Advances in infrastructure monitoring help utilities harness real-time data and insights from water supply and wastewater remote assets
Beneath Canadian streets and homes lies an unseen threat: aging water infrastructure.
As communities densify and aging water infrastructure is subjected to extreme weather, municipalities face growing challenges to their ability to prepare and respond. Systems for both clean water supply and wastewater represent a growing area of risk and rising costs.
Strained systems require more vigilance for monitoring and maintenance of components, which can tax both budgets and labour resources. What’s more, non-revenue water (NRW) from leaks costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year and reduces service pressure for customers. In fact, a 2020 study by the York Region in Ontario found NRW accounted for 16% of all water demand in 2019.1 A report in Calgary noted a similar rate of water loss due to leakage.2
But this not just a big city problem. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen in BC,3 and Portugal Cove St. Philip’s4 in Newfoundland have also identified NRW as an area of concern.
Wastewater systems also struggle as civic and higher rainfalls send greater amounts of water through existing systems—threatening to flood property while damaging the environment and community trust alike.
In Winnipeg, $1.8 billion in capital investment requirements have been identified for water and wastewater projects by 20295, while in Quebec, federal and provincial governments have committed more than $635 million to upgrade water.
These risks can be managed and mitigated, but infrastructure upgrades take time and planning—not to mention significant capital investment. In the meantime, there are opportunities today to monitor and respond to areas of concern, while also acquiring the data you need to target renewal efforts to areas that need it most.
Identify problems upstream
Proactively identifying potential points of concern before they fail pays dividends, but having crews make regular visits for manual physical inspections and data gathering takes these resources away from your other projects.
Fortunately, technology solutions now provide real-time water supply and wastewater infrastructure monitoring and data capture. By remotely collecting and interpreting data from the field, municipalities get the accurate, near real-time information they need for early identification, rapid decision-making and resource prioritization.
Small package, big potential
Compact, ruggedized (and waterproof) sensors can now be easily installed throughout water supplies and wastewater systems. These gather data on sewer levels, pipe pressure, reservoirs, control valves and supply tanks. Securely connected to the Rogers networks, the sensors transmit in near real-time—providing data that’s processed and visualized on intuitive dashboards with alerts and notifications.
The ability to actively monitor field assets transforms how utilities operate. With the right information and insights, they can utilize personnel and budget more efficiently, helping to reduce spending and prevent costly damage.
In water distribution networks, smart water monitoring solutions enable you to optimize pressurization and reduce leaks and NRW losses.
For wastewater systems, you can keep an eye on sewer levels to prevent overflow events, detect odors emitted by corrosive gases and manage critical events at lift stations such as pump failures.
Trust through transparency
Smart water solutions come with the added benefit of flexible data architectures. These not only help you visualize it on a web-based dashboard, for instance, but also utilize SCADA solutions to integrate with third-party software, models, analytics, and business intelligence solutions.
Remote monitoring puts you in a stronger position to identify and address incidents quickly to minimize costly property damage and reduce environmental impacts. What’s more, trend analysis can help you proactively model where the next incidents are likely to occur—so you can prioritize your work. Finally, there is a larger opportunity, as well: through data collection from remote field assets, you get information and insights to inform citizens of conservation efforts, upgrades to water systems, and resolve public health concerns.
Visible improvements to water management
Utilities face the difficult position of success being largely invisible—it’s only when things go wrong that they get noticed.
To keep on top of growing operational challenges and head off potential issues, utilities must harness everything at their disposal to accurately prioritize system maintenance and replacements. As technology advances, it’s becoming clear that visual inspections and on-site field data collection have their limits—and that new solutions now exist monitor status of water infrastructure in near real-time.
Building smarter communities
Rogers empowers cities to do more with less. With access to best-in-class technology partners, Canada’s most reliable and trusted network6 and our team of dedicated Smart City experts, Rogers can help you optimize city infrastructure and operational efficiency. Our solutions can seamlessly integrate with your existing systems to deliver real-time insights so you can make meaningful decisions.
1 2020 Long Term Water Conservation Strategy Annual Report, The Regional Municipality of York, Environmental Service Department, March 2020
2 Water Use and Conservation in the Calgary Metropolitan Region Study, Calgary Metropolitan Region Board, October 2019
“Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Water Conservation Strategy” 14 November 2017 https://www.rdos.bc.ca/assets/Uploads/20190508RDOSRegionalConservationStrategyNov14-2017.pdf
5 City of Winnipeg 2020 Infrastructure Plan, December 2019
6 Rogers was ranked first in the umlaut Mobile Data Performance audit in major Canadian cities in Q4, 2020. Visit www.umlaut.com/en/benchmarking/canada; most trusted based on total wireless subscribers.