Abu Dhabi faces great challenges in accessing clean water, compounded by water shortages. To combat this, a strong focus on water supply efficiency has arisen. A concerted effort with AVK solutions targeting non-revenue water resulted in declined water loss from 45% to 10% in major Al Ain City areas.
The Abu Dhabi population relies solely on desalinated seawater for their daily needs. As such, enormous investments have been made to ensure a sufficient supply of water is available for up to 90 days should a drought or other emergency occur. Because desalination is a very costly process, it has been a key focus to reduce water loss where possible – in which some areas have recorded a high of 45% - to alleviate the situation.
The challenge: Innovative technologies to reduce water loss
The Abu Dhabi municipality commissioned NIRAS to create and implement a masterplan to take control over their non-revenue water. It was determined that new technologies forming an advanced water management system would be required to effectively reduce the water loss. These would equip water utilities with an overview and full control, including real time access to data and key performance indicators throughout a 24-hour cycle.
District Meter Areas
The first step was to implement a leakage management system. In respect to this, District Meter Areas (DMAs) were introduced which sectioned parts of Al Ain City. This enabled certain sections to be closed off independently, minimising impact to surrounding areas when repairing leakages. The controlled method required a shut-off valve to be installed at each section entrance.
Reliable and leak tight valves
Quality was key when selecting valves for the DMAs. Identifying leaks within becomes very difficult if the section is not closed off properly, thereby making it paramount that installed valves were 100% reliable and leak tight. The method behind locating leaks is to pressurise parts of the DMA then measure whether the pressure drops or holds. If the pressure drops it would indicate a leak, thus the importance of being certain that a valve separating the sections is not responsible for the leak and causing a decrease in pressure. An Abu Dhabi engineer expressed in these terms: “High quality, functional and operational valves are the backbone of any water distribution system”. The decision landed on AVK gate valves series 06.
In addition to forming District Meter Areas and installing AVK valves, metering equipment were fitted at pumping stations and end consumer locations to measure the use of water. By noticing a changed rate in water usage, this would help to identify possible leaks that emerge.
Identifying leaks by noise
The focus then shifted to locating leaks directly on a pipe. The solution was to use noise loggers and online hydraulic models which enabled the localisation of new leaks as they occurred. These noise loggers are enhanced up to 15,000 times to allow the slightest noise caused by leaks to be heard on the water line. It reports to the system any increased noise level that is detected in a given area, enabling a repair team to quickly investigate, locate and repair a leak. For this reason AVK products were chosen once again as we offer a complete solution with a valve; an extension spindle and street cover with room for an integrated noise logger.
The result: Complete, intelligent solutions
The project was an immense success. By partnering with AVK, NIRAS achieved a vital reduction in water loss. This achievement was met with tremendous satisfaction by the Abu Dhabi municipality, who then called for an expanded project to follow.
In line with this project, AVK and other leading companies in water supply – NIRAS, Grundfos, Schneider Electric, Kamstrup and Leif Koch – have formed a partnership to present complete, intelligent solutions to assist parts of the world suffering from water shortage and loss.