Bentley tackles GCC floods

Bentley discusses its latest modelling products for an integrated management of the entire urban water lifecycle that advances the design and construction of water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure.

Malcolm Walter chief operating officer and senior vice president, Bentley System
Malcolm Walter chief operating officer and senior vice president, Bentley System

You have been involved in water, waste water and stormwater modelling and analysis, what are the latest innovations from Bentley?

The latest releases of Bentley’s modelling products provide for the truly integrated management of the entire urban water lifecycle, thereby advancing the design and construction of water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure.

Our products enable a paradigm shift from planning, designing, and building this infrastructure to operating and maintaining it to optimise rehabilitation strategies and prioritise investments, find and manage leaks, manage energy consumption, maintain assets, enhance operational workflows, and provide predictive analytics for better decision making.

Some examples of our products include WaterGEMS and SCADAConnect Simulator, which bring the hydraulic models to the control and operational room integrating available SCADA data and enabling simulations and predictions, and adequate response to emergency situations.

Bentley’s SewerGEMS and CivilStorm software includes low-impact development modelling capabilities to analyse the effects of LIDs, such as green roofs, detention and infiltration areas, storage chambers, and so on, to make sewer collection and stormwater networks more resilient on climate change and prevent CSOs and SSOs while improving their conveyance and capacity.

Bentley’s recent innovations to our mobility solutions enable the exportation of all hydraulic models and results into Bentley i-models that can be viewed on portable and mobile devices, giving field staff the ability to view information on the jobsite.

Bentley is also continuing its strong commitment to interoperability. Our latest modelling software can operate in stand-alone mode and can be fully integrated within a MicroStation, Autodesk, or ArcGIS platform, allowing infrastructure owner-operators, EPCs, and consulting firms to exchange data and models efficiently.

In addition to water, wastewater, and stormwater modelling products, we offer a product for predictive operational analytics called AssetWise Amulet. This versatile product provides the ability to configure many parameters that play a role in the demand for water consumption or stormwater handling. As a result of the analysis done by this product, water companies can reduce costs and risks and increase service availability. Amulet is a comprehensive decision support system for collecting, calculating, analysing, and visualising real-time and historical data. It uses information from both information technology and operational technology to make the most of information from a multitude of sources (CRMs, operational data accessed sensors, or SCADA systems). This gives complete visibility into the operational performance and efficiency of the organisation, highlighting what needs to improve, where and how. Predictive analytics allows forecasts to be made to promote proactive action before events or failures occur. Amulet comprises several key features that allow for the full aggregation, analytics, and reporting of operational performance on a right-time basis.

What is your observation and analysis of existing challenges in the GCC that need to leverage these kinds of innovations?

The existing challenges in all GCC countries can be summarised as; limited water resources and increasing water scarcity due a growing population and urbanisation, inefficient water use in the agriculture and municipal sectors, an increased demand on limited resources and lack of quality water services due to urbanisation.

The challenges also include depletion of groundwater quantity and quality, which impacts municipal water supply, agricultural productivity, and ecosystems, inefficient sewer collection and treatment systems, and stormwater conveyance systems which all require the need for institutional and individual capacity building to efficiently use technologies and solutions.

Have you been able to apply these solutions successfully in some countries?

We have successfully applied these innovations in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, as well as other countries in the region such as Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. Amulet is being used in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia.

Do you have any case studies to share with us?

The Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (SEWA) is managing the water supply network of Sharjah city in UAE, ensuring long-term availability of safe and reliable drinking water services to its population. Increasing population, urban development, and migration are driving the demand for potable water and the size and capacity of installations, such as production and distribution capacities. SEWA utilised Bentley’s WaterGEMS to facilitate the process of managing and planning the SEWA water supply network using hydraulic modelling, scenario analysis, and optioneering for master planning to ensure efficient water supply capacity and pressure within the water distribution network. The hydraulic model will further be used for leakage detection and network operations.

Two interesting case studies highlighting our Amulet offering include South Australia Water and Anglian Water (UK). SA Water chose Amulet as its commercial operational intelligence platform. The platform consisted of three separate systems that were rolled out in stages. This provided SA Water with the ability to combine IT and operational data to predict water usage, distribution, and electricity use. The system saved SA Water $2.15mn in energy costs in the 2013-2014 financial year and $0.573mn on network operations costs. Anglian Water used Amulet to reduce reactive work and efficiencies, establish the ability to create what-if scenarios to predict the effects on work crews, and realise complete visibility about the real-time performance of the network.

Who are the main beneficiaries of these solutions from Bentley?

These innovations have benefitted central and local governmental organisations, municipalities, infrastructure owners and operators such as DEWA, SEWA, ADDC, Transco, PAEW, Kahramaa, and Ashghal, EPCs, consulting companies, research, and educational institutes.

