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How Are Advanced Analytical Tools Helping Water Asset Managers?

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The accelerated growth of technology has covered almost all accepts of business. The importance of making high-quality data accessible, usable, and trusted is limitlessly high. A trend with exponential growth during recent years due to technological advances is big data. It has encouraged many industries, including the water industry, to experiment with advanced analytics to realise their goals of boosting efficiency and developing new data-driven services. 

Advanced analytics describes data analysis using modern techniques to forecast trends and predict events. Water providers are now finding it possible to understand complex data sets that can be translated into knowledge. In turn, water managers can unlock data-driven benefits through advanced analytics including cost reduction, resource optimisation, minimising uncertainty, mitigating risks, and improving customer services.

What is Advanced Analytics?

Raw data would stay untapped and meaningless without analytics. It is analytics that converts data into valuable insights and is used for specific purposes. There are various methods to obtain knowledge from data that is currently accessible, ranging from simple data visualisation to real-time predictive intelligence.

Advanced analytics is a catch-all phrase for various well-developed analytics methodologies and technologies. Predictive modelling, prescriptive modelling, data mining, and other analytics that apply better data science methodologies are frequently referred to as data science. While data is often abundant, the algorithms that analyse it determine the effectiveness of advanced analytics solutions. As a result, there is a desire for cutting-edge technology that can provide meaning to previously worthless data. Advanced analytics can assist water utility enablers in delivering enough drinking water to meet the people’s requirements while cutting the water cost by as little as a cent or fraction of a penny per gallon, assuring a long-term, sustainable water supply.

Artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (loT), and pattern-matching are all backed by advanced analytics, which can quickly extract more accurate information from enormous data volumes.

What Are The Challenges in The Water Utility Industry?

The water utility industry is one of the most critical and essential industries globally. The provision of drinking water is not the only purpose it serves, as water utilities are vastly used for industrial and agricultural purposes. Due to the continuous increase of stress on the industry, it faces growing challenges in serving customers.

The most common challenges faced by water utility service enablers within the traditional decision-making approaches which can be slower and less accurate, include the problems associated with water pipe failure prediction, prioritising active leakage detection areas, customer segmentation, demand analysis, optimising water quality and quantity, ageing infrastructure, increasing costs and environmental regulations.

These challenges in the industry and their increasing complexity require a modern solution to achieve and maintain an economical and sustainable development. That is why the industry has already started seeking technological solutions.

Types of Advanced Analytics That Are Helping to Beat The Challenges Of The Water Utility Industry

Different types of analytical tools can help water utilities make data-driven decisions and better forecasts based on specific system conditions. Depending on the type of tool implemented, existing monitoring systems of the water distribution network can be examined in the most efficient and accurate way in terms of quantity, quality, and availability of data. Here are three types of analytical data that water managers should consider incorporating into their operations:

AI-Driven Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is a form of technology that processes the data collected and, coupled with artificial intelligence and machine learning, can predict future events. It offers real-time predictive insights, which generate predictions of flows, pressures, tank levels, and water quality throughout the infrastructure network, evolving so that pump status, control valve settings, and water demands represent the actual operation of the system. In other words, it monitors the health of each asset and can draw accurate information on how an asset will perform based on different factors. It automatically carries out the monitoring process and can dispatch a warning to the water asset manager when the system indicates an asset breakdown is imminent. By identifying issues at the root cause and an early stage, managers can dispatch maintenance teams to rectify such matters. As a result, the water utility providers can save overall finances, maximise the lifespan of water assets, and assure the public that clean water is provided. 

AI-Driven Prescriptive Analytics

In contrast to predictive analytics, in addition to warning water managers of impending risks, prescriptive analytics recommends what action should be taken. Thus, this technology can assess data to find risks in water assets and process data pertaining to a water utility provider’s finances and budget for a specific period. As a result, the solution it provides is not generic but is central to the data in a water company. Thus, if a water manager is required to stick to a budget, the prescriptive analytical tool will inform which asset requires immediate attention, thereby helping the manager to prioritise assets on criticality. Infusing prescriptive analytics, therefore, helps managers make feasible solutions and carry out operations according to their financial status.  Many advanced software solutions infuse predictive and prescriptive analytics together. 

Satellite Data Analytics

Satellite data analytics is an advanced tool not dominantly used by the water industry, although it provides a significant advantage to those that do. By using satellite technologies, water managers can monitor vast areas spanning cities at once instead of having to invest in multiple technologies in different areas in a city. Hence, in one glance, water asset managers can assess the condition of a network of assets running in the entire city. In addition to this, satellite data analytics provides insight into weather patterns. Through this, possible situations of floods, soil erosions, and landslides can be predicted. While this allows managers to take measures to protect the already collected and treated water, it is a tool that can be used for disaster management. Those who could be affected but such disasters can thus be evacuated in advance, and relocated. 

Invest In The Right Solution

Innovative creations have come into existence to combat every challenge faced in the water industry. With such solutions already in place, water asset managers should invest in advanced technological solutions that include analytical tools and other powerful digital technologies. A compact solution that embraces industry 4.0 technologies as a whole is sure to be a worthy investment for a utility industry that depends on the taxpayer’s money. 

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