[Blog] Open Data Can Open Up Opportunities

An open data approach can help water utilities drive efficiencies across their entire operations, says Matthew Hawkridge, chief technology officer, Ovarro

Advances in digital technology mean that siloed data from legacy IT systems within water utilities can now be more easily shared across many platforms. Utilities and municipalities have much to gain from opening up their data.

Asset data, usually held in an asset management system, can be blended with data from many other sources to generate deeper insights into infrastructure, operations, investment and even customers and human resources. Along with operational data from SCADA systems, data from GIS, leak detection, weather stations and business information systems can be combined to provide true situational awareness in real time.

This richer databank can identify not only cause and effect in many areas of business and operations, but also determine what is likely to happen in the future. Such insights can drive efficiency on many fronts, for example, in scheduling predictive maintenance. Accessing alarm data on water networks has certainly helped advance Ovarro’s thinking and innovation in this area.

Of course creating a more comprehensive and effective databank also makes it more valuable. The water sector is custodian of critical infrastructure and resources, so it is essential that while data is made available, that is done securely so that sensitive information does not fall into the wrong hands.  

Most water utilities that I have dealt with are happy to open up their data to trusted parties to help add value to their own business operations. The conversation is well underway - there were some interesting points raised at the 2022 World Water-Tech Innovation Summit, where I joined the panel to discuss Unlocking the Full Potential of Smart Sewers.