurement utilising multiple fluorescence sensors and a turbidity sensor. Unlike an ISE, the sensors then only need to be calibrated once per year. Although other sensors such as pH will need 3-monthly calibrations, this reduces the number of site visits required by 66%. Furthermore, replacement membranes and associated callouts will be a thing of the past. Below is a graph showing 6 weeks of continuous 15 min data. Page 16
  • 17. Shortly after calibration an event triggers a very small amount of drift which is maintained throughout the deployment. Upon calibration (11th October) the ISE is recalibrated and completely agrees with the optical ammonium sensor. Although these are relatively low levels of ammonium in this example, typical drift is often far greater. This data really exemplifies the accuracy and repeatability that optical measurement can bring. With optical measurement water companies and regulators will get accurate, more meaningful and more defensible data. More importantly optical ammonium will provide water companies with a reliable means to achieve the aims of the EA21 but it also comes with other great advantages; 1. Sensor life is in excess of 10 years unlike ISE's (<5years). 2. Optical ammonium can measure significantly lower than ISE's. 3. Can be used in environments where ISE's cannot be used such as marine or more saline waters. 4. Not prone to the interferents that ISE's are acknowledged with. There are clearly a whole multitude of reasons to use optical measurement over ISE-based measurement but if we are to be realistic about achieving the aims of the EA21 then we need to innovate now. Installing 22,000 ISE sensors from any manufacturer(s) would be the equivalent of driving towards a cliff edge at a rate of knots. As yet we have not mentioned anything regarding standards of installation or calibration; there is also a fundamental need to provide repeatability across installations and calibrations. Although there is some discussion about this, there will need to be some degree of flexibility in this, but ultimately will need a consultation with all manufacturers to incorporate best practice in a national installation and calibration standard. If we don’t, then when the monitored networks get too big to manage and the data quality is so poor, there will ultimately be a significant backlash from water companies, regulators and the public questioning how is this sustainable or in fact trustworthy. With such an obvious outcome it is necessary to innovate now rather than later. Right now, there are great solutions available that will provide better and more cost-effective data. Those who adopt innovation, will reap the rewards by having maintainable water quality networks with good defensible data; those who don’t will have networks that will descend into chaos and without doubt have significant interactions with environmental regulators, shareholders and the public. Figure 3: Calibration Plot ISE vs Optical Figure 4: NH4 ISE vs Optical Dataset with minor ISE drift Page 17
  • 18. Case Study: The use of generative AI in utilities: A case study of DEWA Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) across all its services and operations. DEWA invests in advanced infrastructure to accelerate digital transformation, enhance the happiness of stakeholders, and provide digital services that support sustainability while reducing our carbon footprint. “We are working tirelessly to achieve the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to position Dubai at the forefront of utilising AI in the government sector. We are prepared for future technological transformations and substantial changes in government work. We keep pace with the accelerating advancements in various fields, especially AI. We work to develop DEWA’s digital channels using the latest disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in line with the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031. We started using AI in 2017 and are working to enrich DEWA’s services with generative AI and ChatGPT. DEWA is the world’s first utility and government organisation in the UAE to use this modern technology. This is part of DEWA’s continuous efforts to enhance its leadership locally and globally, add value to customers, employees, and stakeholder experience and promote their happiness. DEWA achieved the second place in the 2023 Dubai Government Customer index with 90.1% by the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP), which belongs to The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA. “We utilise AI in all our services and operations to reduce the number of visits to our customer happiness centres and contribute to shaping a new digital future for Dubai through Digital DEWA, the digital arm of DEWA. We aim to make DEWA the first digital utility in the world with autonomous systems for renewable energy and storage, with the expansion of AI and digital services. The smart adoption of DEWA’s services reached 99.62% in 2023. DEWA has completed the digital integration of more than 90 projects with over 65 government and private organisations,” added Al Tayer. DEWA has provided its employees with the smart assistants Microsoft 365 Copilot and Microsoft Security Copilot, making