The technician is twisting the valves to see if it is open or not, and then Jonas compares it to the models calculations.
The technician is twisting the valves to see if it is open or not, and then Jonas compares it to the models calculations.

As a part of the LEAKman project, Ph.D.-student Jonas Kjeld Kirstein is working on a project about how utilities can use temperature data for smarter operations.

As of now, most water utilities do not use temperature data from the distribution network for other purposes than ensuring the quality of the drinking water. However, Jonas wants to make the temperature data even more useful.

Temperature data – a water multitool

Imagine that you have a tool – a hammer for instance. You use it for hammering nails in, and nothing else, but little did you know that it can also be used as a crowbar in the other end of the hammers head. This knowledge could save you time and walks to the toolbox.

The temperature data from the distribution network is a bit like this hammer. It is in most cases only used for water quality assurance, even though it could have several purposes that could benefit the utilities. Jonas Kjeld Kirstein wants to bring that benefit out in the light.

The model points out errors in the current system

“The water temperature is changing on its way from the utilities and to the consumer. I simulate that part, compare it with real measurements and then I use the information for optimising the operation of the utility’s network,” says Jonas Kjeld Kirstein.

“For instance, at the moment I work on a model, that can determinate whether valves are closed or open and even where they are placed which can be a very time-consuming task,” he adds.

So with this model, the utilities will save money, but the model isn’t done yet. However, it has already made Jonas aware of errors in the present hydraulic models that some utilities use. He elaborates:

“This information is crucial when it comes to pollution incidents because the errors cause an incorrect picture of how the water flows in the system.”

Keep track of your water data

Jonas does not believe that just putting sensors on everything will solve all problems for water utilities.

“Currently, there is a tendency in the water utility sector towards installing a large number of sensors. However, nobody is actually looking at or analysing a great part of the collected data, and this fact entails a large amount of errors that prevail for long periods in the data sets,” Jonas tells.

Instead of wasting the potential of data-driven knowledge the LEAKman project keeps track of and uses the data to optimise the water management. This benefits the utilities as well as consumers – the smarter the management, the better service for the households.

Future temperature data purpose

If the data is being kept track of, then maybe in the future it can become a useful tool for guiding utilities towards finding the optimal locations to collect water quality samples.
“For example, if we can see that the temperature is always higher in one area than in another, maybe it would be a good place to take a closer look here,” says Jonas.