MWHT, a sector leading solution provider operating across the UK water industry, will be working in a 50:50 joint venture with construction group Galliford Try to deliver a £700 million water and wastewater non-infrastructure programme between April 2021 to March 2027.
The six-year contract will see MWHT employees working with Galliford Try to support the capital delivery functions of Scottish Water, providing process design and build solutions for water and wastewater treatment works across Scotland.
“We have been working in collaboration with Scottish Water since 2015 and there is clear advantage to building on our ongoing partnership, especially as it continues to move towards an even greater level of strategic maturity and alignment,” says Mark Allan, MWHT’s director of UK operations.
“This contract extension will provide even greater value for customers, collectively utilising our digital strategy to drive efficiency in all stages of customer engagement, solution development and end user experience. We will be increasing efficiency whilst reducing both cost and time, whilst also benefitting the environment as we collaborate with Scottish Water in its drive to zero carbon.
“We are proud to continue working closely with Scottish Water to ensure delivery of resilient, reliable clean and wastewater services to its customers across Scotland.”
Every day Scottish Water delivers 1.4 billion litres of drinking water, and removes, treats and returns around 1 billion litres of wastewater safely to the environment - serving 2.56 million households and more than 152,000 businesses premises.
MWHT currently works in a joint venture partnership with Galliford Try and Binnies called ESD (Efficient Service Delivery) that was formed to develop, design, manage and deliver Scottish Water’s Quality and Standards IV (Q&SIV) SR15 non-infrastructure programme.
“This award is a fantastic achievement and reflects the commitment and dedication of our talented people in Scotland and across our business. MWH Treatment is in a strong position to support Scottish Water in their investment programme, extending the relationship up to 2027,” said Paul Bresnan, managing director at MWHT.
It is a fully integrated joint venture, combining the experience, expertise, people and systems of the partners, to form a single integrated team delivering as ESD. The current SR15 portfolio is £550 million spanning six years. ESD will have delivered over 150 projects for Scottish Water by the end of this period.
Throughout SR21 the water sector is stepping forward to respond to the increasing challenges from climate change, population growth, and increasing customer expectations, while improving affordability of an essential service.
“To continue working with Scottish Water demonstrates that we remain a partner of choice. With our proven capacity, capability and existing relationship with Scottish Water we are ready to take on the challenge of the SR21 regulatory programme. Working together with Galliford Try we will take on this challenge with pace, productivity and programme intensity,” added Bresnan.
Water network monitoring trials carried out with utilities in France, Switzerland, Germany and the UK are demonstrating the potential of machine learning and artificial intelligence in achieving resilience, explains Steve Willis, chief executive of UK technology company Intellitect.
Data-driven insights can change the way the water sector maintains and manages supply and even how utilities, governments and customers think about water as a resource.
Utilities across the world face similar challenges in maintaining asset performance and resilience against increasingly complex and volatile climatic conditions. To make the best decisions, utilities need access to accurate and timely information.
While utilities are gradually deploying more data-enabled components and asserting greater control over the network, perceived high costs and challenging regulatory environments are often cited as roadblocks to companies investing in these systems.
Over the last decade Intellitect has worked in close collaboration with several utilities to create technology that can better measure, collect and analyse a wide range of network events. This has led to the development of several smart network solutions, including cost-effective sensors and smart components such as mobile accessible reporting tools and analytics platforms.
As well increasing the efficiency, longevity and reliability of the underlying physical water network, these end-to-end solutions mean a significant reduction in utility expenditure on project costs when trying to adopt smart network capabilities – helping to remove one of the financial barriers to adoption.
Trials of Intellitect’s innovative multi-parameter sensors have been successfully carried out in distribution networks across Europe, including Southern Water in the UK, Berlin Water in Germany, Saur in France and Zurich Water (WVZ) in Switzerland.
The sensors, designed for continuous direct insertion into drinking water pipes, measure water quality and hydraulic parameters in one device.
Each project presented specific challenges. In Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, the high quality of the pipework means that inserting sensors into the network is always a cost balancing issue, as they cost a fraction of the cost of the pipes.
The utility decided to identify alternative points to access the network and focussed on the city’s 1,200 fountains, two-thirds of which are connected to the drinking water network.
Zurich Water’s team decided that the pipes feeding the fountains could be used as access points, but there was no suitable existing technology, so the utility worked with Intellitect to develop bespoke sensors that would allow monitoring at these locations.
In a trial for Berlin Water, Intellitect’s sensors were placed alongside existing sensors to monitor the reliability of the data over several months. The sensors provided accurate data with no calibration or maintenance requirement, unlike the existing sensors.
In France, one of the challenges for the partners was to develop a water monitoring device small enough to fit in any chamber and at a cost that made it highly repeatable. Saur manages 180km of water networks across France, so capacity to install at scale was a key consideration.
Through several rounds of proof-testing and continuous improvements made by Intellitect in collaboration with Saur, the original eight parameter sensor was honed down to five key parameters – pressure, chlorine, turbidity, flow and temperature. This meant that the size of the device could be reduced for installation on the smaller pipes in the distribution mains, sited closer to end-users.
