Articles & Case Studies

YEEC and SIDRI Use BIM Methodologies to Build a Smart Water Management Platform

Posted: Tuesday 4th May 2021

Conserving Water along China’s Longest River

Yangtze Ecology and Environment Co., Ltd. (YEEC), a subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corporation, was formed to address pollution issues along the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia and a major driver of China’s economy and culture. The company, along with Shanghai Investigation, Design & Research Institute Co., Ltd. (SIDRI), an engineering procurement construction contractor, was tasked with building a smart water management platform along the Yangtze, with an emphasis on protecting the environment.

Jiujiang, a growing city of 4.7 million people in the northwest Jiangxi province of China, became the pilot city for the Yangtze development. The city faced numerous issues, including water that frequently overflowed into the downtown area from the river and backups in the sewage network.

To address the issues, the China Wisdom Engineering Association initiated a CNY 7.7 billion program to develop a comprehensive smart water management system that included a new sewage plant, pump gates, pipe networks, and other projects that would recover water for consumption and support the regulation and ecological restoration of the Yangtze River. The wide scope and complex nature of the project, which covered an area of 220 square kilometers, required a project team of more than 100 disciplines.

Moving from 2D Design to 3D Design

To design the smart water management platform, YEEC and SIDRI integrated BIM solutions with Bentley’s engineering management software into the project, from design to construction. The team’s design also called for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and systems that could continually monitor factories, water network, rivers, lakes, and banks to analyze the local environment, helping managers make decisions and prevent disasters. The applications were used to monitor pollution and water capacity, and help detect and resolve clashes among the different design specialties.

Using ContextCapture, YEEC and SIDRI replaced their GIS 2D map of the large project area and new sewage plant with a 3D digital model. Unmanned aerial vehicles allowed the organizations to fully map the surroundings and produce a reality mesh, and create a model that was accurate to within 3 centimeters. The model also included water machinery, water supply, and drainage. Lastly, the project team created an open, connected data environment based on ProjectWise so that the multidiscipline specialists could collaborate and resolve conflicts in their individual designs.

Bringing Smart Water Management into BIM

To enhance their going digital efforts, the organizations published their BIM design using iModels and uploaded it to iModelHub, which allows team members to share data over the web and work from off-site locations. Furthermore, YEEC and SIDRI incorporated IoT capabilities and smart water management into the reality model to unify management, integration, and to display multidimensional and multi-aspect information.

Within the digital model, YEEC and SIDRI created a hydraulic model through OpenRoads that predicts water volume and rainwater inflow to visualize areas that are at risk of flooding, and preventing it. The detailed model also gathers water data along the Yangtze River Basin; monitors the water cycle of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection; and keeps the public informed of how important it is to have a clean water source.

In detail, the smart water platform was created using BIM advancements and was implemented in an iModel to analyze the risks of water accumulation, overflow, water load, and obstructions in the drainage pipe, combined with the predicted water volume and rainwater inflow. IoT capabilities are applied to the model for the real-time collection and display of information, early warnings, operation analysis, and reports on sewage users, networks, storage tanks, pumping stations, and sewage plants. The methodology provides comprehensive support for operation management, simulation analysis, and joint dispatching urban waterworks facilities.

Boosting Accuracy, Efficiency, and Cost Savings

YEEC and SIDRI used ContextCapture to create a digital construction of the geography and facilities in the area to implement smart water management, resulting in significantly improved water flows in downtown Jiujiang.

Reviews within the digital environment using Navigator improved the quality of the model and reduced the risk of the team transferring errors to each new iteration. Additionally, the 3D model helped pinpoint errors, omissions, and clashes that were in the initial 2D designs. The connected data environment based on ProjectWise reduced design errors by 80%, lowered design and verification by 800 resource hours, and saved CNY 4 million.

The organizations fully incorporated their smart water management program within BIM and GIS technology. The system includes underground network management, rainfall intensity prediction, sewage system monitoring, and data mining and analysis, which allows workers to adjust water pumps and maintain water levels in varying conditions. With BIM-enabled data flow, the organizations effectively managed all construction stages, enhanced construction quality, reduced costs by 20%, and shortened the construction period by four months.

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August 2021

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