Water Supply Systems (WSS) are large-scale systems that collect, store, treat and transport water over wide geographical areas to consumers. WSS can have major environmental impacts relating to the substantial amounts of energy consumed, the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) and water leakages. Furthermore, energy consumed by the WSS sector is mostly generated from non-renewable sources. Water savings translate to energy saving, but current control systems are designed to deliver water, not to provide water efficiently. Moreover, water network management is very much based on the traditional ways of working of utility companies, rather than the implementation of efficiency technologies. Water utilities thus face a challenge of both saving water and energy.
The LIFE SWSS project aimed to demonstrate and disseminate an innovative management and decision-support platform for water supply systems, namely the Smart Water Supply System. The SWSS platform would be composed of five modules ? predictive, hydraulic simulation, assessment, leakage and optimization ? that together support the water companies in their efforts to improve energy efficiency and water efficiency. The SWSS modules would be based on previous developments from consortium partners of the project, which would be integrated into a single platform. Three demonstration water supply systems [águas do Algarve (AdA) and Empresa Portuguesa das águas Livres (EPAL) Centre and West] would implement the project platform under real working conditions. At these three sites, the objective would be to reduce energy consumption, GHG emissions and water leakage by implementing the SWSS platform and the reverse-pump for energy recovery (renewable energy) in gravity systems.
The LIFE SWSS project produced a platform for water supply systems, the Smart Water Supply System (SWSS), based on five integrated modules: predictive module, hydraulic simulation module, assessment module, leakage module and optimisation module. The SWSS platform is a decision-support platform that aims to facilitate the daily management of water supply systems, incorporating several tools for online system monitoring, calculating water and energy balances, predicting demand, optimising the pumps schedule and identifying leakages in the network.
Three pilot water supply systems belonging to águas do Algarve (AdA) and Empresa Portuguesa das águas Livres (EPAL) were selected to demonstrate the SWSS platform operation due to their distinctive characteristics and level of instrumentation. Its implementation at these three demonstration sites showed the platform?s potential in terms of energy savings, thus reducing GHG emissions along with energy costs. At the AdA site, results from the optimisation module showed potential energy savings of up to 25%, while at two of EPAL's pumping stations, improvements led to a reduction in energy consumption of 715,623 kWh/year, according to on-site surveys.
The platform is an innovative solution and a relevant tool for supporting water companies in their efforts to improve energy and water efficiency. The optimisation module is unique and therefore will be of great interest to utility companies.
The beneficiaries are currently analysing the feasibility of up-scaling the platform. The SWSS platform can be implemented in existing water supply systems across the EU. Guidelines for its implementation were drawn up and include measures on how other water utility companies can replicate the procedure. The guidelines incorporate the lessons learnt from the platform?s application at the three case studies.
The project contributes to energy and water supply targets outlined in the EU?s 2020 Climate and Energy Package, as well as the Water Framework Directive, which addresses water-resource efficiency and water losses. It is also relevant for other European energy and environmental policy.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).