5 Ways to Get More From Your Existing Water and Wastewater Assets Now

Posted: August 21, 2019

Water utilities and water network operators have a very simple missionDeliver safe and reliable water service to their customers. But several market trends, such as rapid urbanization, increasing regulatory restrictions and sustainability goals, water source stress, a generational change in workforce, increased security concerns, and diminishing available capital for improvements is putting significant stress on the ageing water and wastewater infrastructure and its operators to fulfill this mission in cost-effective ways.

Luckily, technology triggers like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), big data analytics, mobility and workforce collaboration represent new opportunities for significant reliability, efficiency and safety improvements for water and wastewater utilities, enabling them to extend the useful life of their infrastructure investments.

To remain cost-effective in the face of these market trends, water and wastewater utilities are seeking an operations-centric view where proactive and predictive maintenance opportunities empower front-line personnel to act before costly failures occur. With Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions, personnel can exceed safety, reliability, and performance goals through data collection and analysis coupled with actions and optimization for proactive and optimized maintenance execution.

As a result, water plant and network personnel are empowered to act before equipment failure occurs, maintenance and operations costs are reduced, and the overall maintenance and operations strategy supports key continuous improvement objectives.

Asset Performance Solutions Utilities Can Implement Today

Condition-based maintenance is one of the most straightforward and effective asset performance applications a water utility can undertake. It is often the first step taken by a public works department looking to move from a preventive maintenance regime into a proactive maintenance approach. Condition-based maintenance solutions collect and analyze real-time diagnostics from all production assets and drives appropriate action to improve overall asset performance, operations, engineering and maintenance. The system automates the maintenance process through the monitoring of user-defined rules and algorithms that initiate necessary maintenance activities based on measured operating condition. When the equipment is operating out of the normal range, condition-based maintenance raises an alarm to the operator to make them aware of the abnormal conditions and allows them to make an informed decision about what maintenance is required.

 A mobile workforce and decision support system can help water utilities address some major challenges to improving asset performance: standardizing operator rounds and connecting stranded assets. Even in today's digital age, some 40-60% of the equipment in a typical water utility remains digitally disconnected from the automation system. These stranded assets are invisible to operators unless they perform frequent inspection rounds and manually take down readings and condition assessment, traditionally on paper log sheets. This type of manual data collection is error-prone and often leads to loss of information. The lack of standardization in these inspection processes can also lead to service issues and safety hazards. Furthermore, knowledge loss can occur as more experienced operators retire and fail to pass along their wisdom to the next-generation operators.

Water utilities that have implemented a mobile workforce and decision support system are able to reap the benefits of using configurable software and ruggedized mobile hardware to enable workflow, data collection, and general task management for plant operations, maintenance management, processing tracking, and compliance applications.

Mobile-accessible Asset Information Systems can help utilities confront the massive geographical area, from source, to plant, to consumer over which its employees must operate. With the proliferation of IIoT-enabled sensors and advanced metering infrastructure, the number of data sources and types of data available to water utilities is constantly increasing. However, this data is often not available in context that makes the information useful. In addition, accessing this data outside the control room is often difficult due to data security concerns and the high cost of significant setup and maintenance requirements of a virtual private network to support employee data access.

By leveraging a secure, managed solution for collecting, storing, visualizing, and analyzing water and wastewater data in the cloud for faster, smarter operational decisions, utilities can consolidate data from disparate systems and put the data in context for complete visibility into how operations are performing. This enables utility employees to access the data anytime, anywhere, and on the mobile device of their choice.

Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) is a comprehensive solution for providing maintenance management, spares, and inventory management, and provides complete procurement capabilities for water and wastewater utilities. EAM increases asset availability by seeing that necessary maintenance is performed and enables maximum output from expensive and complex assets. Through increased visibility into maintenance history, inventory, and procurement, utilities can implement a preventative maintenance program that maximizes return on asset investment.

A Risk-Based Maintenance (RBM) approach helps businesses improve asset performance by integrating risk-based maintenance into an overall asset performance management strategy. The strict budget environment in which most municipalities must operate drives utilities to drive as much cost out of their operations as possible while maximizing return on asset investment. The RBM approach generates optimized maintenance and spare parts strategies by first looking at the utilities’ strategy and objectives, and then prioritizing actions down to an individual asset level to maximize return on asset investment.

We'll Take You There

No matter what level of maturity your water utility has achieved in implementing Asset Performance Management solutions, AVEVA can move you one step closer to asset performance excellence. Our comprehensive Asset Performance Management portfolio of software solutions is equipment and vendor agnostic for seamless integration with existing equipment and technologies, enabling you to maximize the value of previous investments through proactive asset health and performance monitoring.

For more information on how your water and wastewater utility can benefit from Asset Performance solutions, please download our Asset Performance Management for Water and Wastewater.

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