Living and Prototyping Digital Twins for Urban Water Systems: Towards Multi-Purpose Value Creation Using Models and Sensors
- To propose the concept and a terminology relevant to DTs in urban water systems;
- To identify the value creation for multi-purpose needs from the perspectives of a utility company and authority;
- To analyze and illustrate the workflow and dataflow for building and maintaining a living DT in VCS and thereby inspiring a greater exchange of ideas and experiences internationally.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Literature Study
2.2. Professional Network Interactions and Interviews
2.3. The VCS Service Area and Utility Organization
3. Overview of the Digital Twin Concept
3.1. Definitions—Digital Twins as an Open Feature-Based Concept
3.2. Value Creation in Digital Ecosystems through Digital Twins
3.3. Examples of Digital Twins Applied at Different Scales
4. Digital Twins for Water and Wastewater Systems
4.1. Living Digital Twins for Water Distribution and Urban Drainage Systems
4.2. Simulation Models in Living and Prototyping Digital Twins for Urban Drainage Systems
5. Dreaming of a Multi-Purpose Living Digital Twin for the Urban Drainage System in VCS Denmark
5.1. Multi-Purpose Value Creation across Departmental Silos
5.2. The Urban Drainage Living Digital Twin in VCS—Past and Present Implementation
5.3. Future Planned DT Developments in VCS
- Data quality control. Therrien et al. (2020)  outline a guide to perform data quality control for single sensors, but we also require features that can cross-check data from multiple closely located sensors to understand where sensors can be most optimally placed and to automatically control data from hundreds of levels and flow gauges across the urban drainage system.
- Continuous state-dependent error diagnosis. A living DT capable of describing the physical system with acceptable uncertainty for all locations and with all objectives in mind could seem utopian. This is due to the lack of detailed information about assets and dynamics as the system ages but also because of stochastic inputs, such as rain and the constant exchange of water with the surrounding environment, which are difficult to quantify. Hydrologic signatures  may help overcome the state-dependent nature of the observed differences between models and observations.
- Visualization and learning. DTs allow us to develop better planning and design models by learning from the living DT and converting unknown processes to known ones. It is expected that this aim will give rise to many questions and hypotheses to be tested in the coming years.
- Adding more detail, e.g., improved run-off models and a better representation of hydraulic structures and pump characteristics, examining unstructured information that may provide new information for the DTs, and creating a balanced alarm system that triggers the rights alarms distinguishing, e.g., between critical service jobs and non-critical maintenance jobs.
- Improving the overall DT system architecture with a DE based on open standards for data and standard API solutions.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Application Area||Examples in Literature|
|Society||National DT system with many different DTs in different sectors where value can be created |
|City||Connection of several DTs, where relevant, to give value to citizens in a connected city across sectors [33,34,35]|
|System||Autonomous cars , water distribution systems , oil and gas industry , or urban drainage systems (as discussed in this paper).|
|Plant||WRRF  or drinking water facilities |
|Unit Process/Operation, Hydraulic Structure||DTs of overflow structures, other complicated hydraulic constructions, or biochemical processes in the WRRF treatment step |
|Component||e.g., pumping devices  guided by the DT for maintenance of the product.|
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Pedersen, A.N.; Borup, M.; Brink-Kjær, A.; Christiansen, L.E.; Mikkelsen, P.S. Living and Prototyping Digital Twins for Urban Water Systems: Towards Multi-Purpose Value Creation Using Models and Sensors. Water 2021, 13, 592. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050592
Pedersen AN, Borup M, Brink-Kjær A, Christiansen LE, Mikkelsen PS. Living and Prototyping Digital Twins for Urban Water Systems: Towards Multi-Purpose Value Creation Using Models and Sensors. Water. 2021; 13(5):592. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050592Chicago/Turabian Style
Pedersen, Agnethe N., Morten Borup, Annette Brink-Kjær, Lasse E. Christiansen, and Peter S. Mikkelsen. 2021. "Living and Prototyping Digital Twins for Urban Water Systems: Towards Multi-Purpose Value Creation Using Models and Sensors" Water 13, no. 5: 592. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050592