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Project NEPTUNE: Real time anomaly management for water distribution systems

Decision support system

The Decision Support System Framework, designed as part of RPA3, seeks to design a conceptual framework for the implementation of a Decision Support System capable of supporting complex decision making to improve the operation of water supply and distribution systems. Furthermore, it attempts to develop a specification for the software engine that underpins the Decision Support System and coordinates asynchronous and real-time interaction between functional modules that can be combined to constitute the Neptune's Decision Support System to:

  • Provide maximum flexibility to academic partners for development/research;
  • Provide maximum benefit for industrial partners;
  • Facilitate the delivery of an integrated prototype application;
  • Employ a design-led approach driven by the needs of operators;
  • Be based upon sound industrial experience;
  • Optimise development time and resources;

The Decision Support System uses a two-stage approach to all water distribution related problems. Data collected from all the sensors is filtered initially by the system to remove all unnecessary information. The remaining data is presented to the operator to aid his analysis of situation and improve risk-based decisions. Using this technique together with intervention management procedures allows fast and reliable action plans to be made in order to resolve any technical difficulties.

Risk-based decision making

Risk-based decision making is based on data and information provided by the Decision Support System. Information is presented to the operator using a two-screen approach. The first (Master) screen displays the current state of the network and the alarm conditions, if any of these are available. The second (Slave) screen presents the Neptune-project specific outputs generated by the framework and associated tools.

Intervention management

Intervention management focuses on designing fully functional impact reduction strategies and incident isolation techniques to be used in the risk-based decision making process. Intervention management is divided into two stages:

  1. Incident isolation (primary-immediate interventions)
  2. Impact reduction (alternative interventions)

The first stage forms a situation report, analysing each event (pump failure / pipe burst), and presenting possible actions to be taken by an operator using a Decision Support System screen.

In the second stage, the possible actions are analysed, to detect any changes in the system and to find possible better solutions, in order to reduce the impacts on customers.