Recap: Autodesk’s presence at the 2023 Water Infrastructure Conference in Philadelphia

Youssef Al Fahham Youssef Al Fahham September 14, 2023

3 min read

This year’s Water Infrastructure Conference started with major flight delays and cancellations as host city Philadelphia and neighboring areas experienced severe thunderstorms, fueled by high heat and gusty winds. I myself experienced a 24-hour flight delay. On the bright side, the rest of the week dried out, with sunshine and low humidity, which made for pleasant strolling through America’s Garden Capital, Philadelphia.

The intense storms blew away and made for a lovely week of weather.

The Water Infrastructure Conference is an annual national conference, organized by the American Water Works Association (AWWA), with special focus on water infrastructure challenges. This broadly covers hydraulic modeling, digital twins, planning, emergency preparedness, asset management, water loss, operations and maintenance practices, and cybersecurity.

Typical to many industry conferences, WIC had a dedicated exposition hall, where Autodesk had a booth to directly converse with water industry professionals. Approaching Autodesk at the booth meant you would have been greeted by any of our team members’ smiling faces… open for a chat and ready to assist.

Welcome to WIC! Ask us anything about water.

Hydraulic modeling calibration handbook is on its way

Twelve years in the making, AWWA’s Engineering Modeling Applications Committee has finally completed the highly anticipated Handbook for Water Distribution System Model Calibration. The handbook is bound to become a useful guide for novice and experienced modelers alike, with fundamental chapters on how to achieve greater confidence in hydraulic models through sound calibration practices.

Although, at its core, calibration might appear simple, deep down, modelers are faced with unknowns and uncertainties that can overcomplicate the process. From demand variability to network connectivity and C-factor sensitivity, calibration first requires figuring the source of the deviation between the field and the model before making any changes, and this handbook promises to guide hydraulic modelers on what to look for and when.

Addressing operational inefficiencies with Autodesk’s Info360 Insight

Maximizing the use of data was a recurring theme throughout the conference, and our own Tim Medearis contributed to this topic through his presentation “Using SCADA Data to Address Operational Inefficiencies within Your Distribution Network.” The focus of Tim’s session was on the use of Autodesk’s cloud solution, Info360 Insight, to streamline the creation of customizable and user- centric workspaces. The highlight of the session was demonstrating how these workspaces could then be used to gather relevant insights, from water balance and leakage – to pump efficiency and tank turnover – all in a single web-based platform.

Pioneering asset management in the cloud with Autodesk’s Info360 Asset

Another hot topic at the conference was asset management. There were several presentations on leveraging hydraulic modeling to inform risk-based asset management, combining asset management and master planning practices, optimizing pipeline replacements using digital tools, and finally the use of cloud solutions for asset management.

Martha shows how to tackle at least 4 of the AWWA’s top 10 challenges.

Autodesk’s Customer Success Manager, Martha Nunez discussed in her session how Autodesk’s Info360 Asset could be used to tackle four of the of the top 10 challenges identified in AWWA’s 2023 State of the Water Industry Report, namely aging infrastructure, financial intensive capital improvement projects, regulatory compliance, and the aging workforce. Martha’s session highlighted how Info360 Asset can streamline the asset management framework through unlimited cloud storage for condition assessment data, a user-friendly risk analysis interface, and a visual rehabilitation plan that incorporates decision trees.

If you haven’t read it yet, the AWWA’s 2023 State of the Water Industry Report has some great stats.

Looking ahead to WEFTEC, AU

Reflecting on the time at WIC 2023, our team is reminded of our love of meeting with customers and helping further the water industry forward. As water engineers ourselves, we look forward to connecting with the industry further this year at conferences like the upcoming WEFTEC in Chicago or even at one of our many water classes at Autodesk University.

Of course, we’ll also see you again at WIC next year in Phoenix – and you can stay tuned to everything we’re building together here on the One Water Blog.

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