Tauw and HAL24K win Data Challenge 2017 from Dutch government agency Rijkswaterstaat

Tauw and data science startup HAL24K have won the Data Challenge 2017. The challenge was based around 'Smart water management' and was issued by Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.

Maximum yield from water

The competition is an initiative set up by a number of partners in the 'Smart water management' programme, which includes Rijkswaterstaat and several regional public water authorities. Participants in the challenge were asked to develop a method to extract as much social, ecological or economic efficiency from a cubic meter of water. The data was derived from the catchment and drainage area of the North Sea Canal and Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. Due to the complexity of the involved water systems, Tauw’s water experts and the data science specialists of HAL24K decided to collaborate.

A combination of AI and machine learning

The winning solution combined artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Employing advanced methods of data intelligence, Tauw and HAL24K modeled the operational (flexible) water level management on a large-scale and with a high degree of accuracy. By using historical data in conjunction with ML and AI, the team predicted water levels what adjustments would be required for optimal energy consumption and various climate conditions. The solution also highlighted how to ensure optimal water distribution between the different management areas.

Jeroen Mol, CEO of HAL24K said: “We have developed algorithms that can learn from past data to provide real-time predictions. It is good to see that even in water management in the Netherlands, which is already administered very well, our advanced data science can make a positive contribution. Ultra-complex systems such as these suit our HAL24K Platform perfectly.”

Tauw and HAL24K investigated the water damage in the management area of Hoogheemraadschap de Stichtse Rijnlanden. They used precipitation data, pump data, target levels and surface water levels over the past five years to build the AI and ML models. The jury was impressed with the comprehensive solution and the visualization of the model and how it identified underlying issues. The Tauw and HAL24K team was able to deliver a concrete result in a short period of time, which is applicable to multiple management areas and lends itself perfectly for further development.

Annemieke Nijhof, CEO of Tauw said: “The results show the enormous potential of machine learning and artificial intelligence. They provide an excellent basis for many applications within water management. This enables us to better support decision making by administrators and policy makers.”

About the data challenge

The Data Challenge 2017 took place within the framework of the 'Smart water management' programme. The organization included Rijkswaterstaat, Water Authority Amstel, Gooi & Vecht, Hoogheemraadschap de Stichtse Rijnlanden, Hoogheemraadschap van Rijnland, Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier, in cooperation with Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), STOWA, Dutch Water Authorities and Nelen & Schuurmans. Rijkswaterstaat acted as secretary.

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