Keynote Speech

WATERWISE is an organisation that focuses on achieving efficiency in water networks at all levels, from consumers, through to businesses and corporations and to government level.
The factors discussed in the keynote speech and some of the key points raised were:
Smart data
  • Utilities should pick "Smart" data over "Big Data". I.e. only collect data at resolutions that are useful.
  • People often underestimate the number of sensors already deployed - Water Companies already hold 1% of all data in Europe. Can better use be made of this data?
Optimised Networks
  • Do water companies have enough data to optimise their networks?
  • It is currently too costly to implement. So, focus must be made on making it cheaper. 
Information to Utilities
  • Need to consider what data utilities need.
  • Lots of data is already being collected, what utilities don't have are the Decision Support Tools. 
Information to customers
  • What data do customers want?
  • Do customers want live data – or just notifications that something is wrong? 
Outsourced and de-centralised water networks
  • This is a big research field for the future -this is where data is powerful.
  • Imagine the house of the future, not connected to mains or sewage. Consumers maintain their own supply – but role of utility would be as overseer (i.e. to manage water quality) and data manager.
  • This uses the citizen engineer concept – it empowers local people to maintain the network. Leaving local communities to maintain the network. Water Utiltiies just alert the communities to problems.
Security issues
  • As we become more and more connected we will see more stories about cyber terrorism.
  • There is security in place already. However, legacy SCADA systems are often weak points – providing possible back door access to the more advanced information systems that use their data. 
Water/Energy/Food Nexus
  • Often difficult situations are caused by lack of water. An example is when water levels fall too low, government had to make choice between energy and water. They chose water supply to towns, which meant that no water was going to power plants, so no energy to power water treatment works. They are all intrinsically linked.
  • Water networks will be less resilient to "shock" as more and more ICT is put in place to help manage networks.
  • Very interesting prospects for this technology.
  • One of the problems is these systems cannot be trailed on a large scale. 
Biological Systems
  • In the future, engineered bacteria will be used in the water sector. However, they are very site-specific and job-specific
  • ICT will be used to manage this i.e. it will be possible to monitor, and dose bacteria at specific points and specific times.
Jacob TOMPKINS also outlined what he views as the key successes that have originated from ICT4Water projects:
  • The reasons for project successes are not necessarily the project itself but the collaboration between networks, research organisations, etc. which leads on to other projects.
  • There has not been enough applied research in universities for the water utility (unlike for the energy networks)
Node of the Keynote Speech: Jacob TOMPKINS - Managing Director of Waterwise