UK Water Authority Selects AI Simulation Technology to Accelerate Drainage Water Management Planning

Wessex Water has selected modeFRONTIER® simulation software with EnginSoft UK to optimise solutions for drainage water management plans (DWMPs). The system, which utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) to speed up the optimisation process, has just completed a trial at Wessex Water and took just 4 days of an engineer’s time and 12 days CPU time to evaluate thousands of solutions, and provided some hidden benefits too.

“We’ve been deploying AI in the automotive sector for a number of years and believe modeFRONTIER® is the most versatile software for smart optimisation,” says Bipin Patel, EnginSoft UK’s managing director. “We approached Wessex Water with our strategicGIANT™ flood assessment software, which is ideal for assessing flood scenarios as part of the growth impact planning process. However, since they were wanting to tackle DWMP generation, direct optimisation with modeFRONTIER was the most appropriate approach for Wessex Water.”

All UK water authorities are required to develop DWMP for all catchments as part of AMP7, which represents a significant workload. In common with a number of other sectors, the water industry has looked to technology, and more specifically AI, to streamline the process and meet regulatory requirements. Wessex Water took the strategic decision early on to trial suitable software. “modeFRONTIER’s ability to integrate a cost model for each solution is valuable, which was a deciding factor in their choice. It cuts out what we call ‘optioneering’: the trial and error generation of plans which are then found to be overly costly,” says Patel. “modeFRONTIER® substantially reduces the time it takes to assess thousands of solutions which are costed from the outset and provides tools such as the Pareto Front to understand the trade-off between total cost versus quality of solution – in this case, how much flooding you can eliminate.”

David Searby, Wessex Water’s Wastewater Modelling Technical Manager, said: “The EnginSoft trial for DWMP optioneering delivered positive results and we have now taken the decision to purchase a one year licence to allow us to look at more catchments using this AI-based approach.”

Once catchment details were captured via a simple ‘pro-forma’; (storage locations, pipe upgrades, SUDS areas, flood monitoring locations), the modeFRONTIER® workflow was generated in a matter of hours. The optimisation study then ran for a couple of days in the background to generate feasible solutions which fulfil chosen criteria.

In the case of Wessex Water, this took 4 days in total and outputted a series of graphical results with varying cost versus benefit trade-offs. It was here that EnginSoft was able to provide one or two surprises for the Wessex Water engineers. “We could see that there were a number of options on the far side of what we call the ‘Pareto Cliff’, where if one or two constraints were tweaked, a significant reduction in cost could be achieved. It’s not uncommon for restrictions to exist undetected in complex systems for years, limiting performance, and I’ve seen them highlighted by AI before. The guys at Wessex were fascinated to see the analysis, and I’m sure there’ll be similar instances highlighted as modeFRONTIER® usage increases.”

About EnginSoft
EnginSoft is a premier consulting firm in the field of Simulation Based Engineering Science (SBES) with a global presence, founded in 1984. Throughout its long history it has been at the forefront of technological innovation and is now helping industrial clients in the application and use of their ‘digital twin’ to solve even the most complex industrial problems with a high degree of reliability.

EnginSoft today has a significant international presence in 12 countries and works with a broad range of sectors that include the automotive, aerospace, defence, energy, water, civil engineering, consumer goods and biomechanics industries to optimise engineering simulation solutions.