Data Analytics For Water And Wastewater Utilities



Water and wastewater utilities are crucial to the fruition and progress of the communities in which we acquire a livelihood. In today’s economy, these utility sectors need to tighten their screws to get on the scale.

In the recent past, along with the evolving climate change, rising demands, and other critical problems, the aging of the water system’s infrastructure is one of the most underlying issues faced by water industry managers. This challenge has been battled with the aid of Data Analytics techniques.

Data Analytics is the process adopted by the water and wastewater utilities to ensure that the physical assets are timely repaired, replaced, or upgraded and the planned maintenance is timely conducted.

What Is Data Analyticst?

Physical assets such as pipes, pumps, tanks, valves, hydrants, wells, etc tend to retrograde with time, adding to the capital investment in their operations and maintenance.

In addition to this depreciation, utility operators are facing a challenge to maintain the optimum level of service and meet the rising demands of the customers.

Data Analytics is, therefore, a practice to manage the water infrastructure’s capital assets to cut down the total cost of maintaining and operating these assets while imparting the desired level of service to the customers.

Benefits Of Data Analytics Practices For Water & Wastewater Utilities

Water utility services need a wide range of assets to meet the desired level of operations for their distribution networks. Ranging from valves, generators, meters to large water mains, water utilities find it hard to manage their operational and financial aspects.

Data Analytics practices thus provide a plethora of benefits to these utility sectors to extend the life of assets and services. Here are some of the benefits of Data Analytics for water and wastewater utilities.

1. Escalate the service life of assets

Keeping up with the knowledge of the age, condition, and location of the assets is important and ensures efficient operations and financial forecasting. It, therefore, maximizes the serviceability of the assets for future use.

2. Conduct precautionary maintenance

Focusing on the maintenance of the assets that are likely to experience failure, Data Analytics practices help the utilities to increase the life of the water distribution systems.

3. Provide cost-effectiveness without sacrificing service levels

Data Analytics plans and practices make budgeting easier as it eliminates the concept of overlooking the water infrastructure which results in increased operational expenses.

4. Analysis of asset failure metrics

The first step to coping with the risks is to recognize them. Data Analytics plans help the utilities to identify the condition of the infrastructural assets and the costs associated with them. In fact, 74% of utility managers use asset failure metrics to determine the success of their Data Analytics practice.

5. Uphold the value of the asset

By managing the capital assets of the water infrastructure, the utility managers can curtail the cost of operating the assets so that there is enough money to perform the planned maintenance actions which could enhance the value of the assets.

6.Better focus on priorities

67% of Data Analytics practitioners reported that Data Analytics practices helped them focus on the priorities in a better way. The needs of the utility and the range of population it serves are one key element that is looked upon with Data Analytics practices.

Data Analytics As A Boon For Water Industry

Data Analytics for water and wastewater utilities is more complex as compared to other sectors because of various factors which include a variety of elements, number, age, location of assets, condition, the magnitude of asset, maintenance of the asset, operating investment, and much more.

The main objective of Data Analytics in water utility sectors is to eliminate these complexities and achieve long-term sustainability with increased life and value of the asset and cost-effectively deliver consistent and desired service.

With Data Analytics practices, water utility sectors can gear up their functional and operational aspects that include

  • Sustainable level of services
  • Lifecycle costing of their assets
  • Long-term funding strategy
  • Prioritize assets that are crucial for sustained performance
  • Improving existing assets

Apart from aiding the utility managers to make sustained decisions about repairing or replacing the assets, it can also help them develop a funding strategy for streamlined and smooth water utility services.

Triggers For Implementing Data Analytics Approach By Water Utility Sectors

For the utility managers, factors related to physical assets, financial savings, customer satisfaction, regulations, and workflow of the system are some of the major triggers that would lead them to use the Data Analytics approach.

Here are the statistics of the top triggers for Data Analytics implementation as reported by the utility respondents.

  • Aging infrastructure as reported by 75% of utility respondents.
  • Need to enhance system reliability, as reported by 39% of respondents
  • Understanding the metrics of asset failure and its consequences by 36% of respondents
  • Need to improve the level of service with reduced cost by 30% of respondents
  • Need to respond to regulatory requirements by 25% of respondents.
  • Potential financial savings by 45% of respondents
  • 53% of utility respondents with revenue of more than $100 million reports that needs to understand the risk of asset failure and its consequences as an important trigger as compared to 33% of respondents with revenue less than $100 million.
  • 32% of utility respondents serving the population of over 500,000 report that public scrutiny is an important trigger as compared to respondents serving less population.

Now since we know what is Data Analytics and what are the factors that lead towards the implementation of Data Analytics practices for water utilities, let us gain knowledge on Data Analytics softwares and how do they help to achieve sustainability.

The Effectiveness Of Using Water Data Analytics Softwares

With preventive maintenance and Data Analytics software for water, wastewater, stormwater, and floodwater utilities, providers can pick up the pace of the Data Analytics strategies to make them more reliable and successful.

These softwares are designed to help the utilities meet their Data Analytics goals such as

  1. Lifecycle planning and management
  2. Strict regulatory compliance
  3. Formation and management of work orders and schedules
  4. Effective risk management
  5. Development and monitoring for levels of service
  6. Infrastructure condition assessment
  7. Timely corrective maintenance and repair, and much more.

Some of the softwares that can help the utilities with Data Analytics include

  • MentorAPM
  • Cartegraph
  • Ziptility
  • Utility Cloud
  • Innovyze Software
  • Epicor ERP
  • Cority
  • IFS software

Nexus Waters, being the service-driven Data Analytics consultant believes that Data Analytics practices reduce the risk of asset failure, saves money, and improves the reliability of the system without hampering the serviceability.

The team at Nexus Waters is committed to providing the best services for Data Analytics of water by focusing on strategical planning and its implementation. It thus ensures to provide enduring operational efficiency with sustainable water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure.