New InfoWorks tool offers easy capacity checking for water systems


Courtesy of Innovyze

InfoWorks WS provides invaluable tools for checking that water supply systems can cater for any additional demands they might face. A new run-type in the latest versions, called Forced Fire Flow, is designed to check the system’s capacity for providing a specified flow at a particular point. Its application is not confined to fire flows - it can also be used to determine whether any additional pumping will be required to provide adequate supply to proposed developments.
The new functionality simplifies checks on capacity. It avoids the need to create a new network and insert a new node with the projected demand at the location of interest. The traditional approach also involves a succession of runs to determine whether the proposals would work and establish the maximum amount of flow that could be provided, given any user-defined constraints.
Now, all that needs to be done is to select the new type of run and pick a point anywhere on the network - including places that are not currently nodes. InfoWorks will quickly perform all the desired checks and produce additional results to indicate whether the proposed amount of water can be taken successfully at these particular locations and what is the maximum amount of water that can be taken.
One of the key applications is to test how much water can be pumped out of the system for fire fighting, and so this is located within InfoWorks’ Fire Flow tools.
Another important use of the new run-type is in addressing the impacts of developments, for instance the proposed creation of a new subdivision. It allows exploration of the effects of demands such as extracting an additional 10 gal/m (0.63l/s) at a particular point.
The traditional approach for a designer would be simply to open a hydrant and see what happens. But this does not give accurate results for more complex scenarios where several developers are each completing plots in phases. It also fails to address different scenarios that could happen in the network since the hydrant test is one-off test. InfoWorks can easily evaluate both the consequences of concurrent developments and different network conditions. It can also help in apportioning costs of any new infrastructure between the developers by determining the upgrades that are required for each aspect.
The new capacity checking functionality within InfoWorks is used to indicate whether particular flows can be taken out of the network without causing any problems. This gives an indication of what sizes of developments could be accommodated without the need for new infrastructure.
Capacity checking within InfoWorks allows for all the developments to be input into the system. Its use is straightforward. The modeler gives InfoWorks a list of flow values to check. These flows are then applied as a demand at the specified point in the network - not necessarily an existing node. The model has to be able to supply that demand, constrained to the user-defined criteria.
InfoWorks will perform checks for all the specified flows as well as additional cases. It will also calculate what happens if the value is zero to check the present situation in case there are undetected problems.
A failed result is recorded if it cannot provide the required flow while complying with any constraints that have been imposed in terms of velocities and pressures. For instance, a scenario would be flagged as failing if the flow causes low pressures or very high velocities within the system. Flexibility has been built in to cater for various criteria, such as a requirement that the pressure at connection points cannot be dropped below a certain value. 
It is important to consider what is happening with the rest of the system, to maintain pressures elsewhere. Other criteria include limitations on the velocity to avoid issues such as rattling pipes.
Success at a particular flow would indicate that the proposed development can simply be connected to the mains with no resulting problems in terms of pressures and velocities. If requests for higher flows then fail the check, the solution might be to install a pump station.

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