• Sabesp Hero


    Modeling in a Crisis

    : São Paulo, Brazil

Project Summary

Sabesp supplies water to 367 municipalities in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, including the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo. When a 16-month dry spell reduced Cantareira basin inflow to a historically low level of 15 cubic meters per second (m3/s), the state-owned company acted quickly to avoid restricting access to water for nearly 9 million residents supplied by this reservoir. Sabesp resolved to transfer water into the Cantareira system by optimizing the entire regional water supply system.

Sabesp undertook a BRL 150 million project utilizing hydraulic modeling with WaterGEMS. The engineering department assembled, calibrated, and validated a hydraulic model of the entire water network with precision and reliability. They created 80 what-if scenarios for transporting drinking water to the Cantareira system and selected a scheme that could be implemented quickly with the least disruption. Modeling also accelerated a water loss-reduction program by identifying and fixing leaks more rapidly, increasing the partitioning of the network into district metered areas, and reducing pressure.

Sabesp used the model to calculate the least costly option for transferring the most water with the fewest network interventions and customer disruptions. Rehabilitating pipelines, reversing boosters, and other initiatives allowed the scant water supply to be more effectively distributed. Moving water from the Guarapiranga dam to Cantareira’s expanded treatment plants, for example, slowed the drawdown of critically low springs and reduced the Metropolitan Region’s reliance on the Cantareira system.

Using WaterGEMS, the modeling process took half as long as previous methodologies and delivered effective solutions that could be rolled out quickly. The integration to Sabesp’s GIS, SCADA, and PIMS reduced data collection time by 70 percent and model calibration time by 80 percent. These time savings helped to increase Sabesp’s crisis response time. Modeling with WaterGEMS also revealed ways to introduce more flexibility into the water supply system, so Sabesp can transfer water between reservoirs.
  • Transferring water to the Cantareira system reduced reservoir drawdown from 33 m3/s in 2013 to 13.5 m3/s in 2015.
  • It took Sabesp 50 percent less time to find a viable solution to the water crisis using WaterGEMS.
  • Integration between WaterGEMS, GIS, SCADA, and PIMS reduced data collection time by 70 percent and model calibration time by 80 percent.
  • Interventions in five producer systems included reactivating pipelines, expanding/reversing boosters, altering control structures, and expanding treatment plants.
  • “We have been using the WaterCAD/WaterGEMS model for several years. The software and the Bentley team have effectively helped us in solving problems in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, which is one of the most complex in the world.”

    Viviana Marli Borges Engineer Sabesp