At one stage Empresa Portuguesa das Águas Livres (EPAL), the oldest water utility company in Portugal, was facing a non-revenue water (NRW) volume of 40 million cubic metres across the city, totalling an annual loss of €25 million.
Águas de Portugal then applied its Water Optimization for Network Efficiency (WONE) solution. This included data management for over 160 district metered areas (DMAs), system alarm & alert management and also leakage assessment & target setting.
Cláudio Jesus added: “The result saw the development of a tool to reduce leakage from 25 per cent down to 9 per cent today. This led to a saving of over 160 million euros from an investment of less than €10 million.”
Data rich, information poor
During his presentation, Cláudio Jesus referenced a phrase that is often used to describe many water utilities and operations: “data rich but information poor”.
Explaining this further, he said: “You need to measure before you manage. If you don’t have good information, you don’t make good management decisions for sure.
“So for example, we developed another tool and we managed to eliminate thousands of sheets of paper. And now all of our shareholders have the same information in real time we have on the discharge of wastewater and quality of potable water.”
The system referenced is called Engineering Knowledge Integration, or ENKI for short. Classed as a Data integration pathway, this is in effect a single platform that allows information integration and management, legal reporting and knowledge sharing with stakeholders.
Some of the main achievements of AdP’s ENKI system include aggregating data of more than 10,000 productive assets belonging to AdP Utilities across Portugal and internationally.
Furthermore, more than 1300 wastewater treatment discharge permits are managed through standard automated routines, with “great improvement of speed and reliability of legal reporting procedures”.
He added that this information circulates in real time and helps operational teams and management teams make informed decisions.
Commenting on who this compares to data elsewhere, he said: “Since data is scattered across multiple platforms, much of it cannot be reused beyond the primary purpose for which it was collected. It is not used or ever transformed into information that supports real-time decision-making.”
About Águas de Portugal Group
Águas de Portugal Group comprises multiple utilities serving 80 per cent of the Portuguese population.
Over 20 years it created 12 different water supply and sanitation regional utilities to serve eight million people.
Internationally, the AdP Group has activities in countries including Angola, Algeria, Brazil, Cape Verde, Morocco, Mozambique and others.