it the first government entity in the UAE to adopt this advanced technology from Microsoft. DEWA is among the first utilities in the world to adopt Microsoft’s Copilot. Copilot's features are powered by generative Artificial Intelligence technology. It enriches the employee experience, facilitates the performance of their tasks, automates workflow, and strengthens cooperation between work teams, in addition to saving effort and time. Copilot’s features can be modified to suit each individual employee and to meet their growing needs while ensuring smoother operations. This also helps to keep pace with new and accelerating requirements, anticipate challenges, and turn them into promising opportunities. These features align with the highest standards of privacy and security followed by DEWA as it implements AI service protection technologies. Rammas DEWA started using ChatGPT in April 2023 on its website and smart app through Rammas, DEWA’s virtual employee supported by AI, to enhance customers’ experience. ChatGPT improves Rammas’ ability to learn, understand, and analyse customer enquiries based on available data and information to respond promptly and accurately. Since the end of April and until December 2023, Rammas, supported by this advanced technology, has answered more than 138,600 queries through DEWA’s website and smart app. Customer happiness towards Rammas’ services supported by ChatGPT has reached 95%. Since its inception in the first quarter of 2017, Rammas has responded to over 8.5 million enquiries. Rammas services are available round the clock in Arabic and English through DEWA’s website, its smart app, Facebook, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, robots, and WhatsApp Business. DEWA is the first government organisation to Page 18
  • 19. launch Rammas in Arabic and English. High Water Usage Alert The proactive High-Water Usage Alert service helps customers detect leakage in water connections after the meter. The system sends instant notifications to the customer if there is an unusual increase in consumption. Smart Living Through the Smart Living dashboard, DEWA enables customers to monitor their consumption and obtain annual, monthly and daily consumption reports. ‘My Sustainable Living Programme’ allows customers to compare their consumption with those of similarly efficient homes in their area and get customised tips to reduce waste. Through the ‘Away Mode’ service, they can receive daily and weekly email reports when they are not at home, activate the service, or travel. The Self-Assessment tool includes a survey for customers to assess their consumption. After completing the assessment, customers receive a detailed report on their usage. DEWA Store provides a reliable list of technical service providers in the event of internal faults in the building. Customers can also benefit from the exclusive discounts on DEWA Store to make their homes smart. Smart Response DEWA offers the Smart Response Service for electricity and water technical notifications in 5 different languages. The Smart Response Service includes several features that empower customers, such as early self-diagnosis of technical interruptions in homes; and reducing the necessary steps to deal with complaints and follow-ups, while resolving issues through DEWA’s smart app and website. This provides a better experience and a more efficient service to customers. The service has reduced the number of steps to fix interruptions from 10 steps to 1. Customer Care Centre DEWA, through its Customer Care Centre, provides a consistent, integrated, and seamless experience for customers, enabling them to complete their transactions anytimeand anywhere. The integrated interactivedigital centreincludes a unified and advanced information base that enables employeesto respond to customer enquiries faster and more accurately. It also contains a dynamic list supported by AI so that employees can identify the caller’s account and communication records between the two sides. DEWA resolved 100% of customer complaints in 2023. DEWA’s Customer Care Centre set an outstanding service quality level of 96.72%, and maintained an average speed of answering calls in just 13 seconds. Cyber Defence Centre The Cyber Defence Centre at DEWA uses AI and Big Data to detect potential security risks and reduce incident response time. In 2023, DEWA in collaboration with Moro Hub, a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, inaugurated its Cyber Security Innovation Lab, the Waee Cybersecurity Centre, and Identity Intelligence Centre. This enhances the integrated protection for all stakeholders against cybersecurity risks and ensures secure access to DEWA’s cyberspace, especially with the acceleration of digital transformation at DEWA and its wide adoption of smart technologies. Robotic Process Automation The project works to automate business processes using AI to reduce repetitive and routine tasks. The RPA includes several initiatives such as the automation of server vulnerability status updates, data caching service monitoring of DEWA’s virtual AI employee, work clearance application (WCA) process, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Monitoring System, Bank Guarantee Statement (bank