TITLE: Porto - a water sensitive city, sprinkling innovation
Pedro Vieira e Moreira, Director of the IT & Innovation at Águas do Porto
ABSTRACT: Porto is the second largest city in Portugal with about 250,000 inhabitants, welcoming over 1.5 million tourists in 2017. With more than 155,000 customers, Águas do Porto is the city’s water utility and manages 2,000 km of infrastructures of the whole water cycle. This means that, in addition to managing the traditional water supply, foul and storm water sewers, Águas do Porto also manages the city’s streams and seafront, including bathing areas.
Porto sees water as a strategic sector that raises important issues that divide society, nature and economy. Thus Águas do Porto believes that water utilities have an important role, and cities need to tackle major challenges related to water management such as the need to achieve a good ecological status of water bodies, the need to support healthy ecosystems, lifestyles and livelihoods through a sustainable management, the need to raise efficiency and sustainability levels in the network, implement measures to reduce climate change impacts, ensure the best cooperation of cities’ stakeholders, face governance challenges or raise citizen’s awareness in order to incorporate society’s needs when designing strategic decisions related to cities and water.
Meanwhile, water also brings opportunities as these challenges can be turned into urban development, through the growth of new technologies, business or governance models, contributing to make a water-smart city and society. Planning and designing a city can consider water resources and allow the rediscovering of landscapes and the environmental value of water fronts, in permanent dialogue with the population, and can be part of a city’s environmental long-term strategy, contributing to deepening citizen’s quality of life with the local economy and the vital sectors, making cities more attractive to live and work in, to raise children, to visit and discover as tourists do, or to create and develop businesses.
Águas do Porto has embraced the management of the full water cycle in the city and is striving for improvement every day, using technology as a tool and implementing innovation in network management and . Aiming at building knowledge of its infrastructure and networks, and with the ultimate goal of providing a tool to assist the decision making process in operations and improve both the efficacy and efficiency of the service, and providing a more effective response to customers, events and needs, Águas do Porto designed a technological platform called H2PORTO, which is currently being implemented and tested. This solution will integrate all data gathered inhouse from meters, sensors, operations and SCADA systems of all different domains of the urban water cycle infrastructures, and it will also get info from external sources, such as weather stations, traffic control systems or modelling systems. Integrating all this data in an agnostic technological platform management system, the company built a transversal and powerful tool that allows, on one hand, the provision of a better and more reliable service, and on the other hand, it will help achieving more structured and effective communication and collaboration, both internally and externally, organizing data, generating information and building knowledge. The H2PORTO platform relies on the identification of issues related to common standards and processes for data provision, communication amongst technological platforms, business intelligence tools, and decision making thought the analysis of data, modelling tools and predictive analysis, striving to better inform technical staff, stakeholders and Porto’s citizens.
SHORT BIO: Pedro Vieira e Moreira is an engineer with over 17 years of professional experience, having spent the last 9 years with Águas do Porto. Whilst he started with the typical civil engineer in several great scale construction works and project management, with time his analytical yet creative mind, along with his passion for technology, led to a career change in 2015 when he became the Director of the IT & Innovation at Águas do Porto. He is currently leading a number of innovative projects within the company, addressing the client, the company, and operations, namely the creation of a technological platform that will allow the management, decision making and real-time supervision of all operations of the company’s infrastructures, a unique development given that, unlike most utilities, Águas do Porto manages the whole water cycle. A disruption and change enthusiast, Pedro likes to embrace projects that have impact in peoples’ lives to thrive humanity to next generations to come.