Special Issue "Management of Urban Water Services"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Enrique Cabrera
Website
Guest Editor
Vice-Dean of the Industrial Engineering Faculty - Universidad Politécnica de Valencia
Interests: Management of water services; water and environmental policy; urban water management; performance assessment of water services; benchmarking; regulation; water and energy
Prof. Dr. Manuel Gómez Valentín
Website
Guest Editor
Flumen Research Institute, Technical University of Catalonia—Barcelona Tech, Jordi Girona 1-3, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: canal automation, hazard analysis, model predictive control, street flow, urban floods, urban hydrology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In today’s world, urban water services are coming under great pressure. The world’s population keeps increasing exponentially and there is a significant and clear shift of population from rural to urban areas. As a result, the number of megacities in the world is quickly increasing and this rapid growth presents a phenomenal challenge for water and sanitation service providers.

This urban growth is taking place in countries where the situation of water and sanitation services is deficient, making difficult the achievement of SDG 6 and providing universal access to services for all users. In those places with 100% coverage, maintaining the quality of service is also proving to be difficult.

In richer countries, the challenges may be different but still demanding. Infrastructures are aging rapidly and past renewal rates have failed to guarantee their sustainability in many cases, and large investments will be required in the near future to improve the situation. Managing these assets, while maintaining and improving the quality of service for future generations and further reducing the environmental impacts at the same time are objectives that should be high on the list of priorities of urban water services.

While facing all these challenges, water services are also witnessing a quick development in the tools and methods that can be used to face them. The industry is experiencing a digital revolution. For decades, the water industry has been collecting a huge amount of data that has not necessarily led to better solutions. However, with the evolution of the Internet of Things, machine learning and big data solutions, the way that water services are managed could experience significant changes in the years to come.

This Special Issue aims to gather knowledge on the new challenges and solutions in the management of urban water services. Both applied and methodological research papers are welcome, portraying the state of the art, but also the future trends in this area.

Prof. Dr. Enrique Cabrera
Prof. Dr. Manuel Gómez Valentín
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Urban water management
  • Infrastructure asset management
  • Water loss management
  • Performance assessment and improvement of water services
  • Digital water
  • Smart water networks
  • Internet of Things

