European centre of excellence
for sustainable water technology

Smart water grids

The Dutch water supply network is continuously providing very high quality drinking water, and all of this needs to be transported in the water mains. These mains vary in age between being laid today and a century ago, with many different materials and laying methods used. The replacement value of the whole network is estimated to be more than €10 billion, so it is key to carefully replace end-of life parts. As indicated, there is much variety in the quality and operational state of the network: one specific section of the network could be leaking while another section, a metre further up, could be in perfect condition. There is much uncertainty about the quality of these mains, because it is hard to gauge.

Accurate information is vital to be able to predict end-of life parts and to replace then in time, to prevent downtime, keeping the quality of the water high, efficiently deploying materials and effort and assure good operation of the network. New technologies are needed, such as better inspection methods and measurement systems, combining data streams and a bright future look to anticipate for changes, because of the long term investments associated with water mains. The ambition for this theme is to develop methods for the in-line and on-line inspection of water mains, and the ability to make well-founded decisions about the possible replacement of pipelines.

The research in the Wetsus Smart Water Grids theme has delivered good understanding of PVC push fit joint placement in relation to lifetime, the development of a method to characterize PVC material and concrete. Now, new ultrasonic inspection techniques are developed, allowing the condition of pipelines and appendages of concrete and plastics to be determined. The theme initiated the idea of an autonomous inspection robot, with the development of a prototype, this leaded to a commercial initiative. Data processing research delivers now unprecedented insights from existing data streams and future projects are aimed on better understanding of sensor placement, remotely sensing and predicting the state of the mains.

Smart water grids

The close cooperation with the theme members ensures both scientifically relevant and applicable results, leading to notable innovations in the drinking water chain.

For a more detailed view on the projects please open the infosheet.

Company members

  • Acquaint
  • Brabant Water
  • Evides
  • PWN : PWN wants to be where the innovation is. Our underground-network deserves it.
  • Vitens : Vitens is involved in this research because of the theme’s highly innovative projects on condition assessment and smart water networks.
  • Wavin : Wavin is teaming up in this theme, since it connects very well with the company strategy on digitalization and customer centric innovation. Within the smart water grid theme we have the right stakeholders onboard to jointly innovative smart solutions and make a difference for generations to come.
Doekle Yntema

Theme manager
Eelco Trietsch

Theme coordinator
Doekle Yntema


Index of joint condition for PVC push-fit joints, Arsénio A Vreeburg J Rietveld L, Water Science and Technology: Water Supply-5-14 (2014) 

Real-life inline inspection of buried PVC push-fit joints. Ars´enio, A. M., Vreeburg, J. H. G., de Bont, R., and van Dijk, H. (2012b). Water Asset Management International, 8(2):30–32

Failure mechanisms and condition assessment of PVC push-fit joints in drinking water networks.Ars´enio, A. M., Pieterse-Quirijns, I., Vreeburg, J. H. G., de Bont, R., and Rietveld, L. (2013c). Journal of Water Supply: Research and Technology-AQUA, 62(2):78

Quantitative nondestructive evaluation of push-fit joints. Ars´enio, A. M., Vreeburg, J., and Rietveld, L. (2013d).  Urban Water Journal, pages 1–11 

Characterization of PVC joints’ behaviour during variable loading laboratory tests (submitted).  Ars´enio, A. M., Bouma, F., Vreeburg, J. H. G., and Rietveld, L. (2013a).Urban Water Journal

Index of joint condition for PVC push-fit joints (submitted).Ars´enio, A. M., Vreeburg, J. H. G., and Rietveld, L. (2013e).  Water Science & Technology: Water Supply

Pipe failure prediction in drinking water systems using satellite observations (submitted).  Ars´enio, A. M., Dheenathayalan, P., Hanssen, R., Vreeburg, J. H. G., and Rietveld, L. (2013b). Structure and Infrastructure Engineering 

Thesis: Lifetime prediction of PVC joints ,Andre Arsenio

Ultrasonic measurements of undamaged concrete layer thickness in a deteriorated concrete structure Demcenko, A., Visser, R. & Akkerman, R. 2016 In : NDT & E international. 77, p. 63-72

A study of the noncollinear ultrasonic-wave-mixing technique under imperfect resonance conditions
Demcenko, A., Mainini, L. & Korneev, V. A. 2015 In : Ultrasonics. 57, p. 179-189

THESIS: Development and analysis of noncollinear wave mixing techniques for material properties evaluation using immersion ultrasonics Demcenko, A. 23 Oct 2014 Enschede: University of Twente. 86 p.

Noncollinear wave mixing for measurement of dynamic processes in polymers: Physical ageing in thermoplastics and epoxy cure Demcenko, A., Koysin, V. & Korneev, V. A. 2014 In : Ultrasonics. 54, 2, p. 684-693

Possible second-order nonlinear interactions of plane waves in an elastic solid Korneev, V. A. & Demcenko, A. 2014 In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 135, 2, p. 591-598

Investigation of PVC physical ageing in field test specimens using ultrasonic and dielectric measurements Demcenko, A., Ravanan, M., Visser, R., Loendersloot, R. & Akkerman, R. 7 Oct 2013 2012 IEEE international ultrasonics symposium (IUS). Dresden: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, p. 1909-1912

Non-collinear wave mixing for a bulk wave phase velocity measurement in an isotropic solid
Demcenko, A. 7 Oct 2013 2012 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS). Dresden: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, p. 1437-1440

Non-collinear wave mixing for non-linear ultrasonic detection of physical ageing in PVC
Demcenko, A., Akkerman, R., Nagy, P. B. & Loendersloot, R. 2012 In : NDT & E international. 49, p. 34-39

1 patent
1 upcoming publication on data processing

Other Publications

combining scientific excellence with commercial relevance