Pressure management has traditionally been seen as a highly effective solution, delivering quick wins for reducing leakage, and there are many great examples across the UK of pressure reducing valves delivering an excellent return on investment. Typically, these valves can significantly reduce the overall pressure in a network as well as delivering a calmer profile. Both of these effects work to reduce the number of bursts occurring as well as reducing flow rates for existing bursts and background leakage.
However, with 2018 and 2020 seeing some of largest peak demands on recent record, many of the schemes installed in the UK are increasingly being challenged by frequent summer demand events. During these events the operation of our pressure reducing valves can come under increasing scrutiny as head losses increase and overall network pressures drop.
So, as an industry, how can we ensure we deliver a suitable pressure to our customers whilst achieving ever increasing leakage targets?
What's the solution?
We work closely with our clients’ local experts to combine their experience and understanding with our analytics platform. This enables us to identify opportunities for the implementation of new schemes, as well as the optimisation of existing schemes.
Having worked closely with UK clients to develop a robust cost benefit analysis model, we can give reliable predictions of the reduction in burst flow, overall burst count and active leakage control effort, which can be achieved through installing new, or modifying existing pressure reducing valves.
Figure 1: Example scheme overview plot
Our analysis outputs promote clear understanding of the restrictions on our clients’ networks which can be causing pressure management schemes to fail during high demand events. This helps our clients to understand where additional smart control can deliver benefit and ensure they are squeezing the most out of their additional schemes.
How we can help
Increasing challenges caused by customer demand and new outcome delivery incentive targets have significantly moved the ‘performance goalposts’ for a lot of UK companies. As an industry we can no longer rely on the idea that pressure management has already ‘been done’ for our networks, and a full review can ensure they deliver the best reduction in both leakage and burst counts possible.
We work closely with our clients’ pressure management teams to promote understanding and put the right information in their hands, allowing them to understand their water networks and make effective decisions. This delivers significant benefit when used to develop response strategies for peak summer demand, allowing teams to proactively manage events rather than react to customer complaints.