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Customer Story

Water data visualization increases Sabesp operational intelligence and resilience

water treatment plant
  • Challenge
    Increase operational efficiency to provide 100% reliability in water supply by 2022
  • Solutions
    PI Vision provides intuitive visualization of critical data, and notifications alert engineers to potential problems before they arise
  • Benefits
    From 2015 to 2017, water shortages decreased from 14% to 5%; customer satisfaction increased from 67% to 84%

In 2015, the Brazilian state of São Paulo faced a massive water crisis that left many of the area’s largest reservoirs nearly bone dry. Sabesp, a state-owned water and waste management company, manages the water distribution and sewage collection and treatment for over half the state’s cities. During the crisis, customers overwhelmed Sabesp's call centers, demanding information about water supply and water levels in the reservoirs. The volume of customer inquiries crowded out crucial communications about operations as Sabesp scrambled to maintain service. Following the crisis, Sabesp partnered with Stefanini, a Brazilian data-processing and consulting firm, to develop a stable and reliable environment using the PI System to better manage its operations.

With the implementation [of the PI System], we can now do more together—we can act in parallel. It was very important for us to have this benefit.
Silvana Franco
Manager of Supply Control of the Metropolitan Region of São Paolo, Sabesp

Going with the flow

Guaranteeing a reliable supply of drinking water in São Paulo’s metropolitan region is a crucial but challenging task for Sabesp, one of the largest sanitation companies in the world. With great size comes great responsibility. Irregular terrain, ranging from about 750 to 1,100 meters (about 2,500-3,600 feet) above sea level, combined with high-density population areas, requires a large and complex system of pipes and pump stations to transport water to nearly 28 million customers. Further complicating matters, the São Paulo region has very limited water resources, demanding extreme efficiency of operations.

Sabesp set a goal to reach 100% reliability in its water supply by 2022. To achieve this benchmark in such a high-stakes environment, the company needed a new system that would provide all the information needed to run its operations efficiently. Sabesp had several clear requirements for the new system, including the ability to create an integrated analysis of the sanitation cycle. It also needed a user-friendly interface readable by everyone in the company, not just engineers. In addition, fast integration of information from other business processes for rapid decision-making, was necessary, as well as online monitoring of indicators affecting customers.

Model behavior

Sabesp already had a lot of data coming in from its remote equipment. With help from Stefanini, Sabesp set up a PI Interface for OPC DA to collect this data from its SCADA systems and move it to the PI System. Sabesp then used Asset Framework (AF), the PI Server’s contextualization layer, to organize its assets, taking advantage of easy-to-use templates to make data modeling run more smoothly.

Now, no matter where they are, engineers and managers throughout the company can easily access information about the status of pipes, pump stations, and reservoirs. This is accomplished by using a VPN to access PI Vision displays online on any device. PI Vision also allows users to create dashboards to access general system maps as well as displays of different subsystems and pump stations. Users can drag and drop assets to create quick, intuitive web-based displays. These displays automatically provide important information about key assets, such as the current pressure at, or unit number of, a particular pump.

Due to the time-sensitive nature of running a water-management company, Sabesp wanted its new system equipped with alarms and notifications to alert engineers about potentially critical events. The PI System’s Event Frames and Notifications features now automatically notify Sabesp about water shortages. Alarms and reports also help engineers and maintenance teams predict problems and take preventative action. “With the implementation [of the PI System], we can now do more together—we can act in parallel,” said Silvana Franco, manager of supply control at Sabesp. “It was very important for us to have this benefit.

PI Vision monitors various components of Sabesp water product infrastructureUsing PI Vision, Sabesp monitors various components of its water production infrastructure.

Great expectations, greater results

The results of Sabesp’s PI System implementation went beyond expectations: Corrective maintenance decreased from 11% in 2015 to less than 7% in 2017. In addition, from 2017 to 2018, Sabesp's water-loss index, measured in terms of liters per connection per day, decreased from 348 to 337, which Franco explained was “a very big result for us.”

But perhaps most important of all, claims from customers about water shortages fell from 14% in 2015 to 5% in 2017, and according to Sabesp's satisfaction survey, customer satisfaction increased from 67% in 2015 to 84% in 2017. Sabesp also used information from the PI System to create a customer-facing app so that the public can stay informed about water levels and availability. As a result, Sabesp's public image has improved greatly: in 2018, the Brazilian market research company IBOPE named Sabesp the second most reliable company in São Paulo. “We know implementing the PI System was a big part of this result,” Franco said.

For more information about Sabesp and the PI System, watch the full presentation here.

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