Whaley Bridge: A dam expensive lack of monitoring?

By Martin Guthrie, Senior Partner Manager, Rezatec

If the Whaley Bridge / Toddbrook reservoir incident earlier this month in the North of England has taught us anything, it’s that it’s not just the catastrophic failure of a dam or reservoir that has high costs. Urgent, last-minute, remedial and/or preventative action does not come cheap either.

In the case of Whaley Bridge; 1,500 residents evacuated, an estimated 400 tons of aggregate used, an RAF Chinook helicopter working round the clock, 150 firefighters and 11 high-volume, 12-inch diameter pumps siphoning 7,000 litres of water a minute (later increased to 16 pumps), 40 soldiers from the Light Dragoons drafted in to help, and a promise from the new Prime Minister to do a “proper rebuild” of this “dodgy but stable” dam. Whatever the final tally of costs is deemed to be, it certainly seems inevitable that it will run to many, many millions.

Yet all this disruption and cost– or the risk of something much worse – might have been avoided.

Current legislation in the UK (covered in England by the Reservoirs Act 1975) specifies that each reservoir must be inspected every 10 years, or more often, where necessary. In practice this often means an annual inspection. These inspections are often visual – with accurate measurements only being done if there is a reason to think them necessary.

But these accurate measurements (whereby any movement of the surface of a dam wall or embankment can be measured to the millimetre) can spot underlying changes and/or possible weaknesses in the structure before they become visible – and potentially susceptible to severe weather.

Historically, making accurate measurements has been a specialised and sometimes manually difficult task. Also, annual inspections are fine – but extremes in the world’s weather are increasingly common – and certainly don’t wait for a year to pass before changing.

Rezatec, based near Harwell in Oxfordshire, is developing pioneering analysis techniques that can monitor dams and reservoirs for possible movement with millimetric accuracy using existing satellites in orbit with already-available data. The frequency of these measurements can be weekly, quarterly, or monthly as required – and can be done retrospectively as well, to see what movement has already happened over the last few years.

For example, you may recall the Brumadinho dam disaster in January this year in Brazil, where an iron-ore tailings dam failed catastrophically with the loss of at least 248 lives. The company that runs the dam, Vale SA, said at the time that it would take as much as 10% of its ore output offline in order to decommission 10 similar dams, costing it $1.3bn over 3 years. This in addition to the tragedy, the reputational cost and the consequential damages.

A preliminary retrospective analysis by Rezatec of the Brumadinho dam shows that its structure showed clear and measurable signs of movement for 9 or 10 months prior to its failure. In other words, it seems likely that its failure could have been prevented had remote monitoring been in place.

Rezatec will be carrying out a similar retrospective analysis of Whaley Dam in the coming weeks.

Watch this space…

Bristol Water renews annual subscription with Rezatec for access to the Rezatec Water Catchment Management geospatial portal

Rezatec, the leading provider of geospatial data analytics to the Infrastructure, Forestry and Agribusiness sectors, has renewed its annual supply contract with Bristol Water to provide agricultural land mapping and soil erosion risk modelling data products for the utility company’s water catchment management operations in South West England.

For the past three years, Rezatec has been supporting Bristol Water’s extensive water quality monitoring programme with its Water Catchment Management geospatial portal which delivers agricultural land use and soil erosion data products throughout the year. Rezatec algorithms measure and monitor the distribution of different crops across the wider catchment during the main growing season as well as the distribution of cover crops in winter. Bristol Water uses the data products derived from these algorithms to risk manage the prospective impact to water quality from diffuse pollution caused by nutrient applications and soil erosion risk associated with each crop type. These insights can then be used to enable positive engagement with key farmers to target reduction in diffuse pollution levels in the catchment areas.

Uniquely, Rezatec has extended the capability of its geospatial data products to offer in-season crop identification. This allows Bristol Water catchment managers to engage with farmers much earlier in the growing season than has been possible before so that risks can be mitigated earlier on in the agricultural cycle and advance warning given on any problems that might occur in the future.

Matthew Pitts, Catchment Strategy Manager at Bristol Water commented “We believe that catchment management is good environmental management. If we can identify problems before they occur, we may avoid the need for new energy-intensive water treatment techniques and reduce the amount of chemicals required for water treatment, as well as improving the overall environmental quality of our water sources. Rezatec’s portal helps us to identify at an early stage where interventions can deliver benefits on the ground.”

