Get MAD to get smart: the manage-analyse-decide path to smart water utilities

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Smart Water Utilities
Smart Water Utilities

New book: Smart Water Utilities – Complexity Made Simple

Pernille Ingildsen and Gustaf Olsson

The new book ‘Smart Water Utilities – Complexity Made Simple’ by Pernille Ingildsen, now with Kalundborg Utility in Denmark, and her former mentor Gustaf Olsson, professor emeritus at Lund University in Sweden, combines a framework for creating smart water utilities able to capitalise on ever-growing data opportunities with inspirational case studies and perspectives to help prompt action in this direction.

According to the authors, the combination of better sensors and new water treatment technologies is a strong enabler for decentralised and diversified water treatment. Plants can be run with a minimum of personnel attendance. In the future, thousands of sensors in the water utility cycle will handle all the complexity in an effective way. In the book, the authors present a framework to enable the organisation and implementation of smart approaches in a water utility by providing an overview of supporting technologies and methods.

Much of the book sets out the authors’ framework for creating smart water utilities. The rationale behind the new mindset of ‘measure-analyse-decide’ is set out, followed by an explanation on each of these components. Measurement using sensors forms the foundation for the approach. Analysis of these measurements includes use of both mathematical models and performance assessments. This then paves the way for decisions – strategic ones, operational ones, and decisions that can be taken automatically.

This framework is complemented by eleven case studies. These contributed examples range from activities such as the real-time monitoring of the Ganges river basin to advanced wastewater treatment plant process control in Denmark.

The move to create smart water utilities is more than a technical exercise. It is one that needs to be shaped by vision. To feed this, the authors have gathered contributions from water sector figures who are working to promote innovation in the sector, with organisations and companies such as the Edison Electric Institute, Wetsus, the Smart Water Networks Forum, and the University of Queensland’s Advanced Water Management Centre represented.

Thoughts on the way ahead are brought together in the final chapter, with the authors concluding: ‘New challenges require new thinking, bold moves and hard work. So this is your call for action: this is not science fiction, it can happen today! It will take years, so we have to start today – keep pushing the boundaries!’

Paperback, 304 pages, May 2016. Price: £79. ISBN13: 9781780407579. eISBN: 9781780407586. IWA Publishing (


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For exclusive interviews with the authors, see:

From data to decisions - the real meaning of smart water utilities

The water utility challenge of turning data into decisions



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