With the recent acquisition of Optimatics by SUEZ, a leading Australian company in its field, Suez Smart Solutions adds a new string to its bow: the smart management of drinking water and wastewater network assets. A technological breakthrough which allows the optimisation of pipe renewal plans.

A complex domain with many parameters

Ageing pipes must be renewed to avoid possible breakages and leaks.  While more than a quarter of drinking water is lost, which represents a loss of 1.3 billion cubic meters each year, renewals are still insufficient. Lack of knowledge about the pipes, obstructions on the roads, low political impact, the main reason remains above all financial. The cost of replacing one kilometre of pipe in a city varies between 400,000 and 800,000 euros. In addition to the financial aspect, the renewal represents a health issue for the population with a risk of contamination of the water distributed. In 2014, the Danielle Mitterrand France Libertés Foundation and the 60 millions consommateurs organisation were already alerting local authorities: "The longer the elected representatives wait, the worse the situation gets and the greater the risk of having to take urgent action, putting the local authority in debt and sharply increasing the inhabitants' bills".


Consider all possible scenarios

While renewal studies are tedious, the Optimizer™ tool helps speed up decision making. As Bertrand Vanden Bossche, Smart Asset Management Business Manager, explains: "We can now explore hundreds of thousands of possible scenarios, taking into consideration all assets (pipes, connections, meters, equipment in plants...) in just a few hours!" This is a real revolution for water services who can now prioritize their investments, with financial gains ranging from 10 to 30%"This tool, by running thousands of algorithms, is capable of providing solutions that best meet the objectives and the constraints defined with the customer. " It is then up to the teams to make the best decision. "By using a small amount of data, we go further in the formulation of possible solutions. »


The Optimatics and SUEZ teams are now focusing on the development of a web portal bringing together all the information (real time, operating, intervention, economic and financial, performance, asset description data, etc.) previously available on various softwares and applications. A major collaboration at between Chicago, Paris and Adelaide, in order to offer the best possible service to local authorities of all sizes. While these new functionalities should be finalized within a year, the teams are already working on artificial intelligence and the implementation of "digital twins" (3D representation).