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Are Frontier Efficiency Methods Adequate to Compare the Efficiency of Water Utilities for Regulatory Purposes?
Water 2020, 12(4), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12041046 - 07 Apr 2020
Abstract
Frontier efficiency methods have been recurrently used in the water sector to assess the performance of water utilities. These methods are also used for yardstick regulation, with greater efficiency being sought by creating competition between the utilities, which can have an impact on [...] Read more.
Frontier efficiency methods have been recurrently used in the water sector to assess the performance of water utilities. These methods are also used for yardstick regulation, with greater efficiency being sought by creating competition between the utilities, which can have an impact on decision-making processes, such as tariff setting. This study analyzes the adequacy and limitations of these methods for regulatory purposes, particularly how they deal with data uncertainty and their capacity to manage large number of variables. In order to achieve this, two representative methods—a nonparametric technique (data envelopment analysis) and an econometric one (stochastic frontier analysis)—are applied to an audited sample of 194 water utilities. Results will show that the results from the methods may not be considered conclusive in the water sector and their application should be carried out with considerable reservations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Urban Water Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Cost–Benefit Analysis of Leakage Reduction Methods in Water Supply Networks
Water 2020, 12(1), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010195 - 10 Jan 2020
Abstract
Reducing water loss from water supply systems is often regarded as one of the most important ways to improve the resource efficiency of water supply services. However, the costs and impacts of water loss reduction efforts need to be weighed against the benefits [...] Read more.
Reducing water loss from water supply systems is often regarded as one of the most important ways to improve the resource efficiency of water supply services. However, the costs and impacts of water loss reduction efforts need to be weighed against the benefits to define the optimal water loss target level. To this end, we conducted a cost–benefit analysis of three investment-based leakage reduction methods: district metering, pressure reduction, and pipe renovations. Furthermore, we conducted uncertainty and sensitivity analysis to determine the most relevant data for leakage analysis and policymaking on a national level. The results indicate that water loss management might not be directly cost-beneficial to utilities operating with moderate leakage levels. Neither leakage percentage nor the Infrastructure Leakage Index (ILI) were suitable for leakage target setting for the Finnish utilities. The costs of investing in district metering or renovations were the most influential factors in the sensitivity analysis, but the results showed that the estimated values were sufficiently accurate for assessing leakage policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Urban Water Services)
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Open AccessArticle
A Clustered, Decentralized Approach to Urban Water Management
Water 2020, 12(1), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010185 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Current models in design of urban water management systems and their corresponding infrastructure using centralized designs have commonly failed from the perspective of cost effectiveness and inability to adapt to the future changes. These challenges are driving cities towards using decentralized systems. While [...] Read more.
Current models in design of urban water management systems and their corresponding infrastructure using centralized designs have commonly failed from the perspective of cost effectiveness and inability to adapt to the future changes. These challenges are driving cities towards using decentralized systems. While there is great consensus on the benefits of decentralization; currently no methods exist which guide decision-makers to define the optimal boundaries of decentralized water systems. A new clustering methodology and tool to decentralize water supply systems (WSS) into small and adaptable units is presented. The tool includes two major components: (i) minimization of the distance from source to consumer by assigning demand to the closest water source, and (ii) maximization of the intra-cluster homogeneity by defining the cluster boundaries such that the variation in population density, land use, socio-economic level, and topography within the cluster is minimized. The methodology and tool were applied to Arua Town in Uganda. Four random cluster scenarios and a centralized system were created and compared with the optimal clustered WSS. It was observed that the operational cost of the four cluster scenarios is up to 13.9 % higher than the optimal, and the centralized system is 26.6% higher than the optimal clustered WSS, consequently verifying the efficacy of the proposed method to determine an optimal cluster boundary for WSS. In addition, optimal homogeneous clusters improve efficiency by encouraging reuse of wastewater and stormwater within a cluster and by minimizing leakage through reduced pressure variations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Urban Water Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Proper Spacing Threshold of Non-Submerged Spur Dikes with Ipsilateral Layout
Water 2020, 12(1), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010172 - 07 Jan 2020
Abstract
Concerning the clustering of spur dikes on river systems, the spacing thresholds of twin spur dikes are important parameters to influence the estimations on the impact scales of spur dike groups and the overall responses of river systems. In this study, both numerical [...] Read more.
Concerning the clustering of spur dikes on river systems, the spacing thresholds of twin spur dikes are important parameters to influence the estimations on the impact scales of spur dike groups and the overall responses of river systems. In this study, both numerical investigations and experimental measurements are proceeded to quantify the influence of the spacing threshold of non-submerged twin spur dikes with ipsilateral and orthogonal layout in a straight rectangular channel. Through dimensional analysis, three normalized indices, i.e., Froude number Fr, ratios of channel width to dike length B/b, and ratios of channel width to water depth B/h are identified as the main influencing factors of the relative spacing threshold Sc/b, i.e., dike spacing threshold to dike length. The simulation results indicate that the similarity of mean velocity along the water depth nearby the tips of twin spur dikes is determined by the criterion of the spacing threshold of non-submerged twin spur dikes with ipsilateral and orthogonal layout in straight rectangular channel. The results also show that: Fr plays the least impact among the three influencing factors; with the fixed values of Fr and B/h, the relative threshold Sc/b sharply increases first and then decreases slightly as B/b factor increases, with which the relationship presents approximately convex quadratic function; while both Fr and B/b are fixing, the Sc/b changes oppositely, i.e., slightly increasing first and then sharply decreasing as B/h increases, which, again presents a convex quadratic function. Hence, the normalized empirical formula of spacing threshold can be deduced by multivariate regressions and verified by the corresponding measurements in good agreements. Such empirical formula further suggests that the reasonable spacing threshold ranges from 24b to 130b, which is wider than the recovery area scales found in literature. The outputs of this study provide foundation for the characterization of impact scales of spur dike groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Urban Water Services)
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Open AccessArticle
