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Does the future of water utilities include digital twins? In a historically risk-averse industry, going digital means embracing digital twins, open environments and integrated workflows.

What is a Digital Twin and Why Now?

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical asset, process, or system. The creation of a water system’s digital twin involves integrating virtual engineering models with city-scale reality models and geographic information system (GIS) data.

Explore the value of Digital Twins in Operations

Digital twins can be continuously updated with virtual operational data from supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, sensors, meters, and other measured sources, creating a real-time model that can be used in operations. A digital twin dynamically changes based on the data it receives, allowing it to mature and yield valuable information that isn’t generated by a traditional static, model—and that capability can drive business decisions.

Create a proactive, data-rich environment to reduce instances of emergencies and minimize service disruption in the event of an emergency.

Greater Confidence in Decisions

  • Identify anomalies in real-time for events/vulnerabilities
  • Simulate forward (forecasting)
  • Locate weak links
  • Quantify/ rank individual asset criticality and risk
  • Identify critical customers
  • Identify capital improvement potential

Better Response Strategy & Communications

  • Simulate before implementing
  • Quantify cost / benefit
  • Insights into consequences
  • Train Emergency Response

Responsive to Emergencies

  • Conduct real-time modeling
  • Evaluate severity/potential consequences
  • Evaluate and optimize alternatives
  • Quantitatively support decisions
  • Restore normal

Get more on this topic from this Emergency Preparedness and Response podcast episode.

Help deliver better services, maintain customer satisfaction and improve service sustainability and reducing inefficiencies.

Real-time Analysis & Forecasting

  • Respond to main breaks and evaluate impact
  • Identify water loss areas and prioritize for leak detection
  • Identify potential compliance violations
  • Base decisions on accurate demand forecasts
  • Detect anomalies in system

Asset Performance

  • Observe historical trends
  • Analyze, water loss, pump efficiency
  • Monitor performance
  • Analyze and reduce pump energy cost

Maintenance & Response

  • Access data from field
  • Communicate with field crews
  • Identify affected customers
  • Supplement SCADA system

Get more on this topic from this Operations and Maintenance podcast episode.

Spend time on preventative planning versus reacting to issues, and the decisions made yield the highest value for each dollar of investment.

Evaluate Alternatives

  • Use previous and current conditions to predict future outcomes and scenarios
  • Use repeatable analysis applications that allow planners to pivot decision-logic—like costs, budgets, social environments—during the evaluation
  • Analyze asset lifecycle costs
  • Forecast
  • Hindcast and implement forensic calibration and refinement

Create a Defensible Plan

  • Create a real-time asset management plan to evaluate and mitigate hydraulic-based outage scenarios as they happen and even before they happen
  • Deliver a list of prioritized assets, budgetary breakdowns of what to spend and where, and long-term forecasts to design contractors

Get more on this topic from this Capital Planning podcast episode.

The end result is an intelligent, connected digital infrastructure model that supports planning, design, construction, and operations for smart water networks. Digital twins of water systems provide accurate, reliable data that you can use to perform what-if analyses and make informed decisions throughout the lifecycle of a water system—from long-term system vulnerability and capacity planning to immediate performance monitoring and emergency response.

Users Speak about Digital Twin Value

Learn what innovators are doing to create greater efficiencies, improve insights and decisions, and accelerate smart initiatives. Hear how digital twins can automate project planning and visualization, and support information-rich environments across engineering, operations and maintenance, and capital planning.

Get a quick demo overview of the Digital Twin in operations and maintenance.

Bluefield asks: Is it all hype?

Bluefield discusses digital twins in "Seeing Double, The Rise of the Digital Twins in Water." Keith, Eric, and Reese talk about the signposts that indicate growth, the competitive landscape, and how companies are positioning in this burgeoning market segment.