Webinar Artificial Intelligence in Water Technology

Have you ever considered that the ever-larger amounts of data can be transformed into new insights about our surrounding world? On our upcoming webinar on the 11th of February, 15.30 – 17.15, we will address Artificial Intelligence in Water Technology.
The management of the water infrastructures carrying high quality water in large quantities has already large benefits from novel and automated ways to collect, process, and transform data into information. Predicting upcoming malfunctions is one of them.
During this webinar we will learn about some more examples and go deeper in this fascinating world. Our invited speakers are Peter Baltus from the Technical University of Eindhoven, Mark Roest from VORtech and Caspar Geelen MSc, PhD researcher at Wetsus, more information below.
You can register for this interesting webinar at
You will receive a link to the livestream of the webinar in the week before the event.

Speakers and topics Artificial Intelligence: Peter Baltus, TUE, Eindhoven
Inspecting pipelines using swarms of evolving sensor spheres
Inspection of water distribution pipelines shares many properties with other applications that require exploration of inaccessible environments, such as sewer systems, industrial mixers, nuclear reactor vessels, space or the inside of the human (or animal) body:
for all these applications, the size of the sensors is limited and, as a consequence, only a limited amount of energy will be available. Also, communication will be difficult and GPS and similar systems for determining the location of a sensor measurement is usually unavailable. In the Phoenix project, this class of problems was addressed through technology consisting of a swarm of evolving sensor spheres that optimize their performance for a specific application over a number of generations. This technology is currently being developed further by Antea and TU/e. In this presentation, after a short introduction to the technology, an overview of pipe inspection applications and remaining challenges will be discussed. Mark R.T. Roest, VORtech, Delft
A small selection of techniques for smart network management
As a company, we specialize in software development for models and simulation in an operational settings. These days, the systems that we typically work on would be called digital twins. They typically consist of collected data, analysis algorithms and models to run what-if scenarios. These models can be traditional numerical models, models that are created from data using machine learning or a combination of numerical models and real-time data. In many cases, the data is limited or noisy and combining observational data with numerical models brings significant benefits. We will discuss several examples of such a combination. In addition, we will discuss work that we have done on detecting faulty sensors for traffic monitoring, which would also be applicable for water distribution systems. Caspar Geelen, MSc,  WUR, Wageningen & Wetsus, Leeuwarden
Leakage detection and optimal sensor placement in Drinking Water Networks
In order to detect leakages in the drinking water network as fast as possible, a water company relies on flow and pressure sensors in
the distribution net. However, sensors are costly and not every company can afford to saturate their network with sensors. Even for a limited number of sensors, robust leakage detection is possible by using real-time machine learning algorithms.

Since water demand changes with weather, holidays, pandemics and various other factors, often data sets from these factors are needed to correctly predict water demand and thus correctly detect leakages. However, the detection of leakages is also possible by only looking at the relations between different sensors in the network. This alternative leakage detection strategy, called exogenous nowcasting, will be illustrated.

In addition, the accuracy of leakage detection increases with the placement of additional sensors, but where should these sensors be placed? Traditionally, sensors are placed based on hydraulic model simulations or observability analysis of a specific sensor configurations. These techniques have some severe limitations. An alternative method of optimal sensor placement solely relying on network asset properties and locations, as well as estimates for flows and demands will be outlined. Thus, optimal sensor placement can be used to improve the accuracy of leakage detection, which in turn helps to find new optimal sensor locations.

Towards an economy of value preservation | By Niels Faber


The realisation of a circular economy has thus far unfolded under the assumption that it would fit within existing economic arrangements. In practice, we witness many circular initiatives struggling to give shape to their ambitions, let alone develop to maturity. These past months, various material recycling organisations terminated their activities, seeing virgin alternatives from other parts of the world flooding the market at prices against they cannot compete. If the transition towards a circular economy (i.e. an economy of value preservation) is to be taken seriously, a new perspective on value in our economic system seems unavoidable, as the rewriting of the rules of the economic game. At this moment, current perceptions of value stand in the way of this transition both at micro as well as macro levels. Several contours for a collective exploration of new directions of value and economic configuration that foster circular transition will be addressed.

Searching Innovation for the Common Good | By Cees Buisman


In his key note he will conclude after a life of innovations that it is impossible that humanity will stay within the save planetary boundaries with innovation only. We should be more critical about the behaviour of the rich population in the world and more critical about new innovations that prove to be dangerous, like the PFAS crisis shows at this moment. In his keynote he will investigate how to look at the world that can stay within the save planetary boundaries, how should we change ourselves? It is clear if we only talk about the words of science and systems we miss the essential words of how we should cooperate and change ourselves. And his search for coherent save innovations. Which innovations will be save and will lead to a fair and sustainable world? And will lead to a world we want to live in.

Future-fit economic models: What do they have in common – how can they join forces? | By Christian Felber


There is a growing number of new sustainable, inclusive, cohesive, participatory, just and humane economic models. A possible next step in the discourse about them is the comparative analysis in order to find out key commonalities, potential synergies, and “requirements” for a future-fit economic model. The author and initiator of the Economy for the Common Good provides an overview of these „new sustainable economic models“ and compares them according to underlying values, principles, and practical ways of implementation. The keynote addresses the cooperative spirit of the conference and prepares the ground for its public highlight on the eve of June 3rd, the round table with representatives of diverse future-fit economic models.

The era of postgrowth economics | By Matthias Olthaar


The scientific debate on whether economies should always continue to grow increasingly becomes a political and societal debate. On the one hand further growth for the most affluent countries seems neither possible nor valuable, but on the other hand there is still lack of understanding and knowledge what a non-growing economy should look like and could best be governed. In this lecture we discuss various policy measures that can be realistically implemented, take into account government finances and aim at a higher quality of life despite a non-growing economy.

Democratic principles for a sustainable economy | By Lisa Herzog


Democracy is under pressure, and less and less able to stir the economy into a sustainable direction. Therefore, to stabilize democracy and to make possible the socio-ecological transformation of the economy, democratic principles need to be implemented directly in the economy. This is not only a matter of morality, but also has practical advantages. Democratizing the economy can increase legitimacy and take advantage of the “knowledge of the many” to accelerate the transformation. Democratic practices, especially deliberation, allow bringing together different forms of knowledge, which is crucial for the local implementation of principles of social and ecological sustainability. This talk explores what this idea means in more concrete terms, from democratic participation in the workplace to the democratization of time.

Market, state, association, and well-being. An historical approach | By Bas van Bavel


Over the past decades, markets have conventionally been seen as the best instrument to stimulate economic growth and enhance prosperity and well-being. The automatic link between markets and economic growth is increasingly questioned, however, as well as the automatic link between economic growth and enhancement of well-being. This has led to attempts to capture well-being development more directly than through GDP per capita figures and has produced a more variegated picture of well-being growth. Also, this has led to a shift of focus to other coordination systems than the market, as primarily the state but increasingly also the association. Analyses of the historical record suggest that especially the latter could be a vital component in future well-being.