Technological mastery of water distribution and wastewater collection on the scale of a capital city could be a remake of the blockbuster “The Matrix”!
However, we’re not talking about a science fiction movie script here, but the culmination of innovative experimentation. Explanation.
In Prague in a large room full of computers, technicians monitor and control the distribution of 114.5 million cubic meters of drinking water for a population of 1.2 million people!
Providing a reliable water supply on the scale of a city of 1.24 million people is always going to be a challenge. Ensuring everyone has access to drinking water, repairing the system as quickly as possible, keeping the public informed – it isn’t a hit or miss affair. It requires an ideally integrated infrastructure to enable dispatchers to react appropriately.
This development follows a recent trend: make the most heavily populated cities smarter and so manage them better. The water management center opened by Veolia in 2002 in the business district of Shanghai, Pudong, is one example: it now optimizes water delivery to 3.6 million people.
In Prague, the vast water control center looks like something out of a futuristic movie
Rolled out in Prague in 2014, SWiM version 5 has taken the Czech capital to the 3.0 age. The central idea: provide continuous supervision of the infrastructure, while also providing information and ensuring an ongoing dialogue with the public.
On entering the SWiM monitoring and control center, the huge monitors and the dimness of the room are impressive. It’s a huge room, where dispatchers manage the distribution of 114.5 million cubic meters of drinking water, spread over a network of 3,495 km serving 109,459 supply points (water meters).
Real-time information and reactivity
The slightest incident flashes up on the screen and a response team is immediately dispatched to track down the problem. The public is kept informed on the SWiM website via alerts sent by text - access to information that is particularly appreciated. They can even see the progress of the operation on a map of Prague. Time savings on repairs are around 40 minutes.
SWiM agents make very precise checks on not only the quality of the drinking water and its optimum distribution but also on wastewater management by monitoring the condition of the pipes.
With World Water Day looming, whose theme this year is ‘Water and Sustainable Development’, SWiM demonstrates it has the ability to master the consumption of a scarce resource - water.
Main picture: Prague’s Charles bridge - Copyrights: Getty image