The Development of a Framework for Assessing the Energy Efficiency in Urban Water Systems and Its Demonstration in the Portuguese Water Sector
Water 2020, 12(1), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010134 - 01 Jan 2020
Abstract
Urban water systems (UWSs) are energy-intensive worldwide, particularly for drinking-water pumping and aeration in wastewater treatment. Usual approaches to improve energy efficiency focus only on equipment and disregard the UWS as a continuum of stages from source-to-tap-to-source (abstraction/transport—treatment—drinking water transport/distribution—wastewater and stormwater collection/transport—treatment—discharge/reuse). [...] Read more.
Urban water systems (UWSs) are energy-intensive worldwide, particularly for drinking-water pumping and aeration in wastewater treatment. Usual approaches to improve energy efficiency focus only on equipment and disregard the UWS as a continuum of stages from source-to-tap-to-source (abstraction/transport—treatment—drinking water transport/distribution—wastewater and stormwater collection/transport—treatment—discharge/reuse). We propose a framework for a comprehensive assessment of UWS energy efficiency and a four-level approach to enforce it: overall UWS (level 1), stage (level 2), infrastructure component (level 3) and processes/equipment (level 4). The framework is structured by efficiency and effectiveness criteria (an efficient but ineffective infrastructure is useless), earlier and newly developed performance indicators and reference values. The framework and the approach are the basis for a sound diagnosis and intervention prioritising, and are being tested in a peer-to-peer innovation project involving 13 water utilities (representing 17% of the energy consumption by the Portuguese water sector in 2017). Results of levels 1–3 of analysis herein illustrated for a water utility demonstrate the framework and approach potential to assess UWS effectiveness and energy efficiency, and to select the stages and infrastructures for improvement and deeper diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Urban Water Services)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Pilot Studies and Cost Analysis of Hybrid Powdered Activated Carbon/Ceramic Microfiltration for Controlling Pharmaceutical Compounds and Organic Matter in Water Reclamation
Water 2020, 12(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010033 - 20 Dec 2019
Abstract
This paper addresses the enhanced removal of pharmaceutical compounds (PhCs), a family of contaminants of emerging concern, and effluent organic matter (EfOM) in water reclamation by powdered activated carbon/coagulation/ceramic microfiltration (PAC/cMF). Four chemically diverse PhCs are targeted: ibuprofen (IBP), carbamazepine (CBZ), sulfamethoxazole (SMX) [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the enhanced removal of pharmaceutical compounds (PhCs), a family of contaminants of emerging concern, and effluent organic matter (EfOM) in water reclamation by powdered activated carbon/coagulation/ceramic microfiltration (PAC/cMF). Four chemically diverse PhCs are targeted: ibuprofen (IBP), carbamazepine (CBZ), sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and atenolol (ATN). Pilot assays (100 L/(m2 h), 10 mg Fe/L) run with PhC-spiked sand-filtered secondary effluent and 15 mg/L PAC dosed in-line or to a 15-min contactor. They showed no PAC-driven membrane fouling and +15 to +18% added removal with PAC contactor, reaching significant removals of CBZ and ATN (59%–60%), SMX (50%), colour (48%), A254 (35%) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC, 28%). Earlier long-term demo tests with the same pilot proved PAC/cMF to consistently produce highly clarified (monthly median < 0.1 NTU) and bacteria-free water, regardless of the severe variations in its intake. A detailed cost analysis points to total production costs of 0.21 €/m3 for 50,000 m3/day and 20 years membrane lifespan, mainly associated to equipment/membranes replacement, capital and reagents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Urban Water Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Strategies, Processes, and Results for the Future Water Supply of the Växjö Municipality: Evaluation of an Evidence-Based Case Study of Long-Term Strategies within the Water and Wastewater Sector in Sweden
Water 2019, 11(10), 2150; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102150 - 16 Oct 2019
Abstract
In 2009, the Bergaåsen Water Supply Scheme was put into operation to ensure the future drinking water supply of two municipalities in southern Sweden. Bergaåsen replaced two vulnerable water treatment plants. It was implemented in an environment that was characterized by sensitive recipients [...] Read more.
In 2009, the Bergaåsen Water Supply Scheme was put into operation to ensure the future drinking water supply of two municipalities in southern Sweden. Bergaåsen replaced two vulnerable water treatment plants. It was implemented in an environment that was characterized by sensitive recipients and limited access to water. This article aims to analyze how strategies were developed to meet sustainability requirements, if this solution has ensured good quantity and high quality after ten years of operation, and the extent of the project’s economic impact on consumers. The project was analyzed as an evidence-based case study using semi-structured interviews, surveys, and document analyses. The study found that the chosen options succeeded in guaranteeing outstanding quality and secure delivery. Over 90% of water users were satisfied and had trust in it, and less than 3% were dissatisfied. The design time for withdrawal capacity has been extended from 30 to 50 years through planned measures. The study clarifies also that, due to some externalities, there has been virtually no economic impact on users. Bergaåsen is a clear case for the value of developing long-term strategies and implementing them in real life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Urban Water Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban River Health Analysis of the Jialu River in Zhengzhou City Using the Improved Fuzzy Matter-Element Extension Model
Water 2019, 11(6), 1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061190 - 07 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Urban rivers are valuable elements of urban ecosystems and play a key role in urban socio-economic development. Unfortunately, the functional integrity of urban rivers is being threatened by extensive human activities associated with the social development. Urban river health evaluation is important, as [...] Read more.
Urban rivers are valuable elements of urban ecosystems and play a key role in urban socio-economic development. Unfortunately, the functional integrity of urban rivers is being threatened by extensive human activities associated with the social development. Urban river health evaluation is important, as it may provide policy makers with information that is fundamental for river governance and the protection of urban ecosystems. To this purpose, we first constructed an urban river health assessment index system based on the pressure–state–response (PSR) framework. Secondly, we developed an urban river health index (uRHI) using the improved fuzzy matter–element extension assessment model. Finally, we used the uRHI to assess the health state of the Jialu River from 2008 to 2017 in Zhengzhou City, China. The results indicate that the health state of the Jialu River was improved from an unhealthy state in 2008 to a sub-healthy state in 2017. The pressure, state, and response subsystems developed towards a healthier state from 2008 to 2017, thanks to the implementation of a number of actions by the local government. However, the overall health status of the Jialu River is still relatively low. The Jialu River also faces several pressures, such as substantial Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) emissions and sewage discharge. This paper concludes that it is necessary to further strengthen the health management of the Jialu River and the protection of Zhengzhou’s water environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Urban Water Services)
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