AI enters water company planning

Jon Lawson

Stantec and AECOM have both agreed partnerships with EnginSoft in order to help UK water companies adopt artificial intelligence technology to accelerate the complex water network assessment process. Using EnginSoft’s strategicGIANT, the two separate collaborations will provide water companies with a significant time advantage ahead of AMP71 legislation. strategicGIANT offers the reactivity required to simplify and accelerate the infrastructure capacity assessment process to reduce the overall lead time of new housing development project planning and costing.

“New legislation requires water companies to be able to predict the impact of numerous scenarios up to 20 years in advance,” explained Bipin Patel, EnginSoft UK managing director. “We identified the potential of adapting our technology, which has been proven in the automotive and manufacturing industries, 8 years ago and have been working closely with the water industry’s major stakeholders to understand their challenges. The continuous knowledge shared by the proactive stakeholders about the evolving housing, climate, pollution and environmental factors has led to the development of strategicGIANT so that it could most impactfully boost their efficiency and resilience.

“Using traditional methods, drainage network assessment predictions can be time-consuming,” he continued. “There has been an exciting response to strategicGIANT, based on our AI and machine-learning expertise and the collaboration and valuable intelligence from our strategic partners helps us support the needs of the water companies as the technology is adopted. There are pilot studies underway with some of the UK water companies, the results of which we can talk more about soon.”

strategicGIANT requires a verified hydraulic model of the catchment to create the AI ‘data-set’ but, unlike traditional methods of planning for growth, it is not necessary to model every scenario in order to understand the response of the drainage network to a specific housing growth scenario. The AI technology utilises advanced machine learning and adaptive analytic techniques predict the impact for any development scenario combinations. The water companies can interrogate this data-set through an interactive web application to view the drainage network, GIS, tables and charts. AECOM and Stantec will ensure model validity and verification quality at the outset as this is the starting point to produce a quality data-set. Once EnginSoft’s ‘AI-bot’ produces the data-set, further validation through modelling is carried out by a strategic partner before quality sign-off takes place for the water company.

Users of strategicGIANT can immediately predict the impact on the regional infrastructure of any growth scenario and optimise network solutions. It provides a database of knowledge that can be instantly applied to the changing growth projections.

Recent Issues