Strategic Response 13

Smart water system management

With the opportunity to capitalise on technological advances, we will improve the service performance and
resilience of our assets through remote sensing, data analysis and automation; solving problems before they impact
on our business or the environment.
SR13 - Smart water system management with Dale Walker

This strategic response includes:

Welsh Water recognises smart technologies
and data will play a key role in supporting the
2050 strategy and that leveraging these
opportunities will help improve performance,
improve decision-making, improve resilience
and improve interactions with customers and
stakeholders. These technologies are rapidly
developing so our smart plan will need to be
flexible to take advantage of this progress.
Welsh Water’s Smart Hub aims to optimise
asset performance through local automation
and remote intervention, with on-site
intervention only required in exceptional
circumstances. The capability to collect and
analyse large volumes of data will help
currently unforeseen events become more
predictable. We will use machine learning,
artificial intelligence and other advanced
technologies to further enhance decisionmaking
within our own networks and assets,
and across the water cycle, working with
stakeholders and communities. Interventions
will include the following actions.
• Sensing and control - We will drive
innovation in sensor development,
increasing coverage and enhanced
visibility. We will also use intelligent
automation on our assets wherever
possible to achieve optimised networks. In
the coming years this will include raw
water quality sensing, real time quality
monitoring, leaking monitoring and
customer connection monitoring. This
may also include technology like 3D and
4D printing in the future.
• Collection and communication - We will
drive towards continuous collection of
asset data and effective communications
of data to our mobile workforce. This will
include improved data communications,
extension of water control groups and
motherships and hopes to include Internet
of Things (IoT) platform, fully connected
workforce, managed Machine to Machine
(M2M) services, adoption of 5G, intelligent
water control, digital twin (which is a
digital representation of a physical object)
and programmable matter.
• Data management and visualisations -
We will create a data governance
strategy. This will aim to provide accurate,
near real time data with spatially
representation via flexible user friendly
mediums for our operators. This will also
include opening up appropriate datasets
for use by third parties, and developing an
internal data platform to share data on
everything from customer sentiment to
asset conditions seamlessly across the
business. In the next few years this will
include situation awareness, open data
pilot, operational intelligence, data
management tools and data governance.
This hopes to includes IT Asset
Management (ITAM) governance in the
• Fusion and analytics - We will use
innovative technologies to provide
predictive and real time modelling of
actual and potential failures. This will
include enhanced water network
performance, development of a robotics,
and AI strategy, implementation of
robotics pilots, secure data sharing, and
further work on production optimisation.
This aims to also include adoption of
robotic process automation, adoption of AI
and Quantum computing in the future.
• People and process; We will ensure that
we have the technology and skills to
implement these plans and ensure the
security of our business and network. This
will include a more detailed cyber security
programme. This aims to include
integrated catchment management,
organisational strategy to prevent siloed
working, advanced interaction with
customers, personalised customer
service, and optimised utility bills.

Research and Innovation

We will undertake the following research and
innovation activities to support the strategic
• Continue working with the International
Smart Water Networks research and best
practice group to accelerate the adoption
of data-driven technologies in our water
and wastewater networks.
• Develop real-time monitoring systems of
water quality and quantity from sources to
sea using new sensing technologies and
use advanced analytics and prediction
technologies to improve decision making
and move customer service and operations
into predictive mode.
• Leverage more data sets (Big Data) to gain
insights into operations and customer
service, resulting in improved reliability and
• Use the new Welsh Water Technical
Academy to ensure sufficient and welltrained
technicians are available to operate
the increasingly sophisticated control
processes of the future.
• Develop research projects on the
application of robotics, drones, internet of
things and artificial intelligence to improve
our business.
• Pilot the role of innovative engagement
techniques, such as ‘gamification’, in
customer engagement and colleague
• Continually improving cyber security to
prevent cyber attacks on our assets and
• Develop a dynamic procurement platform
to enable a more responsive and resilient
supply chain.
We will work with partners like Western Power
Distribution and Wales and West utilities on
this research.

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