There has been a growing awareness of the importance of data quality in the water industry. The (AMA) scoring mechanism used by Ofwat in PR09 has further highlighted the need for improving and sustaining data quality. There is increasing recognition of the impacts of poor quality data on investment decisions, compliance, customer service, and operating expenditure (Opex), and many water utilities are introducing data quality improvement initiatives. The main focus has been on business data such as asset, infrastructure, customer and incident records.
Water utilities are substantially increasing their reliance on telemetry and shorter-life assets with the need to ensure adequate levels of data quality. There is emphasis on centralised, real-time, proactive management of operations and the use of telemetry/SCADA data to drive benefits through the whole asset management life cycle. This trend is set to continue as telemetry coverage of distribution and sewer networks provides real-time condition monitoring and early warning of asset and service failures.
However, the diverse nature and sheer scale of water industry telemetry systems presents particular data quality challenges and there is widespread concern that data quality is not always fit for purpose. There is often a disparity between the investment made in integrating telemetry data into the business and ensuring that the level of quality can support all intended uses. Poor data quality can hinder or even preclude the efficiency gains being sought.
WRc is addressing these issues through a Portfolio collaborative project (CP401) which is supported by 8 water utilites. This is an initial high level assessment to obtain a better understanding of data quality issues and activities across the industry, the real impacts of poor data quality, and where investment should be focused. The main output will be a comprehensive report documenting:
a data quality framework for telemetry data;
the current status within participating organisations, highlighting good practice, shortcomings and gaps;
good practice guidance for implementing an effective telemetry data quality management strategy; and
identification of quick wins plus a roadmap for continuous improvements including aspects requiring more in-depth investigation.
The scope also includes a review of automatic sensor/data validation techniques and approaches to dealing with poor quality/uncertain and missing data.
The project is complementary to the collaborative work through the Water Industry Alarm Systems Improvement Group (CP321A), which is similarly well supported by the industry. Alarm management is a critical business function in managing risk whilst meeting increasing obligations to health and safety, the environment, customers and business efficiency. This work provides a very good example of the serious impacts of poor quality telemetry data, and the need for continuous improvement from an overall alarm management life cycle perspective.
For further information contact John Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 (0) 1793 865016.