Dave's Smart Blog

Hi, I’m Dave Hurley and I am the AVK UK Smart Water Director. My role is to work with water companies, their consultants and contractors, and other manufacturers to create smart water networks. 07-07-2021

Several UK water companies are currently trialling AVK UK’s smart water products on their networks. This blog follows the trial being undertaken by Hafren Dyfrdwy in Wrexham.

Firstly, a bit of background. VIDI is the brand name for AVK UK’s range of smart water sensors and the associated cloud platform that stores the data transmitted by the sensors. Most water companies stream this data into their management systems.

If you’ve never been to Wrexham, it is an old market town in North Wales. It has a population of around 65,000 and is about 15 miles southwest of Chester.

Wrexham’s water distribution network is managed by Hafren Dyfrdwy. The network includes a ring main that runs around the town. Hafren Dyfrdwy is trialling VIDI smart water technology to increase the operational visibility of the ring main, and monitor and improve its performance.

There are many hydrants on the ring main. In Phase One of the trial I have installed VIDI pressure, flow and temperature sensors on eight hydrants and two kiosk tapping nodes.

The first task with any smart water technology installation is making sure the communications are working. VIDI sensors can transmit data using IoT (Internet of Things), low-cost digital technologies.
In Wrexham, I am using a wireless LoRaWAN network. LoRaWAN connects the battery-powered VIDI sensors to the VIDI Cloud via the internet. The ‘LoRa’ in LoRaWAN stands for ‘long range’. A LoRaWAN network consumes very little power. This means data can be transmitted numerous times throughout the day with minimal impact on battery life. Batteries last for a minimum of 10 years.
LoRaWAN is an open global standard meaning that different manufacturers can access it. 

With the communications set up and tested, the sensors have begun transmitting data to Hafren Dyfrdwy’s engineers. Whilst it is early days, the sensors are already providing data that will indicate, in almost real time, if there is a pipe burst on the network and where it is.

Over time, the sensors will enable Hafren Dyfrdwy’s engineers to track comparative flow data. For example, the flow this Monday compared to last Monday, or the flow this January compared to last January. The engineers will be able to set up alerts based on variations in the data.

The Hafren Dyfrdwy team has been really supportive in creating the smart network. In particular, Andy Jervis (DST* Team Manager) worked to identify the projects; Mark Jervis (Leakage Manager) installed LoRa devices in the field; and, Tom Buchanan (Senior EICA** Technician) helped with the installation of communication gateways.

In my next blog, I’ll cover Phase Two of the trial. Phase Two includes installing additional sensors to provide greater coverage. The variety of sensors will also be extended with position (0-100% and open/closed) and level sensors being added.

If you have any questions about the trial, the products being used or any other aspect of smart water networks, email me at dahu@avkuk.co.uk (or simply click on my contact details) or telephone me on 07983 706675 

Till next time, da bo am y tro!

* Distribution System Technician
**Electrical, Instrumentation, Control and Automation


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