Bridging the Gap: Pipelife's Smart Monitoring Solutions Optimize Drinking Water Supply in Southern Serbia

30. October 2023 | 7 min read

Water utilities often face challenges related to blind spots in their networks, especially in remote locations. Limited connectivity and inadequate data complicate detecting leaks, identifying necessary infrastructure repairs, and meeting the increasing water demand. This summer, JKP Naissus, a key water supplier in the area of Niš, installed Pipelife's smart water monitoring solutions in two hard-to-access reservoirs. The investment has resulted in improved water supply management and reduced operational costs, setting an example for the utility sector in Southeast Europe.


Navigating Water Management Challenges

JKP Naissus is a major wastewater and drinking water utility in southern Serbia. Apart from serving the area of Niš — the country's third largest city — JKP Naissus also operates in nearby municipalities, providing drinking water for several remote villages in the area. The company boasts a forward-thinking approach to its infrastructure development and a strong commitment to providing top-quality services in potable water and wastewater management.

Due to the large territory served, JKP Naissus has been facing challenges in managing potable water infrastructure in some remote areas — often without access to electricity and connectivity to the utility's SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition system). The shortage of data on water levels and pump operation had complicated ensuring an uninterrupted water supply to some communities.

JKP Naissus is a major wastewater and drinking water utility in southern Serbia
Pumping Stations in Southern Serbia

Remote Reservoirs, Real Solutions

This summer, two Pipelife's smart level meters were installed in JKP Naissus' potable water reservoirs in Nais and Sečanica, both located 20-30 kilometers from the company's facilities.

Pipelife's smart level meter is a battery-powered wireless solution that uses radar technology to transmit key data — such as water levels, filled and free volume, network- and battery status — from potable water, wastewater and stormwater systems. Thanks to connectivity to Pipelife SmartHub, the system operator can remotely access visualized data as well as receive alerts and notifications regarding the system's status.

Dejan Kulak, Head of Electro-Mechanical Maintenance at JKP Naissus, admits that installing the meters has allowed for more efficient management of both reservoirs and improved water supply service to JKP Naissus' customers.

"To operate [smart level meters], it is not necessary to have a 220V connection or solar panels, which is a key advantage for us, as we have many water tanks in hard-to-access locations," Kulak explains.

Pipelife's installed smart level meters
Pipelife's smart level meters were installed in JKP Naissus' potable water reservoirs

Fine-Tuning Success: Pipelife's Data Tools in Action

JKP Naissus chose Pipelife's solution due to several key factors. From day one, Pipelife's team showed a strong commitment to addressing JKP Naissus' pain points. A fully tailored interface to the SmartHub platform was developed through ongoing discussions and site visits, considering the utility's unique conditions and needs.

The data collection frequency, alert thresholds, as well as data display and visualization, were adjusted to meet the preferences of JKP Naissus' system operators — offering access to historical data and trends and enabling better decision-making for water management.

High-frequency monitoring (every 15 minutes) was selected for the Sečanica reservoir. The reservoir's high water demand requested close monitoring of water level fluctuations to ensure continued supply. Due to the weak network connectivity in the area, long-range antennas were added to provide reliable and uninterrupted data transmission.

Seamless Installation, Effortless Connectivity

The smart level meters' ease of installation and maintenance also appealed to JKP Naissus. Setting up both meters took only about a half-hour, without any impact or interruption of the water supply service. Connecting the meters to the Pipelife SmartHub platform was equally straightforward, allowing immediate data access via a user-friendly application.

Thanks to Pipelife SmartHub, JKP Naissus can now monitor water levels in both reservoirs and, based on the data received, timely identify anomalies in the system, such as leaks or pump issues. The system operators are able to access the necessary data and controls from any location 24/7 via their laptop or mobile device.Furthermore, Pipelife's technical support is readily available, providing quick issue resolution and assistance on SmartHub for data analysis and monitoring.

Pipelife’s solution has revolutionized JKP Naissus  operations, allowing for the identification of water shortages or supply issues as soon as they arise. While the meters have been installed relatively recently, the optimized operations, reduced on-site visits and increased awareness of water losses have already resulted in cost savings for the utility.

Smart Monitoring Solutions
The data displayed allowing to perform a high-level analysis

A Leap Into Innovation

By relying on Pipelife's smart monitoring, JKP Naissus has gained a much deeper understanding of the status of its potable water reservoirs, which has encouraged the company to upgrade its infrastructure further.

The utility already plans to install more IoT devices in remote parts of its network as well as incorporate smart technologies in potable water treatment processes.

"The data displayed, as well as the diagrams we receive, are very clear, allowing us to perform a high-level analysis and identify malfunctions and issues — which we otherwise would not be able to address," Kulak sums up. "We now also use these meters to check the accuracy of our own devices."

Collaboration with JKP Naissus marks the first deployment of Pipelife’s smart water monitoring solutions in Southeast Europe, sparking a fresh wave of customer interest in the region. The customizable solution improves water supply management, reduces operational costs and promotes environmental sustainability — providing the necessary data and tools for water utilities to address their pain points, further enhance their services and ensure reliable water supply to the communities they serve.

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