Valve software goes with the flow

MWH Soft has developed a computer program for Thames Water to analyse the impact of closing each of tens of thousands of valves across the company’s water network.

Rob Casey, Thames Water’s strategic network performance manager based at Bourne End, near Slough, explained: ‘Our ‘valve criticality’ project was set up to identify the valves in the network which are vital in ensuring a high quality supply to our customers, so we can gauge the impact of closure in an emergency or during maintenance.

‘It is not always obvious which valves are the most critical within a supply network. To try and identify these by analysing the tens of thousands of valves in the system using conventional modelling software would have been a hugely time consuming task.’

MWH Engineers, based at the company’s offices in High Wycombe, liaised with the MWH Soft product development team in the US to adapt the existing InfoWater Protector software extension for Thames Water.

Mike Morrisroe, MWH water networks manager said: ‘What we have produced is one of the most advanced mathematical models of pipe networks available, it is like a flight simulator for the whole of the Thames Water network, which serves around 13 million people, showing the consequences of valve closure or failure.

‘This provides the company with the information it needs to make decisions on valve closures as a result of maintenance or emergencies, which will have the minimum impact on supply. It also means they can structure the valve maintenance schedule to focus first on those that are most critical to the network.’

Although originally designed for Thames Water the new InfoWater Valve Criticality Modelling module is now available as part of the InfoWater Suite package and has since been used by MWH on projects for Scottish Water.