Crowder Consulting has provided consultancy and professional fieldwork services to the global water industry for more than 30 years. Managing Director George Crowder tells The Parliamentary Review that the firm’s work is split between three main arms: consultancy and fieldwork, data and information and software development. Their work implementing Netbase, the Crowder flagship system, has taken them beyond the UK to countries such as Bahrain, the Philippines, China and Brazil. George talks at greater length about Crowder’s expertise and its delivery of “smart” water networks.
Since the inception of Crowder Consulting in 1985, we have built a reputation for the highest standards and quality of our services and software solutions. Our principal business focus is the support of our clients, who are water companies and international client water operators, in the management of their water networks and their efforts to reduce leakage or non-revenue water.
We provide expertise through our consultancy services, our Netbase water network and leakage management software, our data services and our field services. We are engaged in the “Source to Tap” management of water networks through the services and software that we supply.
We are based in Birkenhead, but our people are in continuous contact with, and have a regular presence in, all of our client water companies in the UK and client water operators in different parts of the world. Not only are they conducting projects for our clients, they are providing support and training for our Netbase system and for the associated water industry principles and practices.
Netbase and its digital services platform
The Netbase water network and leakage management system represents a digital twin of the water operator’s network. It acts as a hub that is continuously updated with data. The data is integrated and analysed through a comprehensive range of best-practice applications covering the monitoring, leakage targeting, reporting, network management and modelling of water networks by the operator’s community of users.
The Netbase hub provides a water operator with a rich and unique view of their data, having been configured to represent their network of pipes, areas, assets and customers.
Our Netbase digital services platform extends the value and insights gained from this data, combined with data from other sources. It provides the advanced web-based technologies and solutions sought by water operators in managing their network and operational activities. Our Netbase hub and digital platform are continuously extended, enhanced and supported by a highly skilled team of developers, engineers and data scientists.
We have been successful in winning contracts and frameworks for supplying our integrated software, consultancy, data and field services. We have agreements with international partners for exporting our software and services under foreign laws. Through many tendering and contract processes and economic cycles, with their respective challenges, we have grown in our resilience and know-how as well as growing our turnover. Our contracts involve Netbase implementation projects, with interfaces to corporate systems data, and innovative consultancy projects covering data analysis, leakage and NRW analytics, network design, network operability and hydraulic modelling. These projects are delivered by our teams of project managers, engineers, analysts and data scientists, underpinned by a programme of continuous professional development linked to membership of professional institutions.
Our field services contracts and projects cover leakage detection and network verification for both trunk supply mains and distribution mains. We conduct network monitoring surveys for customer demand analysis and model-test monitoring for building hydraulic models. Our growing resource of field services technicians that covers safe processes, water network knowledge and the necessary skills and methods for utilising advanced equipment.
Our contracts involve Netbase implementation projects, with interfaces to corporate systems data, and innovative consultancy projects covering data analysis, leakage and NRW analytics, network design, network operability and hydraulic modelling, benefit from a programme of training that covers safe processes, water network knowledge and the necessary skills and methods for utilising advanced equipment.
The challenges of leakage
Ofwat’s requirements for 2020 business plans have challenged water companies to improve service, affordability and innovation performance. For example, very challenging leakage reduction targets have been set between 15 and 20 per cent. We are fully engaged in supporting our client water companies to meet these targets.
The Ofwat requirements for improved leakage reporting have been incorporated into our Netbase hub, providing improved daily and weekly leakage figures to inform their operational targeting and strategic reduction programmes. Our innovative leakage campaigns management solution, through our Netbase digital services platform, enables prioritisation, planning and continuous tracking of their detection and repair activities to support assessment of impacts on leakage. This web-based solution provides “end-to-end” visibility of appropriate information at all levels of the client’s organisation, for decisions to be made and actions taken.