27 Jun 2018

The team from Royal HaskoningDHV and Ynformed has won the first Big Data Challenge Climate Adaptive Water Management. The team used the latest in modelling and data science to better predict the impact of extreme weather.

Their digital twin proposal beat 19 other entries in the competition organized by Water Authority Rivierenland, STOWA and the Union of Water Authorities. Royal HaskoningDHV and Ynformed will further develop their winning tool.

Esther Bosman, Director Business Unit Water Netherlands at Royal HaskoningDHV: “This victory reflects our ambitions in the field of digital transformation and innovation. It underlines our understanding of and commitment to using partnerships that bring together professionals from different worlds of expertise.

“As part of our digital growth ambitions we believe that by linking different professional fields and then combining the latest techniques in our relevant field of expertise to better meet our client’s needs. This led to a winning combination of knowledge in machine learning and artificial intelligence from Ynformed, a data science company with in-depth hydrological domain knowledge from Royal HaskoningDHV, with HydroTwin as the successful outcome.”

Real life challenge

Given access to historic data from a huge thunderstorm in the Netherlands in August 2015, the teams were challenged to identify how smarter use of this data could have limited or prevented the flooding and damage suffered.

The participants were able to use all data available in 2015 for Land van Heusden and Altena, including the water system, geographical layout of the area, precipitation and temperature measurements, groundwater levels, surface water levels, flow rates, damming control positions, ground and physico-chemical data.

Smart use of data

The Royal HaskoningDHV and Ynformed team pitched HydroTwin, a digital, self-learning replica of the physical reality which could be used to accurately predict the behaviour of the water system.This first version of HydroTwin would provide water managers with accurate insights at an early stage, improving forecasting and allowing greater time for mitigating action to be taken.

Lisette van Beusekom, Field Expert at data science company Ynformed: “Internal and external data sources, such as water levels, satellite data and meteo data tell us a lot about the functioning of the water system – but we are not yet using this information optimally.

“Together with water industry experts, we have applied specific statistical techniques to provide operators with accurate predictions. Based on this, immediate action can be taken, such as carrying out preventive maintenance.”

Just the beginning

Royal HaskoningDHV and Ynformed will develop their winning concept in partnership with the water authorities.

Esther continues: “What we have done so far is only the beginning. The algorithms used are self-learning so they will further improve their predictions after each storm. As a result, we will gain more and more insight into the functioning of the water system and therefore make it increasingly climate-proof.”

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