April 5, 2011

Derceto signs multi-million £ software
deal with UK's Northumbrian Water

One of the top ten UK water utility companies – Northumbrian Water Ltd – has awarded a multi-million £ contract to specialist New Zealand water utility optimization software company Derceto via their UK partner, Mouchel.

Derceto’s CEO Wayne Spittal says the contract, the largest signed by Derceto to date, will see Derceto implement its Aquadapt software throughout Northumbrian Water Ltd plants in the UK, enabling significant energy cost savings of around £1 million annually.

The implementation, at all five major water networks within Northumbrian Water’s operating areas in Essex, Suffolk, and the north-east of England, will also deliver other operational benefits.

Northumbrian Water serves a population of 2.6 million people in the north east of England with water and sewerage services. Essex & Suffolk Water supplies water to 1.7 million people in the Essex, south Norfolk and north Suffolk areas.

Northumbrian Water Network Manager Dennis Dellow says the decision to purchase Aquadapt had been driven primarily by the need to control, manage and predict energy costs.

“For a water utility, energy is the second highest cost after labour,” Dellow says. “We are principally interested in Derceto’s Aquadapt as a way of reducing energy costs, mainly through more efficient pump scheduling. But as the product was evaluated, and Derceto analyzed the cost saving opportunities, it became clear that in addition to achieving significant energy savings, Aquadapt could also provide accurate energy modeling, and that data could be used to negotiate more favorable three-year energy supply contracts.”

He says there will also be operational benefits from being able to support individual operators with a powerful software tool designed to enable consistent and predictable operation.

“Because we have a lot of storage we have quite a lot flexibility in how we pump the water. But we have a highly complex system with hundreds of pumping stations and reservoirs, so it’s a big challenge to maintain supply and manage reservoirs at operational levels while at the same time maximizing lowest cost electricity use. This is a bigger and more complex problem than can be managed by individual operators over such a large number of sites.”

Dellow says that in looking for a solution Northumbrian Water went out to the entire market throughout Europe.

“We certainly found no other product that would do what Aquadapt can do. Some vendors said they could develop a solution, but we saw Derceto’s Aquadapt as a proven and working solution, already doing what we want to do at other water utilities in North America, New Zealand and Australia.”

Northumbrian Water’s implementation of Derceto’s Aquadapt will be a first across the European Union, Dellow says.

“No other water company in Europe is doing it on this scale. We have a lot of work ahead of us to deliver on the business case, but we are very confident that we can achieve the cost savings and efficiencies forecast – and significantly reduce our energy costs over the long haul.”

A rolling implementation throughout the five discrete water distribution systems within Northumbrian Water will be completed over the next 20 months with support from Mouchel, Derceto’s UK implementation partner.

Related news | August 1, 2008: Derceto, Mouchel Group secure Phase 2 project with Northumbrian Water


About Northumbrian Water Group

Northumbrian Water Group plc is an independent company quoted on the FTSE 250 index of the London Stock Exchange. The companies in the Group work in three related areas: UK water supply and waste water services, water and waste water contracts and also provide technical and consultancy services focusing on water and environmental issues. For more information, visit the Northumbrian Water Group website

About Mouchel

Mouchel is a consulting and business services group that provides many of the design, managerial and engineering services that support modern society. Mouchel works with government agencies, local authorities, government-regulated industries and the private-sector to provide safe, reliable roads and railways, well-managed education and civic infrastructure, clean water, and cost-effective energy. For more information, visit the Mouchel website

Case study

Nov 24 2010

Michael Doherty,
Engineering Operations Manager, Unitywater.



Q: How can a reservoir level be predicted to go up when it is below minimum and no pumps/valves are scheduled on to fill it?

Oct 19 2010

A: If a reservoir level is below the minimum limit this breaches a primary constraint. There could be many reasons for this including bringing a tank back into service or recovery after pipeline or pump station failure. To allow the Aquadapt Solver to find a solution we make it assume the storage tank it is at minimum level at the start of the solve period. Aquadapt software may then show the tank level at this level which is greater than the actual level for the next period even when nothing is actually filling the reservoir. Normally back up level control will ensure the tank stays above minimum. We indicate that this is not a true indication of level by shading all of the level values on the screen grey instead of blue to make it more obvious that this level data is invalid.