Its Kielder reservoir is the largest man-made reservoir in Northern Europe. In total, Northumbrian Water Group has more than 25,000km of water mains, 57 water treatment works, and 338 water service reservoirs.
First water utility in the European Community to implement SUEZ AQUADVANCED® Energy software throughout its network, NWS targets sustainable energy cost savings as well as operational efficiencies and water quality improvements.
The utility group saw SUEZ’s AQUADVANCED® Energy as a means to achieving all of it. As the largest project carried out by SUEZ to date at the time, AQUADVANCED® Energy deployment would result in energy cost savings for NWG of around £1 million a year, mostly through more efficient pump scheduling.
With energy being the second highest cost after labour for a water utility, AQUADVANCED® Energy also provided highly accurate state-of-the-art modelling, outputting data that could be used to negotiate more favourable terms in long-term energy contracts. Furthermore, projections showed there would be operational benefits from being able to support individual operators with a powerful software tool designed to enable consistent and predictable operation.
Northumbrian Water’s Network Control Manager, Mick Baker, confirmed that AQUADVANCED® Energy delivered.
According to Baker, “I think the energy cost savings from AQUADVANCED® Energy tend to be highlighted because these savings can be quantified and at a Board level drive acceptance of the business case… But it is about a lot more than just energy optimization. The other less tangible benefits of AQUADVANCED® Energy — such as better water quality and more consistent operational control — are making a major impact.”
Change was a major challenge. Implementing a whole new system required significant cultural shifts within the company, which influenced how they viewed and operated both treatment plants and the water network as a whole. Facing 12 operators who each have network control, AQUADVANCED® Energy also proved itself to be a powerful means of ensuring operations consistency — steadying network performance, enhancing reservoir management and turnover, and thus improving water quality. The software analysed in real-time and processed an optimum network solution every 30 minutes, increasing efficiency.