Marching with the times, Singapore’s national water agency PUB will progressively utilise artificial intelligence, big data and smart work redesign in the coming five years. It laid out the Smart PUB roadmap to improve its operations and water management at the Singapore International Water Week 2018.
“The move is to digitalise Singapore's entire water system to improve operational excellence and meet future water needs. This is part of PUB's continual investment in digital solutions to achieve smarter water quality management, network improvements, integrated customer engagements, and smarter work processes,” said PUB in a press release.
“The integration of smart technologies in Singapore's water loop – from stormwater management to potable water production and distribution for used water collection and reclamation – opens up new opportunities for us to enhance our system oversight and situational awareness,” said Michael Toh, Chief Information Officer of PUB.
“Data driven insights will also help PUB attain higher levels of operational efficiency, improve our incident response times, and ultimately serve our customers better,” he added.
PUB is exploring two pieces of innovation for remote water quality management as part of its roadmap including remote micro-invertebrate detector and the autonomous boat.
The Water Quality Department of PUB has developed an in-house remote micro-invertebrate detector to determine the presence of micro-invertebrates in the water samples. This portable low-cost device is easily deployed onsite to provide real-time detection and identification of images using Artificial Intelligence, with split-second imaging to determine the presence of micro-invertebrates.
The unit is linked to a mobile app and chat-bot, which allows the system to perform 24/7 real-time testing of water samples onsite, respond to commands, send live image reports, and trigger alerts when anomalies are detected. PUB targets to use this on a larger scale by end 2020.
In addition to this, PUB is also developing an autonomous boat that can navigate itself through choppy waters to collect samples. First piloted at Pandan reservoir in November 2017, the boat's effectiveness in monitoring water quality is currently being evaluated.
The autonomous boat can perform real-time water quality monitoring via onboard sensors, collect water samples, and take photos and videos of actual water conditions. Programmed to avoid obstacles in the water, the boat is also able to self-navigate to the designated sampling points.