Cities, Integrated water resources management, Research & development, Technology & innovation

How to enhance operational efficiency in managing water systems

Dam with flowing water

Real-time operation of water infrastructure is an important element in managing water systems. What do we mean by ‘managing water systems’? This includes, but is not limited to, the operation of river and reservoir systems for flood control, irrigation and hydropower production, and operation of urban drainage systems for storm and wastewater management.

Traditionally, real-time operation of such systems is carried out using rule-based control of individual controllable elements. There is a significant potential for enhancing the operational efficiency of water systems by global, system-wide optimisation of all control structures.

Developing real-time control solutions to tackle water problems

In an on-going R&D project, a new technology is being developed that solves large system-wide optimisation and control problems in real-time. The technology is based on a Model Predictive Control (MPC) framework that uses a dynamic model of the system to optimise the operations. The framework ensures transparent and cost-efficient solutions for implementation in real-time forecasting and operation systems. The generic basis of the MPC technology allows us to efficiently develop real-time control solutions for a wide range of different types of water problems.

The technology has been demonstrated with a prototype real-time forecasting and operations system of the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales, Australia. With the new system, the irrigation scheduling in the Murrumbidgee River is optimised in order to support three major irrigation areas as well as over 700 individual users along the 1300 km river. In addition, the optimisation ensures that other operational goals in terms of environmental flow requirements and minimisation of losses of water are met.

Burrinjuck Dam, one of the dams supplying water for the Murrumbidgee River system. © DHI

Want to know more?

To learn more about the project, read the research article produced by our experts that was published by Procedia Engineering Journal for the 12th International Conference on Hydroinformatics 2016.

About the authors

Henrik Madsen
Research and Development Area Manager, Water Resources
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Henrik manages DHI’s R&D activities within water resources. His main fields of research include hydrological modelling and forecasting, water resources management, extreme value analysis, stochastic modelling, and climate change impact and adaptation analysis. He has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed international journal publications.

Anne Katrine Falk
Senior Researcher, Applied Mathematics, Water Resources
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Anne Katrine has more than 15 years of experience in research and implementation of state-of-the-art mathematical methods into DHI’s software portfolio. Her main field of research include model-predictive control, optimisation, data assimilation, stochastic modelling and uncertainty analysis.