Connecting the dots: the role of data in driving operational efficiency and customer satisfaction

Blockages, overflows, leaks and burst pipes - these daily occurrences affect water utility operations, causing water service delivery disruption, financial loss, environmental impact and reputational risk.

2 min read
 

Connecting the dots: the role of data in driving operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Blockages, overflows, leaks and burst pipes - these daily occurrences affect water utility operations, causing water service delivery disruption, financial loss, environmental impact and reputational risk.

 

Although sewer and water networks have two different purposes, maintaining their ‘health’ to prevent blockages, bursts and leaks is a daily challenge all urban water utilities face.

Each year, sewer blockages cost the Australian urban water industry millions in remediation services. Previously, errant tree roots were the leading cause of damaged pipes. Now utilities must contend with all manner of wrongly disposed items and it’s wreaking havoc on sewer assets. Such blockages can significantly impact the whole functioning of the sewer network and often result in sewer spills - a negative consequence for customers and communities.

Likewise, water bursts and leaks can cause significant financial loss for utilities through emergency repairs and maintenance, and most importantly, loss of a precious resource. With pressurised water pipes, even a small crack can result in an important loss of water.  

Routine inspections can often be costly and ineffectual if they fail to identify a potential blockage or leak before it becomes an issue.

So, how can utilities optimise inspection and infrastructure management plans to ensure the ongoing supply of water and management of wastewater? While customer education is a key component for prevention and issues management, if a utility is not equipped with the right data it cannot ascertain where the next incident is likely to occur.

The answer therefore lies in data and analytics, delivered through insights and expertise.

Most water utilities have decades of various datasets, including asset information, SCADA data and work order history. Veolia believes the industry is greatly positioned to take advantage of this wealth of information with the implementation of machine-learning tools.

Quentin Bechet, Veolia Project Manager, says the opportunity is on the horizon for the municipal water industry.  

“Being able to predict sewer blockages and water bursts before they happen will be a game changer. Operations will move from a purely reactive to a proactive mode.”

Veolia is developing a research and development program to reduce the costs associated better manage operations on their water and sewer networks.

Speak to us today to find out how your utility can benefit from the application of machine-learning tools to better predict and prevent water service delivery interruptions.