In a recent
press release, PUB, Singapore's National Water Agency announced the
launch of its SMART PUB roadmap, aiming to digitalise
Singapore's entire water system to improve operational excellence and meet
future water needs. The move is part of PUB's continual investment in digital
solutions to achieve smarter water quality management, network improvements,
integrated customer engagements, and smarter work processes.
Propelled by increasing water demand,
rising operational costs, manpower constraints and new challenges like climate
change, PUB is leveraging digital solutions and smart technologies to
strengthen its operational resilience, productivity, safety, and security. The integration of Smart water
technology will be a key pillar in Singapore's water resource management to achieve
greater efficiencies, and faster response time in planning, operations, and service delivery.
Water Quality Management with Artificial Intelligence and Automation
PUB is exploring two key innovations for
remote water quality monitoring – the Remote Micro-Invertebrate Detector and
the Autonomous Boat.
The Remote Micro-Invertebrate Detector is
an in-house prototype, designed and developed by PUB's Water Quality
Department. The portable low-cost device is easily deployed onsite to provide
real-time detection and identification of images using Artificial Intelligence,
with split-second imaging to determine the presence of micro-invertebrates in the water samples. The unit is linked to a
mobile app and chat-bot, which allows the system to perform 24/7 real-time
testing of water samples onsite, respond to commands, send live image reports,
and trigger alerts when anomalies are detected. PUB targets to use this on a
larger scale by end 2020.
With desalination as one of Singapore's
four National taps, it is important for PUB to monitor the quality of seawater
intake to the plants. PUB is test-bedding the Autonomous Boat, which has the
capability to brave choppy waters to perform real-time water quality monitoring
via onboard sensors, collect water samples, and take photos and videos of
actual water conditions. Programmed to avoid obstacles in the water, the boat
is also able to self-navigate to the designated sampling points.
Network Improvements with Predictive Intelligence
PUB aims to take preventive measures to
improve the reliability of our network
system, improve incident response time and achieve better water savings by
focusing on integrating data streams. One of the key benefits will be a
Pre-emptive Leak Management System to detect potential pipe failures and
prevent pipe leaks. The use of analytics techniques will allow PUB to identify and prioritise these high-risk pipelines for renewal.
In addition, PUB is issuing a
Request-for-Proposals for smart sewer analytics and predictive management
capabilities to optimise PUB's sewer operations, maintenance, and
automate workflow processes. The objective of this system is to allow PUB to reduce service disruptions and help
manage resources for better service delivery.
Customer Engagement with Water Usage Data
To make water usage data readily accessible
for consumers from tap to app, PUB is exploring the use of Smart Water Meters,
in place of mechanical meters, progressively across the island. The Smart Water
Meters are designed to monitor and collect water consumption data. This will
enable PUB to provide consumers with
value-added services through a mobile customer app, such as understanding their
water usage and alerting households of
suspected water leaks. PUB also introduced the Smart Shower Devices to motivate
citizens to save water during showers; consumers can track real-time water
usage of their showers and set their own conservation goals via the mobile app
on their smartphones.
Work Redesign with Automation and Robotics
By streamlining work processes with
automation, drones, and robotics, PUB
aims to eliminate manual paper-intensive tasks, improve knowledge management,
while optimising workplace safety.
Automated Lab Analysis – PUB's
Automated Laboratory System (ALS) will be able to test two to three times more
samples in the same amount of time while operating
around-the-clock. The ALS automatically scans and records sample data based on
their QR codes, thereby reducing the need for manpower.
Virtual Reality training for
PUB Operators – PUB uses Virtual Reality (VR) to provide Water Reclamation Plant
operators with a realistic and immersive training experience of operating a
dewatering centrifuge. With the use of a VR headset and a pair of handheld
sensors, operators can start-up and shut-down the dewatering centrifuge and
perform checks as well as respond to abnormalities in a simulated environment.
PUB is also developing a
Building Information Model E-Checker to check building plan submissions. The software
will ensure building plans submitted by Qualified Persons (QPs) are compliant
with PUB requirements, thereby reducing the need for manual checking and