Quito chooses InfoWorks WS for ambitious mains improvement program

Quito, the capital city of the South American country of Ecuador, is using InfoWorks WS as part of an ambitious program to bring 'best in class' water supplies to its citizens. Quito is sited in north central Ecuador, on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano, which makes managing the city's potable water network a challenge in terms of complexity and the water pressures involved...

QUITO, Ecuador, Sept. 30, 2008 -- Quito, the capital city of the South American country of Ecuador, is using InfoWorks WS as part of an ambitious program to bring 'best in class' water supplies to its citizens.

Quito is sited in north central Ecuador, on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano, which makes managing the city's potable water network a challenge in terms of complexity and the water pressures involved.

Xavier Vidal, who works for the Environmental Sanitation Program of Empresa Metropolitana de Alcantarillado y Agua Potable de Quito (EMAAP-Q, the city's Metropolitan Company for Water Supply and Sanitation) says the company deals with everything related to water supply, wastewater and stormwater collection.

EMAAP-Q is a large company, serving 392,000 households in the 2.1 million population urban area, as well as the surrounding rural area. Vidal explains: "We are being funded by a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank, for a program to improve the quality of the water supply and sanitation, and the green area protection for Quito. Part of the program relates to water supply and we thought that in order to improve the quality of service we provide to people a network model was required. So we appointed an Italian company, C Lotti & Associati, to develop a model for us."

Vidal, who supervised this contract, notes that Lotti did very well, making a "conscientious, technical and professional analysis of the various softwares. They recommended InfoWorks for several reasons, principally the complexity of the model. Quito is not a flat city -- it is 2800m above sea level close to the equator. There are very steep mountains on either side, and velocities and high pressures are the principal problems in the distribution network. So we needed to develop a model to understand the system." Work began on creating the model in June 2007.

Vidal adds: "We thought the process might take a bit longer, but due to the quality of the information in our customer and technical databases it was not a great challenge to link the databases, and Lotti did this in a relatively short period of time."

EMAAP-Q has just undertaken a five-day training program provided by Wallingford Software staff to enable the company's own staff to continue working with the solution themselves. "We were very satisfied with the course," Vidal says. "It was very useful, we learned about the huge possibilities that InfoWorks has and we also understand the effort required to keep it updated and to develop it in the future."

Vidal adds: "We believe this is the first step for our company in its ambition to be among the top water companies of the world, the ones that are facing the challenges of the future. We think this is the way to cope with operational programs in the 21st century."

Certainly not many companies have a model as extensive as that which has been developed in Quito -- with over 55,000 pipes and 100,000 nodes it ranks among the largest models created.

After the company is fully used to the solution and its functions, the first step will be to develop a new project to redefine the city's service areas in line with its topography, Vidal notes. "One of the very important findings of the model Lotti developed was that across the entire city network there are many connections between service areas, which is not good because pressures can transfer from one area to another, and sometimes causes service failures."

The model was immediately useful in directing the operations and maintenance staff in the steps they needed to take to isolate service areas. "We can do that manually but it is better if we do it with the assessment of a tool of this nature," Vidal explains.

EMAAP-Q also intends to use the solution in the planning process, he adds. "One of the biggest projects now is a master plan of the water supply and sanitation for Quito for the next 30 years. The company that undertakes the study for us, Hazen and Sawyer, will use the recently-developed model in their planning studies."

After that, when EMAAP-Q has a good understanding of the model it plans to link it with its SCADA system. "There is a project we have in mind, our goal five years from now is to have a control room for the whole distribution water supply network, with centralized data acquisition and control. One of the most valuable tools will be a well-structured model."


Wallingford Software develops leading water resource management software for the worldwide water industry.

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