Discharge data is playing a valuable role in strengthening water management in the Netherlands. High-quality, up-to-date data about the cubic meters of water that a waterway transports per hour increases insight into the functioning of the water system. Moreover, that data explains the behavior of water.
The Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority is therefore working together with Nortek to improve the flow rate data collection process. This takes place at important water supply and discharge points along rivers, canals, waterways, and streams. How? With a new generation of mobile discharge measuring stations that automatically distribute the water data in a closed network. Results? Fewer disruptions and a secure water discharge measurement that is automatically validated every 15 minutes.
The water data enters TMX, the application for operational level management. The data is then immediately accessible for use in the Delft-FEWS application and dashboard applications. It is an innovative, collaborative project that completely unburdens water managers and places almost all responsibilities with the supplier - with the exception of keeping the waterway clean. This enables water boards to manage more quickly and more effectively with current discharge data and to integrate water area images and scenarios – during drought, but also during flooding, such as occurred in the summer of 2021 in the province of Limburg and early 2022 in the management area of the Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority.
Raymond Loos - Water Authority Vallei en Veluwe
The Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority is moving forward with the integration of DAAS in the water discharge measurement network – a process that started in 2018. The ambition at the time? Streamline, improve and make the discharge data collection cycle more sustainable. This is done using a secure, automated network solution that measures flow rate, water level, stream rate and water temperature.
The need for change was obvious. Old monitoring stations in the area were not ideally positioned, faltered, or failed. There were gray areas at river basin level within the water board for which little discharge information was available, says Raymond Loos. He started as a hydrologist at the Water Authority in 2016 and supervised the implementation of DAAS in the organization: “There will be more severe showers and longer droughts. How do they affect the water balance? How much precipitation falls? How much evaporates? And what does that mean for water drainage? That information partly determines your water balance, and you want to measure it.”
The Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority tendered the discharge data project in 2020 in a European tender procedure. After weighing up, the tender team, led by project leader Gerard van Veen, chose Nortek: the only supplier that offered discharge measurements as an integrated, sustainable solution – as a service.
“If you really want to change the sustainability and quality of water discharge measurement, you have to change the view on discharge measurement,” says Rikke van der Grinten, Sales Engineer at River Insight. “By providing an integrated data solution, we force ourselves to improve our thinking about management, repairs, and reuse. We have a direct interest in durable and high-quality discharge meters. This will provide better discharge measurements at Water Authorities”.
Loos: “Sustainable renewal is a spearhead in our work. In 2030, we as a Water Authority want to work according to the principles of the circular economy and make a climate-positive contribution to our environment with our organization. You project that ambition onto suppliers. You want the lowest emissions, the smallest ecological footprint and you want to work with materials that can be reused”.
The circular discharge solution chosen by the Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority fits with this sustainability vision. The pole and the tube of the mobile flow meter, which holds the measuring system, contain reusable parts. The discharge meters are equipped with solar panels and are 100% self-sufficient in their energy needs. For example, thanks to Discharge data As A Service, the data collection process is not only more efficient, but also cleaner. Loos: “A lot more materials are used at traditional discharge measurement locations. Think of pouring concrete or placing wooden shoring for a flume, cables through the bottom and a cupboard on the bank. The material and work required for this is now saved. You are also much more flexible if a flow meter ever needs to be moved”.
The Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority is not alone in its ambition to make water discharge measurements better and faster. There are currently six Water Authorities in our country that are implementing DAAS and/or experimenting in a pilot project. At the end of 2021, the Vallei en Veluwe Water Authority will also have converted ten existing measurement locations, which Nortek already maintained, to the DAAS concept.
Loos: “We are positive. The first year went very well. Discharge data As A Service is a major step forward: in terms of functionality, the availability and quality of data, but also in terms of circularity and time commitment. Our organization is taken care of and has hardly had to make any adjustments – another advantage. I hope that this DAAS concept can also serve as an example for making other processes within our organization more sustainable”.
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