BANGALORE: A state-of-the-art water management system, which can change how the water supply in the city is managed, is now ready for Bangalore.
Researchers at IISc in collaboration with IBM and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), presented the software at the 12th international conference on computing and control for the water industry in Italy. The proceedings have been published in the international journal of Procedia Engineering.
The authors are U Manohar and M S Mohan Kumar from the Department of Civil Engineering at IISc; Amit Merchant and P Vyas from IBM and P N Ravindra from BWSSB, stated a press note from IISc.
“In cities with complex water networks like Bangalore and Mumbai, incorporating smart networks can translate into huge savings in water, and as a consequence in revenue,” said Prof. Mohan Kumar.
Water supply relies on hundreds of valvemen. Due to the absence of a feedback mechanism, engineers at higher levels cannot effectively monitor valve settings followed by the valvemen and as a result, a lot of water may be wasted.
To facilitate the changeover to the new system, BWSSB has installed around 500 ultrasonic flow meters at critical points on the water network. Ultrasonic flow meters use sound waves to measure the velocity of a fluid flowing through the pipe and thus calculate the volume flow. They measure how many litres of water flow through in one second and also the total flow in that section since initialisation.
At stipulated time periods, the data is transmitted through mobile networks to a central server. Data transmission through the GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) is nearly free which aids in their widespread use, making real-time data more readily available from everywhere.
“The availability of real-time data means administrators at BWSSB do not have to wait for complaints to be lodged regarding disruption in water supply,” said Amit Merchant, another author. “When water level drops below a certain level, alarms will be sounded at appropriate wards and the problem can be rectified quickly. The responsive system will lead to easier management of water supply,” he said.
The software analyses data stored in the central server makes it available for end-users through web and mobile devices in a form that is easy to comprehend.
It uses data from the Water Information Hub (WIH), which is a centralised operation centre for water management containing a map with locations of flow meters in the city, as well as other relevant components of the water distribution system like major transmission pipes, sewerage pipelines, valves, manholes, overhead tanks and ground-level balancing reservoirs for the city, marked by administrative boundaries of division and sub-division.
There are two types of users who can access the WIH. A privileged user can change settings while providing access to users based on roles and responsibilities. A normal user, who is usually an executive engineer or an assistant engineer, can monitor the status of water supply in real time in the section of the city assigned to him. To do this, all he has to do is to switch on the computer and open the WIH.
WIH also helps in tracking the activity of valve men all over the city. If valve settings are mismanaged, the water flow data is available to the engineer for rectification in 24-hour format reports. They can also set the necessary thresholds for alarms to go off after determining the operating range of water flow in particular sections of the network.