In this age of digital tech, when automation is becoming more and more mainstream across industries, even the most analog of commodities stand to benefit from such high-tech solutions—like water. Any shortage of water supply spells disruption for businesses and communities, which is why such providers are now turning to “intelligent” systems that can ensure long-term water sustainability, especially amid such a crisis as this pandemic.
One such water provider is Lima Water Co. (LWC). The Aboitiz InfraCapital subsidiary is now building its own Smart Water Network using automation, so that its water facilities become interconnected smart systems that are able to “talk” with each other and automatically adjust their operating setup depending on the supply requirements.
“As the Lima community grows, we are constantly finding ways to optimize our processes and facilities, as well as ensure the sustainability of our water supply,” says Hazele Manalo, assistant vice president and general manager of LWC.Guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal No. 6, which focuses on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, LWC is making a pointed effort to enhance the management of its water supply and wastewater treatment operations through automation. Their Smart Water Network, leverages data to determine water demand patterns of their locators, which is achieved by integrating Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems and its corresponding digital output instruments, such as water meters and sensors.
The system also notifies the team of any system abnormality, allowing them to repair and resolve issues as soon as possible, as well as minimize water loss. The technology also allows LWC team members to work remotely and, therefore, safely.
Since the program’s launch last year, LWC has been able to save 30 percent of its operational budget for repair and reduce fuel consumption by 20 percent for its daily monitoring routine. The company also significantly improved on its response time during equipment failure and maintained a high average facility uptime of 99.3 percent in 2020.
As the end-to-end water services provider of Lima Estate–a 794-hectare Philippine Economic Zone Authority-registered development that is home to 130 locators from different industries, 167 retail and restaurants spaces, a 138-room four-star hotel, a transportation hub, over 2,500 households and more than 60,000 employees—LWC is able to provide priceless value for its stakeholders through this Smart Water Network. This year, the project enters its second phase, which will involve the integration of water network monitoring, including real-time leakage detection and water consumption monitoring. The Smart Water Network will also provide real-time data on water pressure, availability, contamination and defects in the water distribution system. This will allow more efficient water distribution to locators while ensuring water quality standards.
Once fully integrated, the Smart Water Network is projected to lead to even better operational efficiency and savings in terms of deep well operation, auto adjustment of transfer pumps and nonrevenue water management.
“With this innovation, we are able to take proactive steps to secure LWC’s longevity and reliability,” says Manalo.
LWC will also further work on data science and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives with Aboitiz Data Innovation, a newly formed business unit of Aboitiz Group with focus on optimizing the organization’s operations through data science and AI.
“The synergies that can be created through the application of data science and AI will create smarter, more reliable and more predictable systems that in turn will benefit our customers,” said Dr. David Hardoon, Aboitiz Data Innovation managing director and UnionBank senior adviser for data and AI.