What is a water balance calculation and what does the water balance tool do?
The clean water network and the sewage network often have repair debt brought due to aging network and leak water amount is high. This wastes the pumping stations and water plant's resources when the drinking water produced leaks from the pipes to the ground, or rain water enters the sewers, thereby reducing the cost-effectiveness of the water plant's operations. This may also lead to higher customer charges for water users in the longer term.
In KeyAqua, the water balance calculation tool can be used to calculate the water balance based on geographic areas, which allows various leakage water analyzes to be performed.
Image: Water balance calculation takes into account water that flows into the area, out of the area and water consumption within the area. Tool helps to indicate leak water amounts and to compare different areas.
For example, in a wastewater network, the network is divided into regional pumping circuits, and meter readings between these areas indicate the amount of wastewater entering and leaving each area on an hourly basis. The difference between these readings is the amount of wastewater produced in the area over a period of time, and when compared to the water consumption measured at the same time by the meters at the sites in the area, the amount of leakage can be estimated.
The tool can also be used to examine the effect of water that has fallen on the area over a period of time, ie to assess whether rainwater is leaking into the sewer. This, of course, requires the use of regional precipitation data retrieved from the services of the local meteorological service. The functionality also includes a separate form for reviewing ‘raw readings’, i.e. flows. The hourly measurement results of the producers of different measurement readings can be retrieved on the form as a time series in the graph.
How the development of water balance tool started and why?
For me as an app developer, water balance calculation was a new topic in 2017 when it began to be implemented in the KeyAqua information system. It was really nice to get to do such extensive functionality and the very idea of being able to monitor water flows in almost real time and thus assess the condition of the network. Project was and still is interesting.
Even at that time, it was also clear to the developer that these ideas had been matured and worked on for some time. For example, I had seen a few attempts in the past to import regional precipitation data as levels into KeyAqua. Then, I noticed that we are making a separate well-designed tool for calculating the water balance into the system.
How will the water balance calculation tool change with the Smart Water project in 2022?
Until now, the water balance calculation has been technically linked to the data provided by only one automation system, but with the ongoing Smart Water project, the calculation can be made on the basis of data from other producers. In the Smart Water project, the user interface has also been made clearer and more intuitive, and with the help of user feedback we have tried to increase the ease of use of the tool anyway. For example, from the daily flow analysis to the time interval analysis, i.e. instead of the results of one day, the results of the previous week or month can be retrieved on the form conveniently using checkboxes.
A comparison panel has been added to the form, where you can open the first searched areas at the touch of a button, for example with the results of different time periods, and thus the comparison is successful without having to search for areas on the form again and again.
It has been interesting to learn all sorts of new topics and be involved in developing an even better tool for water professionals to calculate their water balance.
How do you think it should be developed in the future to make it even more useful?
Due to, for example, different measurement methods for meters between regions, the water balance calculated for the region is always an estimate and this estimate can always be refined. The amount of water consumed in the area is also currently based on the sum calculated from the annual consumption estimates of the consumption points in the area, and as remote sensing becomes more common, the amount should be calculated more directly directly from the measurement results over time.
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