The current crisis, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, poses several challenges for water utilities around the world. Those that have already undertaken their digital transformation process are in a more advantageous position to face them.
Pilar Conejos, Head of Network Control and Regulation for Valencia Metropolitan Area at Global Omnium, explains in this interview how the Spanish water utility is successfully managing the service thanks to GoAigua’s Digital Twin.
Q. What is a Digital Twin?
A. It is a virtual copy of the drinking water distribution system, which helps us in decision-making processes, as it allows us to carry out simulations of any real or fictitious scenario. This way we can analyze in advance the response of the network to any operating circumstance, even if it has not occurred in the past.
Q. How does Global Omnium use this technology in its daily operations?
A. For several years now, GoAigua’s Digital Twin has been an essential tool in the operation of the system, widely used in daily decision-making at Global Omnium. One of the most important elements it relies on is the hydraulic network simulation in real time. Any operation or change in the network is previously tested on the digital twin to ensure its effectiveness, which greatly minimizes supply risks.
This provides multiple advantages, such as greater knowledge of the network’s behavior, greater response capacity to deal with any scenario, better planning of network operations, early detection of events or anomalies, etc.
Q. What role is the Digital Twin playing in managing the service during the COVID-19 crisis?
R. The current situation is unprecedented and having a Digital Twin to assist the operation of the system is very helpful, thanks to the enormous possibilities provided by simulation and the ability of this tool to condense large amounts of information.
GoAigua’s Digital Twin makes it possible to prevent problems and determine the measures required to avoid the appearance of contingencies or minimize their consequences. This is very important in situations such as the present one, where travel and field work are very limited, and where it is also necessary to minimize breakdowns or interruptions in service as much as possible.
The Digital Twin also allows different actions to be evaluated beforehand, such as new regulation instructions, and to adapt the operation of the system to new circumstances, such as a major change in the consumption pattern. It also helps operators to make more efficient and effective decisions, especially in emergency conditions.
Finally, it should be noted that the Digital Twin is a platform that allows new operators to be trained quickly if necessary.
Case Study: Global Omnium’s successful digital transformation journey
GoAigua’s Digital Twin, implemented in the water utility Global Omnium for the Valencian metropolitan area (Spain) is considered ‘best-in-class’ in the industry. It currently allows the supply side to optimally manage its daily operations, simulate and plan real-time scenarios, and predict the future behavior of the network. The Digital Twin can virtually replicate the behavior of the network real time with an outstanding accuracy.