26 Aug 2020

Safeswim bags international Smart Water Project of the Year award

DHI’s marine team in New Zealand is providing forecast predictions of water quality for many of the beaches in Safeswim

Earlier this month, Global Water Intelligence (GWI) awarded Auckland Council’s Safeswim programme a coveted Global Water Award - the Smart Water Project of the Year. This award was presented to the project that most effectively harnessed digital solutions to achieve excellence in water or wastewater management in 2019. Fellow contenders of the award include Antelope, Aquatoria and Veolia for their oil field management, smart wastewater programme and agricultural projects respectively.

Contamination of recreational water due to sewage overflow – especially after heavy rain – may pose serious health risks to swimmers and surfers. Safeswim is a smart water solution providing live information on water quality and swimming conditions at 109 beaches across Auckland in New Zealand. DHI’s marine team in New Zealand provides both real-time and three-day forecast predictions of water quality for many of the beaches in Safeswim. With ready access to water quality information online via https://www.safeswim.org.nz/, Auckland’s 1.4 million residents and more than 3 million annual visitors can now make informed decisions about where and when to swim.

Digital signage showing water quality and swimming conditions at a beach in Auckland. © DHI

Getting access to live water quality information via the Safeswim website. © DHI

Ben Tuckey, DHI’s Principal Marine Scientist leading the team of developers in New Zealand, shares:

‘We have developed contaminant load models for the wastewater network and a three-dimensional receiving environment model (MIKE 3 FM) of the Waitematā Harbour. MIKE OPERATIONS is the platform which operates the DHI bathing water quality forecast. A 72-hour forecast is undertaken every six hours using the latest three-day forecasts of rain and wind, while real-time forecasts are undertaken every hour. The system is being continually expanded to include new Safeswim beaches.

Similar approaches have previously been successfully applied for other countries by DHI, for example in Sweden and Denmark, which illustrates that a bathing water forecast can be replicated for any country or city which desires such a system.’

This isn’t Safeswim’s first experience in the limelight, having also won top honours at the Smart City Asia Pacific Awards in 2018. Since then, DHI’s modelling team has helped Auckland Council make improvements to the programme, such as adding a nowcasting feature to provide short-term hourly forecast, increasing the number of beaches in the system, and running everything in the cloud on Microsoft Azure as opposed to local machines.

Congratulations Auckland Council for winning this top award!