BGN 134 million of investments are planned for digitalization of the fragmented water sector

The project could start three months after the approval of the National Plan for Reconstruction and Sustainability by the EC, which we are still negotiating in the energy sector and the rule of law

Climate / Bulgaria
3E news
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Raya Lecheva

One of the projects in the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability is planning over BGN 134 million investments in the fragmented water supply and sewerage sector. The beneficiary of the project and coordinator will be the Ministry of Environment and Water with the Water Management Directorate. Partners will be the Executive Agency for Environment and Water, Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (Bulgarian Water and Sewerage Holding EAD), Irrigation Systems EAD, National Electric Company EAD and National Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology.

The aim of the project is to improve the management of water quantity through digitalization of the process and to improve the control of water use. An additional goal of the project is to promote good practices in the use of water saving technologies and their reuse in all sectors and reduce water losses in order to improve adaptation to climate change.

The work on the project is planned to be organized in two stages - preparatory activities and actual implementation

The project will require coordination between all units managing the sector

Organization and coordination between the beneficiary and the partners for the implementation of the project activities are envisaged. At the end of this stage, it is planned to sign a Partnership Agreement, which will define the roles and obligations for the implementation of the project and for the sustainability of the results after its completion. It is also envisaged to form a coordination group with all partners and thematic coordination groups on specialized issues, to identify the participants in these groups and to form a project management team, etc.

The implementation of the project is related to various activities. First of all, analysis and design of an integrated water quantity management system (IMSC). It is envisaged to develop a concept for the connection of IMSC with other established systems and the organization for the transmission of data to the Executive Agency for Environmental Protection and Water (EPA).

It is planned to build

• Real-time level measurement systems in dams: installation of level measuring systems on all complex dams in which no real-time dam volume is available or paid for.

• Systems for measuring and monitoring the ecological outflow: installation of measuring devices of significant water users and introduction of video surveillance with the possibility of remote reading and transmission of real-time monitoring information

• Systems for control of seized water quantities: installation of measuring devices of significant water users, other than facilities of Water and Sewerage, National Assembly EAD and NEK EAD for remote reading and transmission of information on measured water quantities to WIS

• Integrated water quantity management system - the system will receive data from the systems listed above, as well as from the planned metering devices from water supply and sewerage facilities, facilities of NEK EAD and NS EAD and from meteorological and hydrological stations of NIMH

At this stage, it is also necessary to make an analysis of the possibilities for water balances on the principle of water catchment of river basins through the data from the existing and planned measuring stations in IMSC. The aim is to improve not only the operational management of water, but also in the short and long term by collecting and systematizing data, simulating development options and planning the necessary actions to address drought problems resulting from problems from drought as a result of climate change and from water shortage.

Ability to monitor water in real time

For its part, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW), with the financial support of the Operational Program "Environment 2014-2020" implements the project "Support for efficiency, management and institutional capacity in the water sector." The following are under development:

• Unified information system for water supply and sewerage services and register of water supply and sewerage operators and water supply and sewerage associations (UIC of water supply and sewerage) (under implementation)

• Information system for water management systems and facilities (IS of the SJC). (in progress)

This project envisages the construction of a monitoring and control system based on the new LPWAN technologies (mainly LoRaWAN and NB-IoT, covering distances up to 15+ km and powered by batteries lasting up to 10+ years). The platform will support data on the location of measuring devices, as well as those for level and flow in real time.

It is expected that a network will finally be built to implement the possibility for real-time monitoring.

The sewerage network will be built at Irrigation Systems EAD (MAF) through the installed and put into operation measuring devices, they will be synchronized and will transmit data to software for control and monitoring of water masses.

A network will be built through a PointtoPoint device (a form of communication that provides a direct path from one fixed point to another) to enable real-time monitoring.

End of manual collection and processing of information in NEK as well

NEK EAD has control systems in 15 HPPs and 4 HPPs, and the information from them is collected, processed and analyzed in the central management manually. The levels of the dams managed by NEK EAD are reported every hour during working hours, and the information is entered manually. NEK EAD has automatic meteorological stations only in certain places, but the information from them is also processed manually.

Within the project for construction of IMSC, as part of the overall integrated system, it is planned to develop a module for the needs of NEK EAD. The module must receive real-time information from the sites of NEK EAD, to store, process automatically, analyze and archive - data on the levels in dams and levelers; the available water quantities in the dams and levelers; data on inflows to dams and levelers. It is important to receive information on the implementation of the monthly schedules of the MoEW, data on the consumption of water quantities in real time, including the consumption of water quantities for electricity production, the cost of environmental needs, water consumption for other water users and / or needs.

The module must be integrated with the existing control systems and automated stations of NEK, collecting and storing data from them in real time.

The module must collect real-time data from the additional infrastructure (measuring instruments and systems) planned for construction in the current project, for monitoring and monitoring of water levels, water consumption, tributaries, ecological flows. The module must allow the inclusion of information from the NIMH systems on the current hydrometeorological situation, as well as a forecast of the expected inflows in the reservoirs for at least 10 days ahead. The module should be open for further integration with other official sources on metrology and water management.

The system must provide aggregation of information from different sources in real time, storage, automated processing, analysis and archiving of data.

The system must have an indicative user interface. The system must have the necessary high level of cyber protection and additional redundancy.

The NIMH has a national telecommunication center, which receives in real time some of the data from the meteorological and hydrological monitoring networks of the country.

When automating most of the measurements, it is envisaged that it can be upgraded with a Center for Hydrometeorological Monitoring for the purposes of water management. The center must be equipped with modern computing and communication equipment, digital databases and numerical meteorological and hydrological models. The main task of this center will be the real-time service of the state governing bodies in the field of water with quality and up-to-date hydrometeorological information and analysis. This center will be informationally integrated into the integrated water quantity management system under construction under the project.

New generation measuring devices

Research and selection of suitable places for installation of measuring and monitoring devices is envisaged.

It is envisaged to carry out these activities for the water supply and sewerage sector, for energy (facilities managed by NEK), for irrigation (facilities managed by the National Assembly) and all other water users (energy, irrigation, industry, etc.).

It also envisages the selection and determination of places for measuring and video surveillance of the minimum allowable runoff in rivers, as well as a technical solution to ensure the same (devices, connectivity, etc.).

The project could start three months after the approval of the National Plan for Reconstruction and Sustainability by the EC, which we are still negotiating in the energy sector and the rule of law.



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