Philip Briscoe, COO at Rezatec added “We are delighted to have renewed our partnership with Bristol Water for the third year running. By working closely with our clients, we are able to identify the specific challenges they face and continually innovate to help support their business and vision.”

To learn more about this project or any of Rezatec’s services, please call +44 (0)1865 817 500.

The Evolution of Earth Observation’ – Featuring Rezatec

The Evolution of Earth Observation’ published in this month’s Ingenia magazine (by the Royal Academy of Engineering) is a feature article exploring how satellite images are used to monitor changes in Earth’s natural and built environments, with applications in areas as diverse as land use, natural disasters and climate change.

The author, Science writer Tereza Pultarova, spoke to three industry leaders, including our very own COO Philip Briscoe, on how artificial intelligence is helping innovative companies such as Rezatec using satellite data to solve problems on Earth.

The article focuses on how Rezatec helped one of our clients, Portsmouth Water, which had witnessed rising nitrate levels in groundwater to understand more about the sources of this pollution.

You can read the article here.

Pipeline Risk

Rezatec to provide new water leak risk analysis tool for Utilities Kingston, Canada

Rezatec, a provider of geospatial data analytics, has announced it will work with Utilities Kingston – a multi-utility company based in Kingston, Ontario – to optimize the company’s leak detection activities across a section of the municipal water distribution system.

Water pipeline leakage presents an opportunity for utility companies to significantly improve operating efficiency. The pilot project will see Rezatec provide Utilities Kingston with Artificial Intelligence and Geospatial Analytics. These insights will then allow the utility company to verify that the deployment of acoustic loggers and other ground resources, and repair and maintenance schedules could be significantly optimized by using this technology across the entire municipal system.

The unique combination of Artificial Intelligence and satellite data, when combined with historic leak event data, provides a robust risk model to identify parts of the network at higher risk of failure. By focusing traditional leak detection activities on these high-risk areas, Rezatec’s leakage detection tool can help water companies reduce the time and cost of detecting leaks by more than 60 per cent.

“Utilities Kingston is dedicated to the responsible management of community infrastructure. We’re excited to pilot leading-edge tools to reduce system water loss, which have the potential to improve the water-efficiency of the system we operate,” said Jim Keech, president and CEO of Utilities Kingston.

“Our goal is to help our clients to make more informed critical asset management decisions to reduce leaks, improve margins, gain competitive advantage and optimize asset management for their customers,” commented Philip Briscoe, Chief Operating Officer of Rezatec. “We are very pleased to add Utilities Kingston to our growing list of international water clients spanning Europe, United States, Australia, Philippines and now Canada.”

With the benefits of Artificial Intelligence and satellite data, Rezatec’s goal is to reduce pipeline leakage by detecting the risk of leaks before they happen and as a result stop them from occurring. Work with Utilities Kingston is set to begin in November 2018 and the pilot is expected to last for three months.

To learn more about this project or any of Rezatec’s services, please call +44 (0)1865 817 500.

Funding

Rezatec completes follow-on investment led by Harbert European Growth Capital to underpin continued global expansion

World-leading geospatial data analytics company Rezatec has announced a follow-on investment to its 2018 £2m Seed Round equity financing round, with Harbert European Growth Capital now providing a substantial growth debt facility to the Company.  This new facility will lend additional financial support to Rezatec as it continues its rapid rate of new customer acquisition across North America, Africa and Asia Pacific. Rezatec is seeing particularly strong demand for its geospatial data analytics in the Forestry, Infrastructure and Water sectors worldwide. This financing round follows on from a financial year that saw Rezatec subscription revenues grow by 7x from Q1 FY18 to Q4 FY18.

Rezatec plans to significantly expand its portfolio of proprietary geospatial technologies in the coming months. This expansion of Rezatec data science, machine learning and software tools will serve to meet new customer demand in existing vertical markets and beyond. The Company anticipates completing a substantial Series A transaction in the period ahead to finance this expansion of the business and its operations.

Patrick Newton, Chief Executive Officer at Rezatec stated, “We are very pleased to have secured the support of Harbert in building the Rezatec business. Their focus on high growth, innovative technology companies makes them an ideal fit for our business.”

Fahad Khan, Vice President at Harbert European Growth Capital said “We are delighted to partner with Rezatec’s strong management team and give them a global network in addition to capital to help support their growth ambitions. We are pleased to bring our close relationships within the European and American technology sector and welcome Rezatec to a portfolio of over 70 high growth companies”.

