Why bother using models in operations


“We don’t need models to run the water distribution system. We have SCADA to tell us what is going on.” This is a common answer we hear from water distribution system operators when we talk with them about how models can help them. They are familiar with their SCADA system and may feel threatened by something new.


But there is a lot of value that operators can gain from integrating modeling with their normal SCADA system operation. Some questions you may ask the operators are:


“How can you predict how much energy you are going to use if you run the system the way you plan? Wouldn’t you want to check out some possibly better ways?”


“What happens when there is a power outage at one of your pump stations and you need to change system operations? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to analyze what’s going to happen in the system as a result of your emergency response.”


“There is going to be a big concert/sporting event in your system tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be great to simulate what’s going to happen before the event occurs?”


“You only have flow meters and pressure gages at a few locations in your system. Wouldn’t you want to know what the flow and pressure is pretty much everywhere in your system?’


“They are going to be doing a big shutdown tomorrow for maintenance. Wouldn’t you like to be able to simulate that shutdown before you have any bad surprises?’


These are just a few of the situations where water distribution models can help water distribution system operators. Models can give operators the kind of support they would like when making operational decisions. With WaterGEMS’ SCADAConnect Simulator, an operator, with some minimal help from a modeler setting things up, can have a powerful tool to enable him/her to make better decisions. The technology is now available and sufficiently mature to make it happen.


If you see some opportunities in this area and want to discuss, get in touch with me at tom.walski@bentley.com.