These innovations are already being applied throughout the GCC countries. Many are employing these innovations in the same manner as SA Water and Anglian Water, which have contributed to reduced costs and increased service availability.

What are the cost savings associated with implementing these solutions (for both consumers and service providers)?

Cost savings include reducing non-revenue water and water loss by 10 to 20%; improving efficiency in planning, designing, building, and operating and maintaining the infrastructure; pumping energy savings of 10%; better demand forecasting; and matching the demand with the supply. These solutions also reduce the risk of sewer and storm water infrastructure overflows and damage to properties and businesses, all while helping to prevent loss of life.

For consumers, the net result is an uninterrupted water supply, and for the service provider it can mean a 5% reduction in energy and operating costs.

The GCC has over the years grappled with the problem of flooding resulting from heavy rains, causing stormwater that affects sewer systems. This problem has persisted despite heavy investments in engineering solutions. Can your innovations provide a lasting solution to this problem?

Flooding and flooding risk are not limited to the GCC countries. These are worldwide problems that affect both developed and developing countries. Due to climate change, more extreme and variable rainfall events are occurring. That, combined with increased urbanisation, land-use changes, and inadequate stormwater infrastructure, significantly increase flooding risk. Technology and engineering solutions alone cannot fully solve flooding problems. There is a need for a holistic flood-risk management plan that consists of hard engineering measures, but that also can be combined with soft non-structural measures such as implementing flood forecasting and warning systems, deploying mobile flood defences, adequate emergency planning and response, education and training, and better collaboration and communication among the different governmental bodies and stakeholders.

A significant part of the development of a flood-risk management plan involves properly assessing the risks of flooding for the different regions, and rural and urban areas. Flood risks must be correctly assessed for different rainfall events and flood design return periods. Modelling is playing an important role in developing different scenarios by computing flood inundation maps and assessing the capacity of the existing and forthcoming stormwater infrastructure.

Bentley CivilStorm, StormCAD and HEC-Pack can be used to simulate and assess capacity of the stormwater infrastructure and, where needed, evaluate different scenarios of how such flooding can be reduced using different engineering measures, such as optimal design of the infrastructure, use of detention and attenuation storages, use of LID measures on the catchment (Wadi) areas, assessing the sensitivity of the maintenance condition of the infrastructure, and so on.

On the other hand properly mapping the vulnerability of flooding is of key importance. Here, Bentley geospatial and mapping technology, such as Bentley Map, OpenUtilities, Geospatial Server, and ProjectWise, can be used to create vulnerability maps using cadastral data, census maps, urban development maps, and maps that detail the potential damages to businesses, infrastructure, and properties. By overlaying the flood inundation or capacity maps with the flood vulnerability maps, one can correctly estimate and assess potential flood risks (in monetary or other value) for different rainfall events (intensities, durations, and frequencies).

How can your innovations be customised to cope with stormwater variability in the GCC in order to guarantee a permanent solution?

We have built stormwater modelling products that have the robustness and the capability for incorporating, simulating and comparing a large number of scenarios, taking into account the stormwater variability based on different IDF curves (measured, statistical, or synthetic), and taking into account the different projected climate-change scenarios by IPPC. Incorporating radar data feeds, which provide very accurate short-term spatio-temporal rainfall variability into the stormwater models, is highly recommended. Bentley’s Amulet platform can also be used to assess all available data feeds such as weather forecasts, radar data feeds and telemetry data from rain gauges and hydrometric stations, offering repository and dashboard applications to get a much better insight into the stormwater variability and system capacity.

Is it possible to integrate your solutions with smart city infrastructure initiatives?

Absolutely. Our products always offer ways to interoperate with other systems. First, Bentley supports 3D BIM processes in engineering infrastructure, including buildings, plant, roads, rail, and networks. Second, we participate in international standardisation organisations that aim to facilitate the exchange or integration of data with other systems. There will never be one single system that ‘does it all’ but we aim to remain a leading BIM supplier, delivering world-class solutions for smart cities. We are one of the contributors to Masdar City, just to give an example of our commitment to a sustaining and smart environment.

How best can these innovations lead to improved water supply, treatment and management in the GCC?

Many infrastructure owner-operators, EPCs, and consulting companies are using Bentley modelling solutions to ensure safe and reliable water supply, treatment, and management in the GCC countries.

Apart from the water modelling products, we also offer treatment plant engineering design, enterprise information management, contract management, GIS technology, and asset performance software that all contribute to improved efficiency. We enable water and wastewater companies to follow the UK standards for engineering and construction (BIM) and asset performance (AMP6). The same standards for creating and maintaining networks would be useful in the GCC.


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