Operational management and efficiency

Managing and monitoring distribution network losses

undefinedA percentage of the water that is transported and distributed by the system managing companies gets lost prior to reaching the final consumer whether due to leaks, ruptures or theft, for example.

EPAL, the company responsible for supplying water to the city of Lisbon, developed a monitoring system – WONE – Water Optimization for Network Efficiency –, which enables the swift location of this type of situation and thereby bringing them under control and reducing the levels of network water loss.

At the beginning of 2000, the volume of water loss across its distribution network stood at in excess of 35 million m3, which corresponded to over 25% of the total water supplied for distribution. Through recourse to WONE, EPAL had reduced these losses to levels of 8% by 2013 and placing Lisbon in the world ranking of cities turning in the best performances in terms of water loss control and up alongside peers such as Tokyo and Vienna.

Internationally recognised by various awards and other distinctions, WONE enables constant monitoring to take place based upon the data gathered and processed by means of information technology and mathematic models and thus calculating the performance indicators for each area subject to monitoring with analysis of the underlying trends and generating warnings that trigger actions by the intervention teams in the field.

The versatile nature and overall reach of WONE ensures its applicability and effective to any water supply management system that seeks to drive efficiencies in its distribution network and thereby save on hydric, energy and financial resources.

Integrated asset management

undefinedAn integrated asset management strategy proves one of the most important measures for the control of costs and raising efficiency standards to the extent that this drives a close and strong strategic alignment throughout the organisation: among the people, the processes and the technology, facilitating the capturing of synergies and higher levels of business productivity.

In order to support the operational companies in their asset management, the Group has developed various specific tools with a particular emphasis on the Methodological Guide to Asset Management, a corporate inventory file for listing and detailing assets alongside their performances indicators, risk analysis methodologies, and among other aspects. This seeks to establish a framework and facilitate decision making on budgets and investment plans and thus drive management efficiency in terms of its infrastructural assets, guaranteeing the quality required, equilibrium in the tasks under implementation and the appropriate management of operational risks.

Spanning all the companies that operate in the water supply and wastewater sanitation sectors, this guide not only defines an integrated strategic approach to managing Group assets but also lines of action and harmonised information standards for a set of indicators specifically designed for Group companies.

Supporting this strategy has involved the design and production of new information technology solutions integrating the data returned and ensuring a more efficient interconnection between maintenance activities and the other company sectors and especially improving the linkage between the SIG and SAP solutions, simultaneously adjusting the information components and the company organisational procedures in areas such as warehouse management, the gathering and systematisation of information and recording the regular inspection operations, among other aspects. 

Recycling and the reutilisation of wastewaters

undefinedThe wastewaters handled by Águas de Portugal group company infrastructures are released in environmentally safe conditions and thus enabling the replacement of water into the hydric environments without jeopardising their status and thus guaranteeing both public health and the surrounding ecosystems.

From an efficient management perspective, the companies have implemented water consumption minimisation solutions, especially through the recycling and reutilisation of wastewaters following treatment involving various processes and installations. Beyond internal uses, a fraction of the treated wastewaters is then provided/sold for reutilisation by external entities.

As regards the internal usages of treated wastewaters, they serve for cleaning the pavements of installations, equipment, axles and treatment facilities, unblocking pumps, deodorising systems, biogas purification, preparing reagents and in sanitary installation discharges.

In parallel, other pilot-projects are undergoing development such as delivering the treated wastewaters for municipal usage in the major urban centres for purposes such as washing roads and containers, irrigating golf courses and refrigeration systems, among others.

Developing solutions for better consumption management by final consumers

EPAL, responsible for domestic water distribution in the city of Lisbon, designed and produced a service – Waterbeep – that enables its clients to accompany the trends in their respective water consumption and receive notification whenever water consumption varies from the usual pattern and thus enabling the identification of potential anomalies.

Waterbeep is one of the Innovation and R&D projects highlighted here