Dubai: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is investing in its advanced smart grid and the latest technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to enhance its leadership and global excellence in water network losses and is surpassing its global counterparts. In 2021, DEWA's water network losses decreased to 5.3 per cent. This is one of the best records globally and compares favourably to North America, where water losses are around 15 per cent.
DEWA adopts pressure management and district metered systems to identify areas with leaks. For non-visible leaks, it uses automation and digital transformation projects, acoustic technology (noise loggers, ground microphones, correlators and hydrophones) and helium gas technology used in distribution pipelines to detect these in the water network. From 2013 to 2021, 7,008 leaks were detected, which saved 4,069.93 million gallons and Dh162.8 million.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, highlighted that the organisation applies the best global practices in all its projects to raise production and operational efficiency. DEWA has achieved substantial savings in developing the water network to promote its effectiveness and reliability as well as raise the water flow to meet the comprehensive development needs as well as the growing demand. It provides its services to more than a million customers in Dubai according to the highest standards of availability, reliability, and efficiency. DEWA's current capacity has reached 13,417 MW of electricity and 490 MIGD of water.
"We strive to fulfil the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to develop Dubai's competitive abilities further and strengthen its position internationally. We prepare for the future with scientific planning and innovation, using the latest technologies in the generation, transmission, distribution, and control of water networks. We also develop innovative experiences to raise the efficiency and reliability of electricity and water networks to meet the growing demand in Dubai. This enhances Dubai's social and economic growth," added Al Tayer.
Smart Distribution Management System
The Smart Distribution Management System supports the real-time detection, location and management of infrastructure failures in the water distribution network, thus decreasing the Unaccounted For Water (UFW) for the distribution network spanning 4,600 kilometres.
In 2014, DEWA launched the first phase of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Centre for water transmission at its Sustainable Building in Al Quoz. This is part of its efforts to achieve digital transformation using state-of-the-art operational technology. This enables it to monitor the water network in Dubai remotely around the clock, including the water transmission pipelines, pumping stations and reservoirs sprawling over 2,300km. This has been done by installing over 8,500 smart devices. DEWA is currently implementing the second phase of the system to include the water distribution pipelines and regularly expanding the transmission network.
DEWA developed its Hydronet project to use AI and Deep Learning. Hydronet has saved Dh5.3 million annually by remotely monitoring and controlling the water network in Dubai. The project can be integrated with any SCADA system and provides real-time insights into the current state of the network. It can also fix leaks in seconds without human intervention. This increases the efficiency of the water network and the pipeline isolation in Dubai, saving time and effort. The project has won the Silver Team Idea of the Year Award at Ideas America 2020.
The Water Smart Distribution Management System increases the visibility and management of its water distribution network. It also improves the automation, efficiency of operations, reliability of water supplies, and DEWA's excellence worldwide in reducing water losses. It has a centralised around the clock system for remote control and monitoring, as well as innovative smart equipment and systems. The system also uses Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) installed at interconnections between the transmission and distribution pipelines. In addition, it is linked with an advanced water SCADA and hydraulic-management systems. The system will improve fault location, isolation and lower costs.
Smart ball leak detection technology
DEWA adopts the smart ball leak detection to detect invisible water leakages in transmission pipelines that are hard to detect or reach. The technology has saved 68.45 million gallons and Dh2.74 million since its implementation in April 2021.
The total investment in DEWA's Smart Grid programme is upwards of Dh7 billion. A Smart Grid provides advanced features that include interoperability across the entire electricity and water network. It is an integral part of DEWA's strategy to develop state-of-the-art infrastructure for managing facilities and services according to smart and integrated systems using disruptive technologies and Fourth Industrial Revolution applications. DEWA's Smart Grid Strategy 2021 - 2035 includes six main themes: Foundational Capabilities; Grid Automation; Smart Energy Solutions and Green Mobility; Smart Water; Smart Grid Artificial Intelligence; and Innovative Value-Added Services. To achieve the short-term goals of its Smart Grid Strategy 2014-2035, DEWA replaced all its mechanical water meters with smart ones in 2020. It also started operating the Smart Meters Analysis and Diagnosis Centre, where 879,000 smart meters are read and monitored remotely every 15 minutes.
This helps DEWA improve the meter readings availability to 99.9 per cent. Remote control of smart meters also identified and handled 457,233 water leakage reports, 16,103 defects, and 7,974 cases of increased load over the past three years. The number of water accounts reached 960,032 accounts by the end of 2021 compared to 666,006 accounts by the end of 2016; an increase of 44 per cent. The total number of electricity and water accounts reached 2,021,508 accounts by the end of 2021.