Total global water demand is expected to rise by 35?60% between 2000 and 2025, and could then double by 2050. Water scarcity already affects at least 11% of the European population and 17% of EU territory. Adding to this problem, some 30% of the water volume pumped into the distribution system is lost via leaks or ruptures. In some Mediterranean countries, more than 80% is lost, even in regions particularly exposed to droughts. In the past 30 years, drought events in Europe have cost more than ?100 billion. If leaks could be halved worldwide, this alone would represent drinking water for an additional 90 million people. Although several smart water management solutions have been developed, water distribution networks are still mainly based on inefficient technologies with localised leaks handled reactively. Water utilities are gradually recognising the need for a ?smart? pipeline approach, similar to ?smart power grids?. Yet, they fear the installation of smart water management components may incur considerable costs in terms of civil engineering to provide the necessary infrastructure and cabling.
LIFE SmartWater will demonstrate a system for advance leak control, based on the use of innovative valve actuators. This will be installed in the water distribution network of Gouda in the Netherlands. The project aims to reduce water loss by 50% in the pilot District Metering Area, with related energy savings. The project will validate the use of wireless-controlled valve actuators for easy and cost-effective retrofitting of buried valves, which will require no alterations to the existing infrastructure. With the addition of a sensor interface, the actuators will facilitate the upgrade of valves so they become ?smart valves? for implementing smart water management solutions.
The specific objectives are to:
The project contributes to relevant European policies such as the Water Framework Directive, in terms of water scarcity issues, and the Drinking Water Directive, with regards to efficient monitoring, assessment and enforcement of drinking water quality. It also contributes to the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe, as it will help reduce losses of water in the supply network.