By : Mohamed El Kholy
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) continues its efforts to expand and develop its water networks to keep pace with the rapid growth and development of Dubai. The length of pipelines in the water network has quadrupled from 3,349.88 kilometres in 1992 to 15,948 kilometres. The storage capacity of water in Dubai also increased from 38 million gallons in 1992 to 815 million gallons today, which is an increase of 20.44%. DEWA will increase the storage capacity to 1,002 million gallons this year.
In 2014, DEWA launched the first phase of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) centre for water transmission at DEWA’s 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 2,300 kilometres. This is 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.
HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, said that 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%. 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.
Through the smart meters, DEWA enables customers to monitor their water and electricity consumption digitally and proactively without needing to contact DEWA, as part of the Smart Living initiative. The initiative includes a suite of awareness and incentive programmes to rationalise electricity and water use and find solutions to any problems and constraints that increase waste or overuse. One example is the ‘My Sustainable Living Programme’ which enables customers to compare their consumption with that of similar homes, and to benefit from the offers provided by DEWA Store, to enhance control over consumption, and use energy- and water-saving devices. The Smart Living initiative has achieved significant results. Some 900,000 customers have benefited from the initiative since its launch in July 2020 to 30 April 2021.
DEWA’s Smart Response initiative, available in five languages, provides customers with information and tools to improve the availability of supply and enhance the quality of life. It provides a better customer experience by making it easier to report electricity and water technical interruptions, fixing them and simplifying the accuracy and ease of reporting. It also enables them follow-up on their report status. The Smart Response also enables customers to do self-diagnosis using DEWA’s smart app and increasing the response rate using Artificial Intelligence (AI), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Virtual Reality and the automatic task distribution system. This is in addition to notifying customers proactively in case of potential water leakage, to verify them and take the necessary action.
The initiative has reduced the number of steps required to fix interruptions from 10 steps to only 1 step as well as reducing the number of field visits by DEWA’s technicians by 56% and reducing the duration of fixing interruptions by 43%. This has increased the service quality by 93% and customers’ trust by 94%. Stakeholders’ happiness with the initiative reached 96% whilst technical water complaints decreased by 42% between 2013 and 2020, from 1.63% to 0.94%.
High-Water Usage Alert
Through the Smart Response service, the High-Water Usage Alert initiative helps customers find leaks in their water connections after the meter. The system sends instant notifications to the customer if there is an unusual increase in consumption, to check the internal connections and repair any leaks with the help of a specialist technician. This contributes to reducing incurred costs by limiting water wastage. More than 287,000 accounts have benefited from the service since its launch in May this year. The service saved more than 5.77 billion gallons of water and saved customers over AED 317 million.
DEWA developed its Hydronet project to use AI and Deep Learning. Hydronet has saved AED 5.3 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 on 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.
Awards and achievements
DEWA’s water network losses have dropped from 42% in 1988 to 5.1% today, which is one of the lowest percentages worldwide. DEWA won the Hamdan bin Mohammed Programme for Government Services Flag in 2020 for its Smart Living initiative.
It also won a Global Business Excellence Award for Outstanding Innovation from Awards Intelligence in the UK for the Smart Living initiative.
In 2019, DEWA received the Green Champion of Water Efficiency award at the International Green Apple Awards. DEWA became a member of the ‘Leading Utilities of the World’ (LUOW) network, which is the Gold Standard for utility performance. This shows DEWA’s global position as one of the best utilities worldwide. DEWA also won the Smart Water Company Award of the Year at the Global Water Awards 2018.