Sensing in Water 2013 Conference

Following the success of our conference in 2011 Sensing in Water 2013was held at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel on 25-26 September. More than 170 delegates attended over the two days – an increase on the delegates in 2011. 37 exhibitors had stands at SiW 2013. We have had excellent feedback about the conference. Please see below for a report on the conference and some photos.

Thank you again to ABB who were the main sponsor of the conference, also to our media partners and exhibitors. We plan to hold the Sensing in Water conference again in September 2015, so watch this space!

Full conference programme here

Day 1: 25th September 2013

Morning: Water Distribution Monitoring

Afternoon: Real Time & Decision Support

Day 2: 26th September 2013

Morning: Wastewater Network Monitoring

Afternoon: New Ideas in Water Sensing


Reporting back from Sensing in Water 2013


Exhibitors SiW 2013

Exhibitors at Sensing in Water 2013.

Vanessa Speight

Vanessa Speight, Director of Latis Associates, Keynote Speaker on 25 September

The conference included some fascinating insights into the current state-of-play of sensor technology and implementation within the water industry.Over the two days, 4 themed sessions were held, covering the themes of Water Distribution Monitoring, Real Time and Decision Support, Wastewater Network Monitoring and New ideas in water sensing.To commence the conference, a valuable keynote presentation set the scene with Vanessa Speight of Latis Associates, informing on her experiences in Monitoring and Sensors in the Water Industry within the United States.She clearly impressed on the size and geographical challenges there, and provided some background on a number of funded networked systems implemented in a number of areas, including Dubuque, Iowa.She stressed the need for investment focusing on repairing ageing infrastructure.

Professor Joby Boxall introduced the Water Distribution Monitoring session as Chair, and Jody Knight of Wessex Water was first up and presented an implemented network optimisation programme in preparation for the 2012 Games, which addresses early detection of service failures.This was followed by three supplier presentations from Syrinix, Siemens Water Technologies and ATi, describing new sensor based network monitoring systems that are providing benefits to network management.Leo Carswell of WRc concluded the session addressing the costs and benefits of water quality monitoring within these networks, which stressed the requirement for robust benefit data.


Stuart Newstead

Stuart Newstead, Water Control Room Forum, chairing the Water Control Room Forum session on 25 September.

After lunch Stuart Newstead Chaired a session on Real time decision and support, on behalf of the Water Control Room Forum (WCRF).Dave Newport of Yorkshire Water set the scene with a presentation on the role and challenges of the WCRF, and led the floor in identifying the distinction between rules and challenges on the themes of procedures, training, decision time, monitors, customer calls and data to information.Dr Steve Mounce of Sheffield University continued the session advocating better and more intelligent use of data from networked sensors.The ‘Aquadapt’ system adopted by Northumbrian Water was then described by Dennis Dellow, which presented a new world of full automation in network control and the cost benefits derived from such systems.Dr John Brooke then covered details of a powerful software system developed at the University of Manchester which provides operators with information for real-time decision making, a highly adaptable system with a top down approach.A lively question and answer session concluded the first day that touched on security of these systems and highlighting the importance of engaging water company staff in the implementation of such systems from the outset.

Simon Cocks

Simon Cocks, Waste Water Services Director, Severn Trent Water, Key note speaker on 26 September

The subject of early engagement of staff to new systems was a strong theme of the Keynote talk by Simon Cocks of Severn Trent Water, who presented on ‘Technology: A cultural change tool’ which commenced the second day of the conference.This was followed by a session on Wastewater Network Monitoring chaired by Leo Carswell of the WRc.Leo’s introduction threw a number of water supply ‘front page’ statistics to the floor that highlighted the challenges to the industry, and set the scene for presentations to follow.Dr Neerja Upadhyay of Severn Trent Water provided a water company perspective to these challenges, with an holistic catchment management approach, which included the issue of current cost of monitoring equipment, but also the need to adapt processes.Dr Peter Skipworth of EM Solutions followed, detailing a unique project in Bucharest where EMS implemented a sewer monitoring system to manage specific problems facing the city.The role of Smart Sensors in pollution mitigation and aspects of telemetry requirements was then covered by Brian Back of Radio Data Networks.Continuing on the pollution theme, Tim O’Brien of Metasphere covered the subject of monitoring of CSO’s and highlighted the challenges sensors face in these environments, and covered the trend of reducing sensor costs with increasing service costs.The morning concluded with a busy question and answer session that covered managing an ageing network and suitable approaches to this issue.Key themes discussed were not just affordability of equipment, but overcoming this by achieving a clear understanding between the purchaser and provider to the problems being addressed.


Darren Reynolds chairing Q&A

Darren Reynolds, Professor of Health & Environment, UWE chairing the New Ideas Question and Answer session

A strong session had been set for the final afternoon to keep delegates in Nottingham, with a short-fire presentation agenda on the theme of new ideas in water sensing, a core theme to SWIG members.Professor Darren Reynolds of the University of West of England (UWE) provided an introduction as chair, and prepared the floor for a firework display of talks on innovation, stressing that these innovative ideas developed within Universities and Institutes soon evolve to real solutions to the Water Industry.Short presentations were provided by University of Bradford, University of Sheffield, RS Hydro, WRc, Sorbisense, Dublin City University and Waterra in Situ.These lively presentations stimulated a great reaction from the floor that covered such subjects as the requirement for minimum maintenance of sensors, with the main theme covering the issue of funding to move innovative ideas to commercial products.Although not always easy, it was recognised that there are real opportunities out there for industry to work with academia with funding vehicles such as those offered by the Technology Strategy Board, and by the European Union in the form of HORIZON 2020.The show of hands from those companies already working with Universities was of some encouragement.

Water Aid cheque donation v2

Richard Luxton, Chairman of SWIG presenting Chris Lake of Water Aid with a cheque for Water Aid from SWIG


Other events during the conference included a well attended conference dinner, with pre-drinks sponsored by ABB.The after dinner speaker was Chris Lake of Water Aid. During the evening a £1,029.75 was donated to Water Aid.A conference photography competition, the winner of which was decided by delegates, was won by Angus Fosten of Partech for his composition of a water sensor head. [photo included]

Angus Fosten

Copyright Angus Fosten, 2013

Richard Luxton

Professor Richard Luxton, Chairman of SWIG

Professor Richard Luxton of the IBST, UWE, and Chairman of SWIG, closed the conference with a summation of the topics covered over the two days, and highlighted the benefits of SWIG membership, explaining that SWIG is a not for profit organisation run by stakeholders for stakeholders.The conference itself demonstrated well the advantages of membership, with a bustling exhibition hall between sessions, and a programme that was evidently popular in the number of delegates in attendance.Members and delegates were encouraged to provide ideas for future SWIG workshop topics.Rosa Richards, SWIG Programme manager was thanked for her efforts in arranging this successful conference, as was Niall Castelli, a student at UWE, who assisted Rosa during this event.Richard also highlighted upcoming SWIG workshops including Sensors for Nutrient Monitoring on 23rd October and Innovation Workshop being held on 27th UWE in November.