Intelligent Water Pipeline Monitoring

Intelligent Water Pipeline Monitoring

Learning from their lessons after three pipeline breaks in close succession and proximity led a change to Las Vegas on how to monitor their water management. By installing smart pressure monitoring devices to understand why.

The Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) has been delivering quality, reliable drinking water to one of the world’s most dynamic desert communities for more than 60 years. A not-for-profit utility, LVVWD began providing water in 1954 to a service area of around 45,000 residents. Over the past 65 years, through periods of extraordinary growth and community development, LVVWD has been building and responsibly maintaining the city’s water delivery system, serving customers and using sustainable technologies such as solar power and alternative-fueled fleets to increase efficiencies and manage the costs of water delivery in the desert.

Strategically situated throughout the valley today are 79 reservoir basins and tanks that collectively hold nearly a billion gallons of water and 54 pumping stations with the capacity to move more than one million gallons of water per minute. LVVWD manages this complex water distribution system to deliver water to more than 1.5 million people in Las Vegas and surrounding areas.

The vast labyrinth of more than 6,500 miles of water mains and service lines — ductile iron, steel, cast iron, copper tubing, and C900 PVC — connect the community’s water supply to nearly 400,000 homes and businesses.

The non-profit WaterStart was established in 2013 to provide channels for innovative solutions-based technologies to reach the market. In partnership with WaterStart, LVVWD pilot tests the emerging technologies in real-world conditions, providing feedback as needed on the technology’s performance. Through this partnership, LVVWD was introduced to Syrinix, makers of intelligent water and wastewater pipeline monitoring equipment.

The user-friendly technology seemed easy to install with nearly instant actionable data, and in March 2016, LVVWD deployed 10 Syrinix PIPEMINDER smart pressure monitors around the Las Vegas valley to evaluate the technology and gain insights into pressure transient conditions. These devices, about the size of a paperback book, were installed on 1/4” service connections and fire hydrants. The units were configured to monitor continuously at 128 samples per second and to summarize the minimum, mean and maximum pressure. The device takes a pressure reading, transmits the pressure data through cellular signals to RADAR, Syrinix’s cloud-based portal, for data analysis. Available online and accessible on tablets and phones, RADAR provides rich data analysis and reporting on demand. Before deploying the PIPEMINDER units, there was no way for LVVWD to accurately measure a transient; however, with technology like this, any changes in pressure could be monitored in hundredths of a second.

After a week of monitoring, there were clearly visible transient patterns. When the recorded transient data was overlaid with the utility SCADA system data, it was immediately visible that the transient activity correlated with valve operation activity within the network.