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SEWA Delivers a Sustainable Water Supply

by Utilities ME Staff on Oct 1, 2015


Sharjah
Sharjah

The Emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates continues to experience rapid development that’s evidenced in its many new major industrial, commercial, construction, and agricultural projects.

This growth has resulted in a huge demand for water in a region where surface water resources are nearly nonexistent. To help manage this demand, as well as model water supply patterns, plan maintenance projects, and reduce water leakage in its 2800 km water distribution network, the emirate needed efficient and integrated water network management software.

Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (SEWA) engineers chose WaterGEMS, Bentley’s water distribution analysis and modeling software product, to successfully address each of these challenges and is currently using it to effectively manage its water network.

Hydraulic analysis and engineering

WaterGEMS was used for criticality analysis in each of five land-use-designation zones to identify not only the impact of outages, but also critical segments and pressure zones. Next, calculated hydraulic properties of network elements were visualized in longitudinal profiles for easier graphical visualization of calculated properties such as pressure or hydraulic grade line, and element characteristics such as elevations.

This enabled SEWA to create a network improvement and development program for its engineering teams who used it to help plan and execute projects ranging from the replacement of critical segments and valves to changes in the direction of flow to a reduction in pipes. The latter project enabled SEWA to redistribute water from areas of the city in which water flowed adequately to areas in which water flow was insufficient to meet demand.

Additionally, it enabled the engineering teams to address issues with a particularly troublesome segment of the network that’s about 40 years old. In this segment, water loss from underground leakage was an ongoing concern, while high pressures in the system also caused occasional breaks in the transmission lines – particularly in portions close to pumping stations where the pressure is necessarily high. Regular replacement programs as well as the criticality study done in WaterGEMS enabled SEWA to reduce water loss, ultimately conserving more of the potable water pumped into the network.

SEWA was able to achieve continuous water supply without complaints from residents about water shortages, even with water production below the estimated demand of 105 MIGD.

Benefits gained by using WaterGEMS

Among the many benefits SEWA achieved:

• Dramatically reducing the number of complaints it receives – from 343 (2007) to 13 (2009), (i.e. 98% customer satisfaction rating)
• Supplying water at 22% below the calculated water demand without customer complaints
• Steadily reducing water leakage – from 18.7% to 11.6% to 8.9% of the supply
• Substantially saving man-hours required for maintenance processes;
• Improving engineering workflows empowered by the ability to locate the critical segments in the network, which facilitated rapid execution of projects by the engineering teams (e.g. teams would know in advance what valves to close for each broken pipe);
• Maintaining stable pressure in the supply network for the five zones of Sharjah City.

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