A virtual system could see a water company bringing the future to life, to help protect people and the environment during an incident.

Northumbrian Water and Newcastle University are coming together to progress an idea around incident response, which came out of one of the 13 ‘sprints′ held at the company′s Innovation Festival 2018.


The organisations are exploring the potential of using ‘Digital Twin′ technology - a virtual model of the real world, to help predict the impact of a burst pipe or heavy rainfall.


The ‘Twincident′ idea would allow Northumbrian Water to run simulations of an area during an incident to show what could happen over a 24 hour period, in just a couple of minutes.


This would be used to understand whether homes and businesses are in danger of being flooded, or environments being polluted, and prioritise the appropriate response actions.


Northumbrian Water's Research and Development Manager, Chris Jones said: "During an incident, it′s really important to identify problems early, in order to make the best decisions and reduce the impact on our customers and the environment.


"Harnessing the power of digital twin technology to progress our ‘Twincident′ idea would help us to have an even better insight and response to incidents, and we′re really excited about working in partnership with Newcastle University to make it happen."


Newcastle University's Chris Kilsby, Professor of Hydrology and Climate Change in the School of Engineering, said: "We′re delighted that we will be able to put our research to good use working with Northumbrian Water.


"Twincident is an excellent way of bringing together our new computer models of flooding with real time monitoring data, to enable much better decisions and responses in an important real-world application."


The idea was developed further at Northumbrian Water′s ‘Day of Innovation′ last week (18 September), which took place at Hanningfield Reservoir in Essex.


The special one-day event was held following Northumbrian Water′s Innovation Festival in Newcastle back in July, and was an opportunity to develop and test the big ideas that came out of it.


Keep track of the ‘Twincident′ progress on the Innovation Festival website www.innovationfestival.org and on Northumbrian Water′s social media channels (Facebook.com/northumbrianwater and Twitter.com/NorthumbrianH2O - #InnovationFestival18).