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SAID Project: Smart Water Management Systems

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Smart water resources systems require the integration of many complex physical processes. The SAID project addresses the implementation of innovative Decision Support Systems (DSS) in order to allow an integrated management of water resources in complex basins.

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Due to the complex interactions between society and water resource systems, as well as the rapidly increasing consumption of water, many countries are being forced to address the task of improving their level of water management planning and in the control of hydrological processes. In this context, Abengoa has been coordinating the SAID (SmArt water management with Integrated Decision support systems) project consortium since January 2014. This project has received support from the European Commission under FP7 Environment project (Grant agreement 619132), and involves eleven companies from Spain, Germany, Portugal and France.

The SAID project allows the management of complex basins to improve by means of using intelligent support systems for decision making in water management.

To sum it all up as simply as possible: The SAID project addresses the development, implementation, validation and integration of the most innovative Decision Support Systems (DSS) as the basis for smart water management systems that allow an integrated management of complex basins, thereby reducing the high investment required to implement DSS when current technology is used.

The Guadalhorce River Basin was selected as the demonstrator area for the SAID project.  Located in the province of Malaga, southern Spain, it is an ideal candidate to validate the methods and tools for smart water management as it is a complex river basin. The basin is comprised of three reservoirs, namely: Guadalteba, Guadalhorce and Conde del Guadalhorce. La Encantada dam is also found downstream which collects water from the three reservoirs and distributes it to supply the following uses:

  • An urban population of around 650,000 (rising to more than1.2 million in summer)
  • Irrigation
  • Tourism
  • Energy
  • Environment

This basin is subject to long drought periods that strongly affect the population water supply and irrigation. The area also has a strong tourist industry, which makes the water resources insufficient during peak seasons. Therefore, the basic water problems to which the Guadalhorce basin infrastructure is faced with are:

  • Urban water supply deficit
  • Leaks in water distribution networks for irrigation
  • High salinity due to the saline groundwater
  • Energy production in hydroelectric plants and consumption in pumping stations
  • Flood areas which have particular territorial effects with broad socio-economic and environmental impact.

The SAID project has involved improvements of wireless sensor networks being made and the reduction of economic losses due to flooding.

The impacts of the SAID project have been:

  • Improvements in the planning, design and building of wireless sensor networks with large area coverage, simple integration and management of heterogeneous communications networks.
  • Reduction of economic losses due to floods and energy consumption in water infrastructure operation.
  • Improvements to the socio-economic balance between demand and resources, supporting also water authorities so that they can make better decisions regarding water resources management, which means lower environmental costs and an overall effective ecosystem protection.

The SAID project ended in January 2017, and the results are showing the utility of wide development of software products for managing river basins and improving the DSS technologies for better water resources management.

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Antonio Linares Saez. Director of Water and Infrastructure Management at Abengoa

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