“Ultimately, we aim to be in a position to inform end-users before they experience any impact,” says Saur’s innovation project manager, Brice Gatignol. “Intellitect’s analytical tools within their Insight platform is one solution that will help us reach our target.”
Legislative drivers emerging across Europe require greater transparency for the data collated by utilities, as well as encouraging them to take a more proactive and cooperative approach to data-sharing. In England & Wales, the economic regulator Ofwat is actively encouraging water companies to work collaboratively in the key areas of water quality, leakage, network management, mains cleaning, discolouration and chlorine.
The technology already exists to support this openness. Intellitect’s smart water network management system offers a single cloud platform that can be implemented quickly and efficiently, providing visibility to all participating water companies.
As part of Intellitect’s long-term strategy, an end-to-end solution of communications, analytics, and visualisation has been developed. This allows sensors to send the relevant data to the appropriate operational team in real-time, helping them to get ahead of incidents before they reach the consumer.
Our research and development team are now looking at further enhancements, including extending monitoring across the full watercycle, from source to discharge, for better traceability and impact of incidents.
On the customer side we are collaborating with utilities adopting our technology and starting to explore options for increased customer engagement to reduce consumption, helping the environment and keeping bills down.
The water sector is starting to embrace the value of data-driven insights in improving the speed and quality of decision-making. With the necessary smart water network systems in place, the potential to radically transform the way water and water infrastructure is used and managed is at our fingertips.
Based in Hampshire, UK, Intellitect is a pioneer of direct insertion in-pipe sensors technologies - which combine water quality and hydraulic parameters into a single device which forms part of their end-to-end solution for real-time smart water network monitoring.
Machine-learning technology trialled on part of Wessex Water’s sewerage network has identified early forming sewer blockages in real-time with a 92% accuracy rate, whilst also enabling an operational shift to condition-based maintenance approach, says Brian Moloney, managing director, StormHarvester.
The potential of artificial technology (AI) to transform sewer network management has been demonstrated during a three-month trial of StormHarvester’s Intelligent Sewer Suite with Wessex Water in the city of Bath. The technology quickly demonstrated its value, with over 60 early blockage formations detected in real-time and control room alerts reduced by a staggering 97 per cent.
Managing sewer blockages represents a significant operational challenge for water and wastewater utilities. As well as problems arising from the blockages themselves, heavy rainfall events often trigger hundreds of alarms simply because of high levels within the sewer network caused by rainfall runoff. The volume of these alarms during wet weather periods can be overwhelming for operational and maintenance teams.
The incumbent rules-based alarm system operating in the Wessex Water control room generated some 4,500 alarms during the trial period, yet StormHarvester’s Intelligent Sewer Suite of AI tools was able to mute alarms where the high sewer levels were predicted by the AI software due to rainfall, reducing the total to 138, of which 124 were genuine blockage formations or sensor faults. This gave the utility’s operational and maintenance crews capacity to respond rapidly to each alarm, even during periods of heavy rainfall.
The initiative started in Spring 2020 when Wessex Water invited 16 technology companies from around the world to demonstrate the value of applying artificial intelligence to the wastewater network. As a finalist, Belfast-based StormHarvester was invited to run a three-month trial to carry out proof of concept.
The trial took place from June to August 2020 in the wastewater catchment of the historic city of Bath, Somerset, which comprises 3,500km of sewerage, representing 10% of Wessex’s total. Intelligent Sewer Suite was applied to an array of 98 level sensors already present in the network - 89 at combined sewer overflow (CSO) sites and the remainder at pumping lift stations.
Intelligent Sewer Suite uses machine-learning, an AI application that enables systems to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed to do so. The StormHarvester system’s smart machine-learning algorithms and predictive analysis tools were applied to catchment sensor data and corresponding hyperlocal rain forecasts to predict the wastewater flow levels and detect potential early blockage formations in real-time.
Wessex Water wanted to test the ability of machine-learning to:
Remote monitoring specialist Ovarro has completed the acquisition of ControlPoint, a key supplier of digital quality assurance and data management solutions to UK water utilities.
Established in 2010, UK-based ControlPoint’s system involves unique software and real time inspection of pipeline jointing at the point of installation, giving asset owners and contractors the ability to prevent poor joints being installed on the network. It also supplies gas utilities.
Ovarro, a subsidiary of Laurel Solutions, is a market leading provider of remote terminal units (RTUs), acoustic leakage data loggers, SCADA systems and intelligent analytics software for the global water industry, as well as oil & gas, broadcast and transportation sectors.
Ovarro chief executive David Frost said: “Ovarro are delighted to welcome ControlPoint to the team. We are firmly committed to continued investment in ControlPoint’s people, technology and software solutions, so that together we may grow and develop our combined range of complimentary products and services for all our customers in the utility sector around the world.”
ControlPoint managing director Ben Crabtree said: “The combination of Ovarro and ControlPoint provides us with the opportunity to continue to support our established end markets and customers in the UK, whilst leveraging the financial and human capital of Ovarro to expand our market position around the world.”
Laurel Solutions chief executive Martin Carter said: “Ovarro’s acquisition of ControlPoint continues to demonstrate the investment strategy to further develop as an industry leading player in leakage for the utility sectors.”