As part of our WaterTalk lecture series professor Max Maurer, head of the Urban Water Management Department at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology (Eawag), presents, "Data instead of concrete? Exploring the potential of digitalization in urban drainage."
Coffee and light refreshments will be provided.
Urban drainage is a static business relying on peak flow estimations and safety factors for their design. This generates large spare capacities that are only utilized fully every few years. Operators generally have very little information about the current performance of their infrastructures and focus on maintenance. Can we increase performance by intelligently using sensor information instead of building new structures? Can we use sensor data instead of concrete to improve performance?
In order to answer this question, we are in the process of building up an Urban Water Observatory (UWO) in a small Swiss catchment. The technical backbone is a low power wireless network standard (LoRaWAN) to transmit data into a specifically built data warehouse. As a consequence, the corresponding sensors have a battery-running life of two years and still communicate directly out of the sewer.
The talk will present some of the experience and results we had so far with this unique, real-life, but still experimental facility and discuss the challenges and chances our profession faces with digitalization.
Max Maurer is a scientist with a current research focus on water infrastructure management, on infrastructure transition management and modular urban water management. As professor for Urban Water Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich he is the director of the Institute of Environmental Engineering and is also heading the department Urban Water Management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology (Eawag).
With a background in chemical engineering he worked since 1992 at ETH, Northwestern University and Eawag on biological and chemical processes in wastewater treatment and novel concepts for urban water management. From 2001 to 2007 he was in the project management of the award winning project Novaquatis that developed a fundamental novel approach to urban water management. Current research projects are focusing on guiding existing water infrastructures into a sustainable future and to investigate the large scale applicability of modular (decentralized) wastewater treatment.