Utilities Digital Solutions Europe

Anglian Water’s digital journey with Andy Smith

Monday, 20 December 2021

Andy Smith talks through Anglian Water’s digital journey with the ambition to drive innovation and transformation.

Improving customer and asset interaction

Digital tools and better quality data will ultimately help transform water utilities' businesses, and this year alone will help Anglian Water save £1.4 million in operation costs (OPEX).

That’s according to Andy Smith, smart water strategy manager at UK utility Anglian Water.

Speaking to Aquatech Online, he said: “We’re very conscious that digital will ultimately transform our business – the way we interact with our customers and our assets, including the people who work on those assets. Most importantly, it’s how we understand the data associated with those assets.”

The full video interview from our event in Amsterdam in November can be found below:

Joining datasets to drive benefits

Anglian Water is the largest water and wastewater in England and Wales geographically, covering 20 per cent of the land area.

It supplies over one billion litres of water per day to 2.5 million households and 110,000 businesses. Drinking water is sourced from a mixture of boreholes, reservoirs and rivers.

Smith believes that the quality and granularity of data now being generated from the network is helping to target improvements.

“The insight and resolution of data we’re getting we couldn’t imagine 10 years ago,” he said.

“The key is how we’re now joining these datasets and how we can drive additional insights and benefits.”

The utility and its partners recently secured funding from England and Wales regulator, Ofwat, as part of its Water Breakthrough Challenge.

“The insight and resolution of data we’re getting we couldn’t imagine 10 years ago.”

Smith outlined how combining leakage and pressure sensors is helping to identify where large consumers of water are causing issues with transients in the network.

“We’re now able to pinpoint exactly where those transients are being generated from, interact with that customer and calm our network down,” he added.

Direct OPEX savings

The smart water strategy manager claims that digital developments have helped the organisation save £1.4 million in operating costs this year alone.

Earlier this year, the utility revealed how implementing advanced analytics capability through a Digital 'Business' Twin led to operational savings of £2 million annually.

He references one example of condition-based monitoring on pump assets. While providing insights on the pump activity and whether the asset is fit for purpose, it has led to energy optimisation opportunities.

“Some of our infrastructure is over 100 years old – it doesn’t mean it’s the poorest performing infrastructure.”

When asked how far these savings can be taken, Smith added: “There’s a need for an open mind on where it can go. The insights that we can get enable us to understand the problems within our existing network fully.

“Some of our infrastructure is over 100 years old – it doesn’t mean that’s the poorest performing infrastructure, so we can really target where we make an investment, rather than a wholesale approach. We can build in risk and think about the sustainability of those assets as well.”

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