The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region faces several challenges as it undertakes major capital investment programmes and seeks to modernise and extend the operational lifetime of existing assets.
To overcome them, key stakeholders are turning to cutting-edge technologies to ensure both operational expenditure (opex) and capital expenditure (capex) can be made as efficiently and sustainably as possible.
Key among these is the digitalisation of the water ecosystem and in particular digital twins, which experts say will be instrumental to the sector’s future success.
A digital twin is a system, software or programme that monitors and uses real-world data to create simulations that can predict how an asset will perform. By using the data, operators can understand predictive maintenance requirements, reduce costs and create engineering and product design efficiencies and improvements.
For example, a sewer collection system could suffer from untreated effluent discharge when flows are too high, such as during heavy rain or flooding. A digital twin comprising different hydraulic modules can harness a range of sensors to make better flow predictions in real time, thereby averting spillages.
By using the data, operators can understand predictive maintenance requirements, reduce costs and create engineering and product design efficiencies and improvements
Digital twins must be viewed as a solution to an existing problem, rather than using them to identify issues they could resolve after implementation, which is why their successful adoption will depend on several considerations.
With the climate clock ticking, utilities, operators and developers have a major incentive to explore new ways of working.
Digital twins and digitalisation will not solve all the problems facing the water ecosystem, but they will go a long way to making it more sustainable and efficient.
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