As Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City grows the need for a sustainable fix for water leakage increases

The digital solution ABB AbilityTM Symphony® Plus SCADA for water and power industries provides the answer

The Vietnamese city of Ho Chi Minh lost nearly 30 percent of its clean water in 2016 through leaking and damaged pipes. An alarming figure, when most developed cities have a water loss rate of five to seven percent. More than 150 million cubic meters of water went to waste that year. The root cause is that major sections of the city’s water distribution infrastructure are very old. Some sections were built more than 30 years ago, while others even date back to the colonial era.

“The water supply system in Ho Chi Minh City has been in place for 60-70 years. Over time the infrastructure has deteriorated. And water losses are high,” said Tran Quang Minh, deputy general director at the city’s local water utility, Saigon Water Corporation (SAWACO).

Today about 55 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, according to data from the United Nations. By 2050 this number is expected to be just below 70 percent. One in eight of the world's 7.6 billion inhabitants live in a megacity —33 sprawling urban areas with populations of more than 10 million. By 2030, there will be 43 megacities and the global population will surge to 8.6 billion. Rapid growth of cities and their population puts an enormous pressure on infrastructures, which were built decades ago. Leakage of drinking water is one of the most urgent problems.

SAWACO undertook a major renovation of the city’s water distribution network. Expansion of the current network capacity, integration of more isolated sections, reduction of water leakage, and real-time control and monitoring of the network conditions to prevent major disruptions are all part of the project scope.

Ho Chi Min targets its water leakage problem with ABB Ability™ Symphony® Plus, a distributed control system (DCS) especially tailored for the water and power industries. SAWACO has an ambitious target to reduce water leakage to 10 percent by 2020 from a current 30 percent.

In just 50 years, Ho Chi Minh City has transformed from a simple economy based on fishing into the economic heart of Vietnam and the country’s largest city. In the 1960s only five percent of the Vietnamese population lived in cities - the number has grown to 33 percent today. It is a trend that sees the Ho Chi Minh City’s boundaries expand by four percent each year. With that the pressure on its aged infrastructure increases.

“Ho Chi Minh City is making the transition to digital technology. A modern water management system is very important to customers and businesses to meet rising demand,” Tran Quang Minh said. “ABB Ability™ is one of the solutions SAWCO has been using to help us detect leaks and monitor and control the network in real time.”

ABB Ability™ Symphony® Plus SCADA integrates a sophisticated leakage detection and management system from the water network management company TaKaDu. The project deploys several data collection points, such as sensors and meters for flow and pressure monitoring, to the water network and allow SAWACO to digitally monitor the network conditions in nearly real time.

ABB Ability™ Symphony® Plus is a distributed control system (DCS) especially tailored for the power and water industries. Part of the ABB Ability™ portfolio of digital offerings, this control system adds value for customers by carefully collecting, analyzing and providing actionable insights on plant and engineering data in their systems, ultimately allowing them to lower project risk, reduce cost and throughput times and improve asset performance and profitability.

"This projects in Ho Chi Minh City shows how advanced automation impacts our daily life.” said Danilo Moresco, Global Product Manager Power and Water at ABB. “The smart collection of digital data from the field offers real-time insights on the network status, allowing SAWACO to increase the quality of its drinking water an improving living conditions for millions of people.”

SAWACO can continually detect, analyze and manage network events transforming that information into immediate actions to reduce the water losses. “In the future we plan to connect the digital systems to digital networks to remotely control the entire water supply system in Ho Chi Minh City,” the SAWACO director said.

Thanks to the digitalization of its network, the real-time knowledge of network conditions and the accurate detection of leaks, SAWACO will be able to increase the amount of water delivered to households and industries. In doing so, it will minimize the estimated 500,000 cubic meters (17,5 cubic feet) of non-revenue water, roughly the daily capacity of a medium-sized water plant in the city.

“In many parts of the world maintaining the water supply infrastructure will become increasingly complex and difficult,” SAWACO’s Tran Quang Minh said. “In Vietnam we believe that with the support of technology providers such as ABB we will build and maintain a water supply and infrastructure for Ho Chi Minh City for now and for the future.’

ABB is writing the future of how the world powers, produces, works, lives and moves by delivering proven value for customers with deep domain expertise, integrated solutions and the ABB Ability™ digital platform. Building on emerging technologies including artificial intelligence and a strong software offering, ABB Ability™ meets the increasing demand from customers such as Ho Chi Minh City for digital solutions in the rapidly changing world.

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