March 10, 2021 DataDigitalisationTechnology

Digital Water: Operational digital twins in the urban water sector

The need to handle increasing amounts of data while improving capital and operational efficiencies has directed the attention of the water sector towards advanced digital tools such as operational digital twins. Digital twins can be seen as combinations of models and real-time data that provide a digital representation of a specific part of the water system’s behaviour.

The aim of this white paper is to highlight how digital twins can help the water industry to improve performance of its infrastructure. The white paper presents two case studies where online digital twins are used for operational decision support: one in a sewer network and the other in a water resource recovery facility.

Report authors:

Borja Valverde-Pérez, Assistant Professor at Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
Bruce Johnson, Technology Fellow at Jacobs, USA
Christoffer Wärff, Industrial PhD student at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden / Lund University, Sweden
Douglas Lumley, Senior Advisor at Gryaab AB, Sweden
Elena Torfs, Assistant Professor at Department of Data analysis and Modelling, Ghent University, Belgium
Ingmar Nopens, Professor at Department of Data analysis and Modelling, Ghent University, Belgium
Lloyd Townley, Chief Scientist at Nanjing University Yixing Environmental Research Institute and Founder of Nanjing Smart Technology Development Co. Ltd, China


Image: Basic structure of a digital twin application, © IWA 2020

IWA Digital Water Programme

This paper is a part of a series of white papers under the IWA Digital Water Programme, which aims to generate and share knowledge on digitalisation of the water industry. The Programme acts as a catalyst for innovation, knowledge and best practice; and provides a platform to share experiences and promote leadership in transitioning to digital water solutions. By sharing experiences on the drivers and pathways to digital transformation in the water industry, the programme is consolidating lessons and guidance for water utilities to start or continue to build their journey towards digitalisation.

Learn more about the IWA Digital Water Programme.