offers), and Domain Naming System (DNS) Scanning. Distribution Asset Criticality Ranking (DACR) This system uses AI to digitise the criticality ranking of energy distribution assets for 34,000 transmission substations. Automated Power Restoration Application The app automatically locates the technical fault, isolates the affected network sections, reconfigures the network and restores the electrical supply automatically and without human interaction. GT Intelligent controller The Digital Twin Gas Turbine (GT) Intelligent Controller uses thermodynamics, AI, and machine learning to control gas turbines at M-Station in Jebel Ali, the largest power generation and water desalination plant in the UAE. It improves turbine efficiency, increases generation capacity, and reduces fuel consumption and harmful emissions. AI Procurement in a Box toolkit DEWA collaborated with the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE), to launch AI Procurement in a Box toolkit. The toolkit provides advanced mechanisms for government procurement of AI technologies. Power Block app DEWA and Siemens have started a project to develop the smart Power Block app for the power station as a prototype on a larger scale. The app depends entirely on AI techniques as well as modern thermodynamic science. One-Way Data System Page 19
  • 20. DEWA has received an international patent for its One-Way Data System, which was designed and implemented internally to ensure the security of data transmission from power and desalination stations to a shared platform. This builds a knowledge base for decision-makers, enabling them to access data through smart devices. Smart Power Plant DEWA’s Smart Power Plant is a centralised information system that automatically gathers data from control systems in real-time and is capable of functions such as watering plants using the One-Way Data Device. The operational system is clear and comprehensive, allowing quick analysis and fast decision-making to improve performance and prevent potential mishaps. Forecast PV Panel Production System The system relies on modern technologies such as 3D cloud systems, AI, deep learning, high-density cameras on the main satellite and a network of metrological stations to predict irradiance, dust, and cloud movement, which can affect PV performance. Water Smart Distribution Management System The system aims to increase the visibility and management of its water distribution network. It has a centralised around-the-clock system for remote control and monitoring, as well as innovative smart equipment and systems. It also uses Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) installed at interconnections between the transmission and distribution pipelines. In addition, it is linked with advanced water SCADA (Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition) and hydraulic-management systems. The system will improve fault location and isolation, and lower costs. Copilot Smart Assistant DEWA has adopted Microsoft Power Platform and its AI-powered tool Copilot, to enhance DEWA’s digital transformation. Copilot will assist software developers at DEWA in building smart programmes and applications that support DEWA’s operations more smoothly and efficiently by utilising generative AI tools. Asset Performance Management The app manages key equipment at the Jebel Ali Power Plant and Water Desalination Complex using AI and cloud platforms. Operation and Strategic Planning Improving System The system is used to manage operational performance. It was developed using data science to improve the performance of the power generation units and thus improve efficiency. Simulator and Training Centre The centre enhances the capabilities of engineers and technicians at DEWA. It enables trainees to experience real-life conditions and provides them with the skills needed for dealing with different circumstances. Spot Robot DEWA uses the four-legged Spot Robots to detect faults, test connection points of high-voltage cables, detect leakage in water pipes, conduct security and monitoring patrols, create 3D maps and digital twins, ensure construction works are aligned with specifications using multiple-angle cameras, and manage different facilities such as warehouses, in addition to helping people of determination. Industrial Arm DEWA uses the Industrial Arm Robot to clean the surface of low-voltage electrical equipment, painting and welding operations and for cleaning equipment and valves. What the case study of the Dubai Electricity and Water authority shows is that with the right investment and the drive towards using Digital Tools can achieve if the right applications are thought of. Page 20