Rezatec delivers accurate, cost-efficient, highly valuable and scalable satellite data analytics to optimise the use of natural and man-made assets in the Forestry, Water, Agriculture and Infrastructure sectors.

Rezatec join forces with specialist pipeline inspection and water loss management contractor Detection Services in Australia and New Zealand

Industry-leading geospatial data analytics company Rezatec has announced it has partnered with Australian-based company Detection Services to bring its state-of-the-art satellite data driven asset risk monitoring solutions to Australia and New Zealand.

Detection Services is the largest specialised, technology-based water management services provider in Australasia focusing on developing, sourcing and delivering better ways of managing water resources in the region and offer a broad range of services including condition assessment, trunk main leak detection and monitoring solutions.

Together with Rezatec, the provision of these critical decision support tools will provide unparalleled insights for utility companies for remote asset monitoring to reduce the cost of managing pipeline networks and other assets. The partnership represents the latest stage in Rezatec’s international growth, following recent partnerships in Europe and North America.

Philip Briscoe, Chief Operating Officer at Rezatec stated, “Detection Services is a natural partner for Rezatec in Australia and New Zealand. Their focus on bringing innovative technology solutions to the water industry and their reputation in the region makes them an ideal fit for our business.”

Steve Simmons, Director at Detection services “Adding Rezatec’s services to our portfolio is a great fit and we are confident that the demand in the region is strong for geospatial analytics to meet the increasing challenges of asset monitoring and management we’re currently facing”.

Rezatec and Detection Services will now continue to promote the accurate, cost-efficient, highly valuable and scalable nature of satellite data analytics when used to detect existing leaks, monitor infrastructure assets and predict asset failures.

To find out more visit www.rezatec.com/pipeline or contact Detection Services on +61 2 9651 5263.

philippines

Rezatec expands into South East Asia by delivering innovative water projects with Metro Pacific Water

Rezatec – the leader in satellite big data analytics – is working with Metro Pacific Water to improve the availability of drinking water and sanitation in the metropolitan cities of Manila and Iloilo in the Philippines.

Metro Pacific Water is the water and wastewater investments arm of the Philippines’ leading infrastructure conglomerate, Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

For several years, Rezatec has been deploying its services to water utilities around the world, and now, as part of a continued global expansion into new markets, it is collaborating with Metro Pacific Water to reduce degradation of the Maasin watershed area and Laguna Lake – two core sources of water.


In the first of two separate projects, Metro Pacific Water commissioned Rezatec to analyse the status of the Maasin watershed in Iloilo on Panay Island, an area that over the years has increasingly suffered high degradation due to slash and burn farming practices and firewood harvesting. Earth observation data is being used to map the entire area – equivalent to 7,000 hectares of land – and conduct a stream inventory of the Tigum river tributaries. Using historic data mapped against new geographical baseline data Rezatec can monitor land use change such as deforestation for agriculture and illegal burning, and identify damage caused by regional typhoons and seasonal weather patterns, all of which have an impact on water quality.

The second project involves geospatial analytics to determine those areas of Laguna Lake – the largest lake in the Philippines with a surface area of 922 km, located East of Manila – which are susceptible to water pollution from urban, industrial waste and agriculture. This includes the mapping of land use around the lake – which has seen water quality deteriorate to Class C – that contribute to the localised water pollution. Furthermore, using Rezatec’s unique data modelling techniques, accurate estimates of pollution source location and dispersion patterns of specific pollutants that might be discharged into the lake are being provided.


“We are very excited to collaborate with such a pioneering business. Their powerful satellite analytics coupled with their experience in working with water utilities all over the world to identify the sources of water degradation and pollution are an absolute asset for us. Rezatec are allowing us to understand – with a high level of precision – the origin of the biggest water quality offenders and prepare for remedial action. This has been possible to achieve within weeks with satellite analytics, saving months of ground observation and data collection in areas that are in real need of attention,” explained Yang Villa, Senior Manager for Public-Private Partnerships & Lead for Industry Innovation – Metro Pacific Water, Philippines.

“Rezatec is really excited to be working with such an innovative company as Metro Pacific Water. It is clear that the use of satellite-derived data analytics is highly relevant and powerful for them to support their watershed management challenges. By helping them truly understanding their areas of interest regarding land use and water pollution, we are providing tools that can help improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and preserve their precious water resources,” commented Philip Briscoe, Chief Operating Officer – Rezatec.

