Reducing water losses by using Artificial Intelligence

MV, 25.03.2021



Project title:                    AI REGIO

Project objective:          Use of Artificial Intelligence in small and medium-sized companies in the production processes.
Duration:                         October  2020 – September  2023          (36 months)
Leading partner:            POLITECNICO DI MILANO, Italija
Project partners from: Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Finland, Serbia, Belgium, Slovenia, Cyprus

In collaboration with Digital Innovation Hub of the University of Maribor (DIH UM), we successfully applied for the AI REGIO project, funded by the European Union framework programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020. The purpose of the project is to use and promote technologies, based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in production processes of small and medium-sized enterprises and therefore place the European Union (EU) in the leading position in the world by ethical and sustainable use of Artificial Intelligence by the year 2030.

The project is organized through Digital Innovation Hub within the European Union, which follow innovation strategies based on the principle of learn-connect-demonstrate-commercialize. The project involves 36 partners from 11 EU countries. The duration of the project is 3 years and it consists also 30 examples – experiments from various fields of production, with ultimate goal to become commercially successful. Independent partners from Slovenia are Mariborski vodovod (Maribor water supply) and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Maribor. We cooperate with the case “Using artificial intelligence in detection of water losses”. The focus is on industrial areas with companies with production processes.

Water losses pose a problem in all water supply systems, while in industrial areas they also cause the failure of production processes. In the water supply systems worldwide, approximately 25% to 50% of water is lost, due to leakages in old and outdated water supply infrastructure. In the countries of the European Union, these rates vary from 2% to 60%. One of the main challenges for all water supply systems is to effectively reduce water losses.

We see the possibility of using Artificial Intelligence in analyzing data from sensors for control and management of the water supply system. The /data sensors are also used to detect water losses. This generates a large amount of data, which is difficult to monitor and analyze on a daily basis. Leaks in the pipelines could also be located from satellite images of soil moisture near the pipeline route. The analysis of large amounts of data and the use of technologies supported by Artificial Intelligence are areas of expertise, covered by our partners from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Both parties saw an opportunity for partnership, prepared a project and were successful in applying.

Reducing water losses has positive economic effects for water supply system operators, because less energy is used to pump water and maintain pressure conditions. A positive consequence of reducing water losses is also a lower pressure on water resources so the results of the project will be interesting and useful for other water supply systems as well.