  • 21. Case Study: The value Of trustworthy data The City of Westminster implemented a new mobile app that reduces manual data entry and streamlines workflows as the water utillities crews often juggle siloed technologies to manage specialized work activities, from valve maintenance and inspections to hydrant repair and flushing. Lauren Walcott is always seeking new ways to streamline work and maximize resources for the City of Westminster, Colorado. She works as the infrastructure asset management coordinator for the Department of Public Works and Utilities, which manages 33,000 metered accounts for 112,000 people within the city for water, potable water, wastewater, and reclaimed water. That entails complex workflows for water treatment and wastewater treatment, as well as field operations. The Westminster field crews were already using E.H. Wachs valve exerciser to operate valves when the city adopted Cityworks in 2019 as the asset management solution across the organization. “Crews were essentially getting a reading from E.H. Wachs that they had to hand type into Cityworks,” says Walcott. “They asked me if there was a way the two products could talk to each other. We learned that Cityworks and Trimble were offering an integration with E.H. Wachs that could automate existing workflows.” Implementing the Solution The solution was Trimble Unity Mobile for Cityworks, a new mobile application that improves end-to-end services, optimizes asset data collection, and manages workflows for water and wastewater utilities. The average age in the Westminster valve operations crew is 25 years old, and “they’re always down to try new technology and integrations,” says Walcott. “So, we jumped on board.” The app works seamlessly with Cityworks AMS, providing a plug-and-play solution for streamlined data collection and condition assessment workflows. On Windows devices, the app supports an integration with E.H. Wachs to eliminate the manual entry of valve exercising data and key performance indicators. It also helps simplify the amount of hardware carried by field crews. “This integration reduced the time previously spent hand typing and the human error of manual data entry,” says Walcott. “The tool assesses how much torque is being used and reads that right into the system, as well as number of turns and additional data about the valve.” Cityworks products and the new Trimble Unity Mobile app are built on a common platform of Esri technology, allowing users to access the same data across the entire Cityworks platform as well as in web maps, ArcGIS Dashboards, ArcGIS Insights and more. With this tight coupling of technology, field users and office users are able to view the data for infrastructure and workflows in real-time. The app supports high accuracy GPS positioning when integrated with Trimble GNSS receivers (Trimble R-series). This allows users to collect accurate location data at the same time they are performing mandatory inspections—saving time and personnel resources while improving the quality of the organization’s geodatabase. Adding Trimble Unity Remote Monitoring (RM) also enables field technicians to manage and install Telog IoT devices to help organizations monitor asset performance data in the field. Walcott also likes that Trimble Unity Mobile for Cityworks can work offline in areas within the city without good cellular reception. Once the crew is back in network range, they can sync the data for immediate access in the Cityworks platform. Page 21
  • 22. Improving Data Quality Organizations that use the integrated solution report as much as 30 to 40 percent improvement in operational efficiencies. For example, Trimble Unity Mobile for Cityworks has made Walcott’s system administrator duties easier. “Any time there’s a pre-canned integration like this with existing software, I don’t have to spend time installing new products or making some other external system talk to Cityworks,” she says. “It’s a win for me because it’s more of a ‘deploy and go’ solution. It minimizes the overhead. We have other integrations that aren’t that way. It’s a lot more work making sure things stay up to date and still communicate. When integrations are part of the Cityworks system, I can spend time on other innovations or workflows instead of keeping everything together with duct tape.” Trueman Sanchez, a utilities operator, explains that Trimble Unity Mobile for Cityworks is user-friendly. “We did one training session together and Lauren wrote up a cheat sheet. We never ran into any issues after that. This app makes things easier because we can now do all of our data entry and valve exercising from one spot instead of multiple interfaces,” says Mark Uhland, distribution maintenance team foreman." The ability for the utility to integrate digitization with the enterprise asset management system and GIS ensures valuable information is not lost. Data quality fuels more informed decisions on repair prioritization and capital planning. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees had to work independently rather than as crews to take pressure readings off of the hydrants. “When we dug into our hand-typed data, we found a lot of ‘guesstimating,’” notes Walcott. “Data is not helpful to us if we don't trust it—if we don’t think it’s accurate. Now with Trimble Unity Mobile for Cityworks we're more confident in our data and can make smarter decisions and better use of funding. Trustworthy data is a huge benefit. We put a lot of value in that.” South West Water to roll-out 6,000 leak detection devices to help fix leaks South West Water is rolling out innovative leak detection technology across the region in an effort to tackle customer leaks head-on. The water company will be sending out 6,000 LeakBots to customers in Devon and Cornwall next month as part of a trialled