Smart Water Network Infrastructures

By Hossam A. Gabbar, Sultan Islam & Ahmed Ramadan

This blog post provides an introduction to the recently published paper from Water Reuse, and highlights some of the key features of the research.

The world is facing many challenges that limit the progress of humanity. This paper presents a solution to convert the conventional water network into a smart water network (SWN). Scenarios are synthesized for water recycling inside buildings with less water consumed, minimizing the overall cost. Multiphysics modelling and simulation are conducted with Hysys and Ansys - Fluent in calculating the water flow quantity, pressure of the water network and velocity of water inside the pipe network. Four scenarios are synthesized and modelled for a selected mall building case study. These scenarios reduce the water consumption in the mall from 100% to 29.4%, with a cost-saving of more than 60%.

Water stress or scarcity occurs when the demand for safe and available water exceeds the supply in a particular area. On the demand side, most of the world's freshwater (around 70%) is used for agriculture, with the remainder split between industrial use (19%) and domestic use, including drinking (11%).

This process depends on recycling the building water from the bath, shower, sink and kitchen to reuse in the main line of building feeding. This is assumed by conducting a small wastewater plant in or beside the building. The proposed solution led to savings in water consumption of about 64% of AS-IS water usage.

The process depends on the residual water from the washroom, sink and kitchen and reused after filtering to toilet flushing. It is conducted by saving this water in a closed tank; the tank is connected to the freshwater line to keep the flow rate of toilets flushing. Savings in water consumption is estimated to be 14.8% of AS-IS water usage. The proposed solution will be implemented in the following process:

  • Install one unit per floor for recycling water from washrooms, sink and kitchens to toilets (tank, pump, pipe, valves) beside one toilet and change pipe connection to other toilets on the same floor.
  • Calculate the size and define interfaces to building water networks.
  • Define suitable tank specifications as part of the system to offer flexibility and low cost in construction.
  • The HVAC system has an open water system. The residual HVAC water is linked to the water network within the building.
  • Install pipes and valve system with a filter from chiller output (for open HVAC system) to be interfaced with the main input water pipe of the building with valve to the existing input water pipe. The valve will regulate pressure and flow of input water to the building.
  • Calculate the pipe and valve specifications and define the flow rate of the proposed system.

Water conservation and beneficial reuse can reduce freshwater diversion from rivers. There are many direct and indirect benefits from reduced diversion and improved downstream water quality. These benefits should be considered when evaluating the benefits of new water reuse projects. Water reuse increases the available water supply, allows more human needs to be met with less fresh water and reduces human impact on the global water environment. There is a reason for optimism that humanity will focus efforts to reverse the deterioration of the earth's water environment and hit the world's water sustainability needs. 

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