Is ‘bad’ data stopping utilities automating water networks?

30 Jun 2023

“Our Data isn’t good enough to use for analysis, garbage in, garbage out”. Or more eloquently put: 

“’Pray, Mr Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”

Charles Babbage (invented the principle of the analytical engine).

Of course, we wouldn’t argue with Mr Babbage. However, phrases like this applied incorrectly can lead water network operators to misconceptions about what level of data is required to provide benefits from analytics and network modelling. I’ll let Mr Babbage clarify himself…

“Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.”

Also, Charles Babbage.

Better Water Network and Asset Performance

In reality, asset and water network modelling, management and control should be measured not only by the performance in relation to the optimum performance but also compared with the performance you would have had without using any data at all. Even working without ‘great’ data, modelling, management and control performance with ‘some’ data will most likely be better than not doing it at all. Start with better, work your way towards great. 

If your water network data really is that inadequate that it can only lead to worse performance, then have a strategy for using your data that includes improving it. Make plans that have a number of milestones along the way. The point at which your data will become useful may be much earlier in your plan than you think!

Service Solutions for Water Network Modelling and Control

If you already have a strategy but it isn’t working, then do something different. Have you considered Data as a Service (DaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) approaches? Consider what outcome you are trying to achieve and pay for that outcome, without having to do half of the job yourself. 

At SUEZ, we are able to provide tailored solutions to the water industry for; network data collections and collation, presentation and analytics, hydraulic model creation and model maintenance, and optimisation of network planning and control. We can use the data and models that you have (even if it’s not perfect) and help you to make significant progress, using the most advanced analytical engines available. We can also help you to improve the data you have, by providing DaaS; while also providing the key insights that actually help you make better decisions. And we can help you to use all of those insights by automating water network modelling and control. 

Don’t let your data hold you back, use it to progress! 

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