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Measuring flows of water in supply systems




The water utility company of Bilbao (Basque Country, north of Spain) has launched a challenge through an open-innovation platform. It deals with determining the magnitude of unregistered water that is lost in supply systems authorized for consumption for a better financial and environmental management. The potential solution will have to be developed via technological and/or research types of cooperation.



Unregistered water can either come from leakages or non-registered authorized consumption in supply systems. You can see an image in the attachments section that shows the structure of unregistered water.

Non-registered consumption occurs mainly in fire hydrants and underground hydrants installed in local supply systems. The former is used by firemen when extinguishing fires and the latter is related to watering, cleaning streets, and the like in the municipality. Bearing in mind that these installations do not have a measuring or controlling system, improper use of these is commonplace. At present, there is no algorithm or any other estimation procedure to calculate this flow of water.

The Water Council of Bilbao wishes to solve this situation through the detection of this authorised consumption in order to carry out an adequate use of the material and natural resources.” If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” to borrow the phrase of Lord Kelvin (Brithish physicist and mathemathician, 1824-19079).
The solution put forward involves the installation of some device capable of detecting the opening and closing of the valve. It will later send a signal to the control system in the Council together with a measurement of the opening time.

As the pressure in the area and the diameter of the pipe are available data, it is possible to estimate the volume of consumed water. The handicap lies in achieving a compact solution that is both economically viable and reliable in terms of the communication and the signals it emits. The benefits of reducing the authorized non-registered consumption of water can be summed up in:
• Less breakdowns in the hydrants,
• Less water consumption

This open-innovation initiative was designed by a regional development agency in the Basque Country (Spain) for the promotion of innovation in the local economy.
It is a meeting place where all sorts of organizations; public and private can publish a challenge that can be responded by startups, consolidated companies, individual entrepreneurs, SMEs, universities, technology centres and the like in an open-innovation scenario.

Schedule: submission of candidacies starting on 23rd October, deadline: 27th November. The winning company will develop a pilot project of € 15,000 at most for a period of 6 months. There is an information link with indications on how to proceed with potential solutions. It will be provided to interested candidates upon reception of EOIs.

Solutions may come from any other kind of organization worldwide in the form of a technology; commercial with technical assistance or a research type of agreement.

Partner expertise sought:

- Type of partner sought: The main development areas for technologies the challenge can accommodate are related to sensors, IOT, instrumentation, environment, communications…
It is preferable that candidates have some knowledge of water supply systems.
- Specific area of activity of the partner: The task of the partner sought is to develop partially or totally, a gadget that will measure the wasted water of the underground hydrants effectively and economically; a sustainable device.
It will have to send those values to the Bilbao Water Council daily. The communications network must be energy-saving and reliable.

Such a partner can be an SME, a startup, a university division, an engineering company … any organization involved in sensor science, environmental / communication / instrumentation technologies, IOT, among others.

The type of cooperation is flexible in principle, but as it involves a technological development, it will fall in the realm of a commercial agreement with technical assistance or a research agreement.
The water Council of Bilbao is open to further discuss the kind of agreement once it studies the submitted proposals.

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Communications & Networking \ Measurement, Testing & Standards \ Environment & Protecting Man \ Multimedia, Digital Content and Gaming \ Recycling & Waste Management \ TechUK Single Mapping, August 2014
ELECTRONICS, IT AND TELECOMMS / IT and Telematics Applications / Environment Management Systems / ELECTRONICS, IT AND TELECOMMS / Telecommunications, Networking / Signal Processing / MEASUREMENTS AND STANDARDS / Measurement Tools / Sensor Technology related to measurements
Water collection, treatment and supply
COMMUNICATIONS / Data Communications / Local area networks / INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS / Industrial Equipment and Machinery / Other industrial equipment and machinery


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