- Mobility & Infrastructures
This year, a prolonged lack of rainfall has led some managers of water supply systems to activate drought emergency plans.
The emergency drought plans are instruments for the management of urban supply systems in temporary situations of drought and scarcity in which their water resources for the supply of drinking water may be compromised; therefore, the main objective of the emergency drought plans is to foresee the necessary actions to minimize the effects of temporary situations of scarcity that could lead to situations of risk of shortage.
To this end, they analyze aspects such as supply infrastructures, the evaluation of available water resources, the evaluation of supply demands, the operating rules of supply systems, drought and shortage scenarios, as well as the measures to be adopted to mitigate the effects.
The measures that may be proposed by such emergency plans may be preventive, or include the management and operation of the system, as well as institutional, regulatory, social or environmental measures, or the expansion or improvement of infrastructure and availability, monitoring of the situation and risks or preparatory measures.
In this line, Sener has experience in technically assisting organizations and those responsible for the supply systems to face this type of situation. Thus, for example, it is worth highlighting the Visseq, the viewer developed by Sener for the Catalan Water Agency, which allows the visualization of drought status indicators and, where appropriate, restrictions. It is also worth mentioning the drought emergency plans developed for several Water Consortiums or the inspection and control work in the management of the last drought episode in Catalonia, like the one we are currently experiencing.
In short, to face a drought emergency, it is positive to have experience and knowledge in all phases of the integral water cycle: from the collection of water resources, through storage, transport, distribution, treatment and collection, to its reuse or purification. In Sener’s case, to date, we have provided our solutions in more than 300 water and environmental projects around the world.
One of the areas in which the water sector has great potential for improvement in the management of water resources has to do with digitization and the concept of smart water. Sensors and smart water asset management can also be a great ally, helping the preventive maintenance of the supply network (increasingly, with a longer useful life) through, for example, the application of digital twins.
Óscar de Cos
Senior Consultant in Water and Environment
Civil Engineering degree from the University of Cantabria, programs in Disaster Risk Management (WB and Delft), Natural Disaster (McGill University) and Global Warming Science (MIT). He has 33 years of experience as a designer, project manager, business promoter and consultant, primarily in the fields of hydraulics, hydrology, flood prevention, real-time decision-making support systems, water planning of basins, water supply and sanitation works, flood protection and dam safety.