A new project aims to change the way we manage water cycles in cities. The partners behind the project want to revolutionise the way we understand and manage urban water. The vision is to profit from climate adaptation and to win socioeconomic savings.
Every year the Danish society invests DKK billions in maintenance, replacement and expansion of its technical water systems in order to better handle the challenges we face. Then an increase of a few percentages in efficiency will mean socioeconomic gains of more than several hundred DKK million annually. In addition, effective systems for tap water, wastewater and rainwater are all essential in order to enjoy a high standard of living as these systems ensure public health, protect us from flooding and reduce strain on cities’ surrounding water environmental. Nevertheless, we still know surprisingly little about the location and flow of water as the water infrastructure is usually underground.
Several hundred intelligent and cost-effective meters will now help provide researchers and water companies with an overview of water’s complex interaction with water pipelines, sewers and streams. By using advanced data processing and artificial intelligence, large data sets will be turned into useful knowledge to guide investments and manage water in cities.
Professor at Aalborg University Michael Robdrup Rasmussen explains:
– Our new ideas make it possible to apply a more holistic approach to water management in the city. In the long term, it will revolutionise the way cities and water utilities manage water. By combining the newest knowledge of hydraulic modelling with very powerful computers, it is possible to gain insight into the movement of water, which has so far not been accessible. Meanwhile, thousands of sensors connected to artificial intelligence around the city will provide an “X-ray” of water in the urban area and give water companies refined conditions to make the right decisions.
The goal is to develop and comnmercialise a solution to carry out surveys of the water cycle in a cost-effective way and convert this data into knowledge that water companies and authorities can actively utilise in their decisions.
Project Manager Malte Skovby Ahm adds:
– A digital water infrastructure with hundreds or thousands of intelligent meters in the city is the most important milestone for moving the water sector into the era of “big data”. The new data will ensure that the water sector profits from the technological advancements within, for instance, artificial intelligence. In the long term, this will help to develop cities in a more sustainably way where water is a resource, rather than a problem.
The challenges related to water management are not few in Denmark. On a global scale, water systems are under constant strain due to climate change and rapid urbanisation. With the DONUT project, Danish water companies will lead the development for digital water infrastructure in cities, prevent damages and utilise water resources most efficiently. Along other key water technologies from Denmark, this solution can be exported to the rest of the world.
Director at InforMetics Peter Rasch explains:
– The Danish water sector has an international position in innovation and green growth. A collaboration such as this gives Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a good starting point for dialogue with foreign suppliers. With tangible solution, such as those we develop in DONUT, we have a new platform for dialogue with costumers – and, just as importantly, we have the ability to increase costumers’ knowledge of their water systems and create more value for our existing meters and systems by connecting these to data. This creates both high-technology and production jobs in Denmark.
Aarhus Vand and VCS Denmark are among the most innovative water companies in the world, leading changes to meet the needs of the water sector. Danish Centre for Environment and Energy (DCE) at the City of Aarhus ensures the representation of perspectives from public authorities.
Aalborg University is responsible for ensuring a high level of innovation and scientific pondering with internationally acknowledged experts within hydraulics and hydrology as well as big data, machine learning and embedded software from the Division for Water and Environment and Center for Embedded Software Systems respectively.
The two SMEs MONTEM and InforMetics apply their expertise within loT-hardware and sophisticated online data-processing in order to create the flexible hardware and software and enable the commercialisation of the complete solution.
Innovation Fund Denmark: DKK 14.6 million
Total project budget: DKK 23.6 million
The project’s duration: 3 years
Official project title: DONUT – Distributed ONline monitering of the Urban waTer cycle
Aarhus Vand, Malte K. Skovby Ahm
Tlf. 045 2021 3756
VCS Denmark, Annette Brink-Kjær
Tlf. +45 969 2405
Aalborg University, Danish Building Research Institute (SBi), Michael. R. Rasmussen
Tlf. +45 4272 1007
Aalborg University, Department of Computer Science (CS), Kim Guldstrand Larsen
Tlf. +45 2217 11
MONTEM IVS, Anders Høedholt
Tlf. +45 3161 8828
InforMetics, Peter S. Rasch
Tlf. +45 3020 6942
The City of Aarhus, Nikolaj Kruse Christensen
Tlf. +45 4187 2289
Innovation Fund Denmark, Patrick Lehto Larsen
Tlf. +45 6190 5008