Software Drives Water System Improvements | Cadalyst
Civil engineers deploy new visual and spatial tools for water distribution.
The quest to deliver safe, reliable drinking water has challenged cities and other utility owners for decades. With growing populations and a finite supply of water on the planet, water providers are constantly looking for better ways to design, build, and operate water systems.
Engineers and other professionals are employing a variety of tools to help tackle this challenge. As software has become more advanced and data more accessible, water professionals have become better equipped to analyze and design water systems. The tools have helped owners address both water quantity and quality issues.
Water Distribution Analysis
One of the key tasks in analyzing water distribution systems is evaluating system capacities. The process has been aided in recent years by more visually oriented software, said Earl Schneider, Water Group vice-president at consultant Mott MacDonald. “Hydraulic modeling by nature is visual and spatial. You need an interface where you can see what you’re modeling.”
Mott MacDonald uses OpenFlows WaterGEMS from Bentley Systems to analyze system capacities, identify potential problem areas, and plan capital improvements. Pipe sizes, lengths, and other characteristics are entered into a computer model and various conditions simulated, such as fire flows during peak domestic demand periods. The software determines pressures and flows at various locations in the system based on the simulated conditions, helping owners make decisions about where upgrades are needed.