Ad-Hoc Wireless Sensor Networks for Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) and Vulnerability Assessment of Water Piping Networks


Project Overview

The problem of aging infrastructure and of associated water losses in urban water distribution networks has been one of the biggest infrastructure problems facing city and municipal authorities and a major task in their efforts to achieve efficient and sustainable management of water resources. Interestingly enough and as a measure of the magnitude of the problem, the “unaccounted-for” water is in the range of 20% to 30% even in developed countries, whereas in developing countries this percentage is even higher (as reported by the International Water Association, IWA). According to studies found in literature for example, water losses in France’s water distribution network have been estimated at an average 26%, in UK at 19%, in Italy 29% (MCG 2006) and in Cyprus 25-30%. Yet, local communities have poor prediction tools to prioritize how essential infrastructure investment is conducted and to dynamically account for the water consumption at households and in the network in general.

One of the main issues in mitigating the effects of pipeline failures is the identification of the pipes’ vulnerabilities in advance and the implementation of suitable rehabilitation and prevention procedures. Furthermore, the ‘online’ measuring of water consumption will allow Water Boards to dynamically monitor the water balance in the networks, to detect water losses as they occur, implement ‘virtual water’ and water-pricing policies based on consumption, and enforce water saving measures devised on volumetric consumption, water quota, and online monitoring.

The UCyAMR project aims at:

  • Expanding current research at the Host Organization on water-loss reduction, Performing vulnerability assessment of lifeline systems (e.g. water, natural gas, electricity), with a focus on urban water distribution networks,
  • Developing prediction and evaluation methods for evaluating the social and economic vulnerability with a view to integrating these methods with engineering-based vulnerability or fragility evaluation methods. The aim will be to provide indicators of engineering, social and economic vulnerability based on a number of factors that represent engineering principles, community demographics, socio-economic and risk perception characteristics,
  • Developing a comprehensive hardware and software solution for the monitoring of piping systems with ad-hoc wireless sensors,
  • Developing a comprehensive hardware and software solution for the automatic meter reading of water meters, providing online monitoring of water consumption in the network,
  • Implementing the developed system at a pilot location,
  • Setting up a multidisciplinary team of experts from civil engineering, risk analysis, mechanical engineering, computational mechanics, and computer engineering for a holistic approach to vulnerability assessment.

AMR coupled with GIS, artificial agents and neurofuzzy decision support systems, has the potential of being the 'holy grail' in sustainable UWDN management and waterloss detection.

UCyAMR research team (2011).

Consortium Partners

  • University of Cyprus,
  • SignalGenerix Ltd (Cyprus),
  • FWS Ltd (Cyprus).

Funding Agency

The UCyAMR research project was funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation through the 2008 National Research Call, which is in turn funded by the Republic of Cyprus and the European Union's Regional Structural Funds.

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The EUPALINOS Lab in Brief

EUPALINOS is a laboratory of construction engineering and of urban water distribution networks (UWDN) management, focused on scientific and industrial research pertaining to these thematic areas. The EUPALINOS Lab is affiliated with the University of Cyprus's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and with the NIREAS International Water Research Center (Nireas-IWRC), it is coordinated by Dr. Symeon Christodoulou and has been the host of several nationally and internationally funded research projects in construction engineering and management, building information models, water distribution networks, and transportation networks.

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