Smart Water Projects

Water (and Waste)burst water main is fundamental to human life in cities. It is rated as top priority with food security and rising sea levels. Yet, water has a massive impact on the other two priorities. Water and waste are probably one of the most inefficient aspects of a city. Though it is highly political, 50%+ water leakage has become quite normal for many of our cities. London is no exception, its pipes are 150 years old and it spends £90M per year finding and mending leaks.

The work carried out under the theme of Smart Water is funded from many sources and is highly interdisciplinary; specifically we have close links with Imperial College’s Civil Engineering Dept. However, the overarching theme is to go beyond mere telemetry for water leak detection to developing fully distributed solutions the make water systems more sustainable.


  1. Intel ICRI Sustainable Connected Cities: examining how game theories can optimise the energy/water nexus in realistic settings. This is co-supervised with Ivan Stoianov, Civil Engineering.
  2. NEC Smart Water Lab: Co-I with Ivan Stoianov (PI), Civil Engineering, examining the technologies to dynamically reconfigure District Meter Areas (DMAs) using pressure and flow data.
  3. ICT Labs, Cyber-physical Systems Action Line: Intelligent Integrated critical Infrastructures for smarter future Cities (i3C): examining control and network protocols in water networks.
  4. Real-time Monitoring of urban water systems (2009-2015): with Ivan Stoianov sponsored by EPSRC funded Industrial Doctorate Centre for the Water Sector.
  5. PIPES (Personalised Information from Prioritised Environmental Sensing) (2002-2005): DTI funded project to provide timely, relevant information on water network infrastructure integrity. Autonomous AI techniques enabled the operation and connectivity of heterogeneous devices to self-organise, according to user priorities. With BT, Manchester Uni.  and Severn-Trent Water.


NEC Smart Water

  • What are the computing and control technologies required to route water around a city in exactly the same way as resilient network protocols route packets around a communications network?
  • Further can we build a scalable energy-neutral solution that can be retro-fitted to the current water infrastructure at low cost?

The sorts of outcomes one would expect from such work are:

  •  To produce algorithms, policies and protocols to effect real-time and near real-time control over wide area WSN and Internet networks.
  • Self-organising edge computing will allow the network to carry out adaptive sampling by learning what is being asked from the system as well as understanding the ‘normal’ water system behaviour. Edge processing minimises the data and hence communications between WSN and cloud to enable better cloud processing.
  • The system is also required to intelligently store sampling/actuation histories, depending on potential usage.
  • Networking reliability can be achieved by novel resilient protocols that route round failure and at the same time are able to avoid interference from other City radio networking systems.



WISDOM aims at integrating and demonstrating innovative ICT systems and services for efficient water use and reuse in order to improve household, business and societal awareness and induce changes in consumers’ behaviour and to enable innovative resource and demand management scheme and adaptive pricing incentives. See (
WISDOM is a project funded under the EU 7th Framework Program which started in February 2014 and will run for 3 years.

Water analytics and Intelligent Sensing for Demand Optimised ManagementThe WISDOM (Water analytics and Intelligent Sensing for Demand Optimised Management) project aims at developing and testing an intelligent ICT system that enables “just in time” actuation and monitoring of the water value chain from water abstraction to discharge, in order to optimise the management of water resources.The WISDOM project’s unique selling point is the combined use of three key elements: the adoption of a semantic approach that captures and conceptualizes holistic water management processes, including the associated socio-technical dimensions (social networks interactions with physical systems).The adoption of semantic modeling will enable to promote:

  • the (semi)automated control of the water system operation,
  • the computer-aided decision making for human intervention,
  • the data sharing among numerous components and tools, and
  • the integration of the water infrastructure functionalities,
  • the interfacing with other smart energy infrastructures and building systems.

The WISDOM project considers a holistic view of water management systems and processes across the entire water value chain, from abstraction to discharge as shown in Figure 1. Figure 2 expands on this by showing the relative costs of each are of the water value chain.Figure 1: Water Value Chain Graphical RepresentationFigure 2: Energy Cost vs Water Value Chain ProcessThe importance placed on the socio-technical dimensions of the water value chain is another key aspect of the WISDOM project. To this end, the influences of water customers’ usage characteristics and how they interact with the water network will be considered in the overall view of the water value chain.Pilots Projects – in Wales (United Kingdom) and La Spezia (Italy) will be used to show the benefits that the WISDOM system can bring in terms of; water network knowledge, demand management and resource management. A full-scale experimental facility in France (AQUASIM) will also be used to validate some of the services provided by the WISDOM solution before being installed, monitored and evaluated in the pilots projects.These results will be used to identify how the project can be replicated throughout all countries and differing European climatic areas. This will enable the development of effective business models for the implementation of the WISDOM system.WISDOM, is a research and demonstration project funded under the EU 7th Framework Program which started in February 2014 and will run for 3 years.WISDOM is a member of the ICT4Water Cluster ( consisting of ten projects, who all work on smart water technologies to ensure access to sufficient and clean drinking water for current and future generations.


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