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severn-trent

Severn Trent Water trials Rezatec’s innovative geospatial data analytics to monitor asset risk

Severn Trent Water is now trialling Rezatec’s unique and pioneering asset risk monitoring products with a view to reducing their costs and improving operational efficiency. The satellite-powered geospatial data analytics provide important insights to support asset maintenance and event management and can facilitate intelligent deployment of ground survey teams for targeted investigation and remediation activities.

Using its innovative approach to analysing big data including machine learning and proprietary data processing algorithms, Rezatec has developed its asset risk products extracted from Earth Observation data sets.

Dr Bob Stear, Head of Innovation, at Severn Trent Water commented: “We’re very excited to be trialling this new technology and can see clearly the value that this level of geospatial data insight can deliver. We fully expect to be able to improve our costs and efficiency by making more informed decisions relating to our key infrastructure assets and maintenance activity.”

For asset risk management, Rezatec is analysing different types of satellite data to identify likelihood of failure by monitoring changes in the landscape such as changes to the vegetation, water content in soil, water accumulation and ground movement.

To monitor risk to assets, including pipelines and reservoirs, Rezatec is analysing very frequent collects of satellite data, to identify sub-centimetre ground movement over time, either subsidence or uplift, in close proximity to the asset. When combined with other factors, such as vegetation change, and information about the asset itself, such as pipeline construction material, asset managers can be alerted across their entire network, quickly and regularly, to any potential risk that enables early intervention, before it becomes a more expensive and significant event.

Philip Briscoe, COO of Rezatec said: “It’s incredible what we can understand from satellite data in relation to monitoring asset networks. Identifying high risk areas of subterranean pipeline infrastructure is a cost-effective alternative to more traditional methods being non-invasive, frequently updated and highly scalable.”

Rezatec delivers its geospatial data analytics as dynamic, multi-layered data products via a secure online portal. Users can interact with the outputs via a highly visualised, interactive map-based interface, with the ability to drill down into detailed analysis, set up alerts and reports and download data into other GIS-based systems.

Find out more at www.rezatec.com/pipeline

Matchpoint

Rezatec partnering with Matchpoint Inc., leading water management and preservation consultants, to deliver unique satellite-powered leakage risk detection in the Southern US States.

As part of a continued expansion into North America, Rezatec has now partnered with Matchpoint Inc. to bring innovative applications of satellite data analytics to the water industry in North America. Rezatec and Matchpoint aim to help water companies in the southern states including Georgia, North & South Carolina, Florida and Texas, reduce non-revenue water lost through pipeline leakage, particularly in more rural areas with less monitored pipelines.

Matchpoint are dedicated to helping companies save valuable resources by supporting the effective and efficient management of water infrastructure using the latest technology. They have the extensive water industry expertise, access to innovative SMART technologies and a 360-degree, holistic approach to generate meaningful data and actionable insight. Their focus is on providing visibility and transparency to managers of underground assets, predicting and preventing asset failure events in real time and reducing the risks associated with aging infrastructure.

Philip Briscoe, Chief Operating Officer at Rezatec stated, “We are very pleased to be working with Matchpoint in US. They are well-established and well-reputed in the water industry and are aligned carefully with our mission to enable the use of innovative technology, like ours, to reduce water loss through leakage detection and to improve the efficiency of water utility operations.”

Simon Wick, VP Water Asset Management at Matchpoint Inc. commented, “Water is invaluable, and it is our mission to save and make better use of it. Our clients rely on us for the knowledge to operate and maintain each critical asset within their system, including the resource itself. Rezatec allows us to provide a comprehensive solution with decision based on fact, not speculation.”

Rezatec and Matchpoint will now continue to promote the accurate, cost-efficient, highly valuable and scalable nature of satellite data analytics when used to monitor infrastructure assets and predict asset failures.

To find out more visit www.rezatec.com/pipeline or contact Matchpoint on 910/509-7225 or at www.matchpointinc.us

We’ll be at Utility Week Live, 23-24 May 2017, NEC Birmingham

Rezatec will be attending Utility Week Live on 23rd and 24th of May at the NEC in Birmingham. We will be exhibiting in partnership with Isle Utilities in their exciting Innovation Zone – Stand C41.

You can find out more about the event here – www.utilityweeklive.co.uk

Feel free to come and talk to us on the stand about our specialist utility sector geospatial satellite data analytics products or you can come to our Tech Talk on 23rd called ‘Satellite Geospatial Data Analytics for Water Utilities’.

We’re excited to present our innovative data analytics technology and expertise and look forward to seeing you there.

If you’d like to book a short meeting whilst we are there, please email us on info@rezatec.com