Case Study

Enduring relationship helps deliver water services to 1.5 million people daily

Advanced Analytics | Data Quality | Data Science Team Development | Data Visualisation + Reporting Solutions

Harmonic builds enduring relationships with our clients to provide ongoing value and expertise. Our lengthy professional relationship with Watercare has allowed us to contribute to several aspects of their business, including; performing data quality assessments and exploratory data analyses, creating custom algorithms and analytical measures; developing and productionising forecasting projects, and; building their in-house data science team.

Watercare Services Limited provides water and wastewater services to the people and businesses of Auckland. They are New Zealand's largest company in the water and wastewater industry. They also collect, treat and dispose of around 460 million litres of wastewater daily, including trade waste from industry. Watercare carries out significant work to upgrade and build infrastructure, so that they can maintain levels of service and provide capacity for a fast-growing population.

The Challenge

Watercare supplies around 365 million litres of water to Auckland every day. Water is drawn from 23 sources, treated and supplied to homes and businesses via a vast network of pipes.

As Watercare manages the water and wastewater for wider Auckland, their network contains data from a wide variety of sources and formats. They need to manage water supply, wastewater, and the corresponding data in a timely, accurate, and responsive manner. Watercare sought a partner who could help expand their data science team, perform data quality assessments, and develop operational tools to more effectively manage their network.

The Solution

Harmonic has assisted Watercare in expanding their data science expertise by acting as a liaison with The University of Auckland. This has included Harmonic presenting our Watercare projects to the University of Auckland’s Statistics and Computer Science students, which led to an internship programme at Watercare and the recruitment of two interns, one of which was a graduate who converted to a permanent position.

A data quality assessment was undertaken to inspect, clean, and standardise a selection of Watercare’s data as their network is extensive and incorporates data from a wide variety of sources. Watercare’s production team implemented several of Harmonic’s recommendations for specific applications, ensuring data flows consistently and cleanly from a diverse range of sources, structures, and transmission methods.

Following the data quality assessment, Harmonic worked with Watercare’s business analysts and subject matter experts to add to key business metrics. This included performing exploratory data analysis to aggregate data and design new algorithms to construct business metrics for display across Watercare. These metrics were shown within Watercare’s Water Resource Management Screen which includes the water level of Auckland’s dams, activity at treatment plants, and specific rates of water inflow at Watercare's dams.

As Paul de Quaasteniet, Programme Director of Strategic Transformation at Watercare, said, "having the right partners on the journey was critical. The fresh talent from Harmonic Analytics has accelerated our shift towards a data-driven culture."

Complex analytical tools have been researched, developed, and rolled out by the Harmonic team as Watercare’s data science team are focused upon core business. For example, Harmonic completed a Bulk Supply Point forecasting model, which operated at the handover point between the transmission and network portions of their infrastructure. This model forecasts total water usage across Auckland by using historic data, data on public holidays, and weather data. Watercare has greenlit the productionising of this model by their production team based upon this proof of concept. The forecasting tool has been deployed in Watercare's state-of-the-art operational control room.

Another example of an operational tool that has been developed and rolled out is an end-to-end visualisation of water flows through Watercare's network. It brings together datasets from many different parts of the business and highlights areas that require attention to reduce losses.

The Result

The enduring relationship between Harmonic and Watercare has brought several benefits:

  • University engagement through Harmonic.
  • Development of in-house data science expertise.
  • Collation and visualisation of key business metrics.
  • Algorithm design for new business metrics.
  • Developing and operationalising tools to predict future demand and highlight areas of water loss.

“By accurately forecasting demand, we will be able to use our distribution networks effectively and ensure we continue to provide a safe and reliable supply of water to our customers"

— Vinny Parmar, Watercare

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