approach to reduce leaks. The trial will run for six months and, if successful, could be rolled out more widely. LeakBots are smart devices which help identify internal leaks within customers’ properties. The LeakBot device can be clipped onto a water pipe near the customer’s internal stop tap and detect if there is a constant flow of water within the property, providing an instant alert to the customer’s smartphone. David Harris, South West Water’s Drought and Resilience Director, said: “We’re always looking at new and innovative ways of reducing leakage across the region, alongside more traditional methods. With around 30% of leaks now typically found on customers’ own properties, we really need the help of our customers. LeakBot will enable customers to detect leaks so that they can be fixed quicky. We’re excited to see the impact LeakBot will have.” The trial is part of South West Water’s work to reduce leaks in the area and is part of a new campaign to support customers in becoming more water efficient. South West Water is finding and fixing more leaks than ever before – around 2,000 per month - and utilising innovative techniques including using satellites to find water leaks two metres underground, drone pilots to cover hard to reach places across Dartmoor and Exmoor, and detection dogs to find leaks in challenging terrain. Craig Foster, Chief Executive Officer at Ondo, the company behind LeakBot, said: “Previous trials of LeakBot have achieved a 60% reduction in water leaks within the home. A roll-out with South West Water will allow us to help prevent unnecessary wastage through domestic leaks across the region. We look forward to working on the deployment of the initial 6,000 devices and seeing the results.” Page 22
  • 23. Water, Wastewater & Environmental Monitoring Conference & Exhibition Birmingham, UK 9th - 10th October 2024 WWEM is moving to the Birmingham NEC in 2024. Planning is still underway but the firm favourites like the Flow Forum, Instrumentation Apprentice Competition and the Learning Zone will be returning as well as some surprises. Watch this space for updates but what is sure that in its new home in Birmingham the WWEM Conference and Exhibition will be bigger than ever. Sensor for Water Interest Group Workshops The Sensors for Water Interest Group has moved their workshops for the foreseeable future to an online webinar format. The next workshops are 12th March 2024 - Sensing as a Service 23 April - Best Practice in Global Innovation Webinar 15th May - The Role of Sensors in Flood Resilience WEX Global 2024 Madrid - Spain 4th -6th March 2024 WEX Global occupies a unique place in the water conference calendar. Business meetings and conversations lie at the heart of WEX, along with the principle of ‘exchange’; the exchange of ideas and philosophies, of business cards, of solutions, and of methodologies, to form strong networks on which to build stronger relationships WWT Innovation & Smart Water Conference Birmingham, UK 14th March 2024 The WWT Innovation and Smart Water Conference returns to Birmingham to discuss Digital Transformation in the UK Water Industry as well as the innovation that is going to be necessary to face the challenges that the water industry will have to answer moving forward. Global Smart Water Metering & Intelligent Data Utilisation Congress London, UK 6th-7th March 2024 The Global Smart Water Metering & Intelligent Data Utilisation Congress is the world's premier global congress, designed to help water utilities develop faster and more efficient management systems, reflecting the true value of water and supply delivery targets. With numerous water utilities worldwide evaluating AMI trials and commencing smaller-scale roll-outs, there are resulting questions to answer: How can the industry quantify the tangible value and benefits of using more granular data? In a world bound by financial constraints, those deciding to choose AMI over AMR are confronted with another pressing question: is the ROI worthwhile? Page 23 Conferences, Events, Seminars & Studies Conferences, Seminars & Events 2023/4 Conference Calendar
  • 24. “One of the best events to meet the international community of innovators in the entire water cycle” – Dragan Savic, KWR Water Research Institute Join us at WEX Global 2024 4th -6th March, Madrid Spain WATER, ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE Integrated Solutions to Build a Water Positive Future WEX Global occupies a unique place in the water conference calendar. Business discussions and connections lie at the heart of WEX, along with the principle of ‘exchange’; the exchange of ideas, philosophies, business opportunities and methodologies to build the strong networks that will meet the challenges of the circular economy in mitigating climate change, achieving net zero and turbo-charging digital transformation. MEET-4-BUSINESS AT WEX GLOBAL The relaxed but business focused atmosphere at WEX Global offers the perfect environment to grow your international network. A busy timetable of both formal and informal networking events will present you with an array of opportunities to meet everyone that is important to you. Find out more and to book your place visit www.wex-global.com SPONSORS & PARTNERS