Event Management and Event Response Planning for Smart Water Networks
Date: 18 October 2021
University of Exeter
Doctor of Philosophy in Water Informatics Engineering (WISE CDT)
The water industry in the UK and worldwide has a pressing need to better manage interruptions to water supply caused by various failure events, such as pipe bursts, equipment failures or water treatment work shutdowns. One way of doing this is by making use of the increasingly available real-time sensor data collected in water distribution ...
The water industry in the UK and worldwide has a pressing need to better manage interruptions to water supply caused by various failure events, such as pipe bursts, equipment failures or water treatment work shutdowns. One way of doing this is by making use of the increasingly available real-time sensor data collected in water distribution systems, as well as by using hydraulic models in real-time. Currently, real-time sensor data and real-time hydraulic modelling are not used much in a water utility’s control room, especially when it comes to identifying a suitable strategy to respond to failure events in near real-time. This PhD project aims to develop, test/validate and demonstrate a new response methodology to support decisions made by control room operators when dealing with various failure events in a water distribution system. An integral part of this work is to develop an interactive decision-support tool, which will guide/support operators in identifying an effective response solution in near real-time (i.e. usually required up to 1 hour after the event detection/localisation if unforeseen events in the field are not considered). The tool will be used in this thesis to test and validate the response methodology. The proposed response methodology considers: (i) structured yet flexible approach supporting and guiding the operator throughout the entire response process to water network failure events, whilst allowing the operator to have a final say; (ii) novel interaction with the operator in near real-time via the proposed tool (e.g. allowing operators to propose different ‘what-if’ scenarios without being hydraulic experts); (iii) provision of automatically generated advices (e.g. near optimal response solutions via a novel heuristic algorithm and assessed end-impacts); and (iv) improved impact assessment. An integral part of the response methodology is the development of a novel method to identify near optimal response to failures in water distribution networks. The response problem is formulated as a two-objective optimisation problem with objectives being the minimisation of failure impacts and related operational costs. The heuristic-based method is developed and used to solve this problem. For the first objective (i.e. impact assessment), a new impact assessment method is developed, using realistic impact indicators that cover different aspects of the event - which are consistently calculated for every proposed response solution (to facilitate easy comparison between different response solutions). The response methodology was tested, validated and demonstrated on a semi-real case study. The implementation of the response methodology via the tool enabled operators to identify a response solution better (i.e. with lower end-impact and cost) than the solution based on the current response practice of utilities. The results obtained from this case study, demonstrate that the response methodology works well and that it has a potential to improve water utilities’ current practice. The heuristic optimisation method that is integral part of the response methodology was validated and demonstrated on two semi-real case studies. Based on the results obtained it can be concluded that the heuristic-based method works well (i.e. it is reliable and robust) and is able to identify near optimal response solutions in a computationally fast manner. This, in turn, enables this method to be used in near real-time in real-life situations.
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