PowerVIBe is a tool to identify the best strategies and technologies for climate protection in respect of cost reduction, efficiency and energy supply. For these purpose, PowerVIBe generates a mass of complex virtual case studies including settlements and infrastructure in addition to real world case studies to benchmark new technologies and strategies.
The analyses of case studies are a well-known instrument to identify problems and interactions of processes. In the field of urban water management the methodology is suited to evaluate new technologies, strategies or measures. However, data availability is limited and hence, new technologies, strategies or measures can only be tested on a limited number of case studies. The expenditure of time to build a detailed model of the water infrastructure of a midsize city can be quantified with several man-months. Moreover the results determined by the case studies are limited to specific boundary conditions and system properties and can hardly be generalized or transferred onto other boundary conditions.
In line with the project “DynaVIBe” the Unit of Environmental Engineering (IUT) at the University of Innsbruck developed a tool for an algorithmic generation of virtual case studies for water supply and urban drainage systems including whole urban structures. Beside the generation and simulation of infrastructure systems on a spatial scale, also the temporal dimension within all simulations was established. Thus, it is possible to map the dynamics of urban water infrastructures into computing models and simulations. The implementation of the developed methods and algorithms is realized within the open source software “DynaMind”. The strength of the algorithms is the flexibility to use input data at different level of details. Virtual case studies can be generated by using only few input parameters up to using detailed data sets (generating semi-virtual case studies). The usage of input data sets with different levels of detail can explicitly control the validity of model simulation results so that various research questions in the field of urban water management can be investigated. Due to the high flexibility of the generation algorithms also surrogate data can be used as input. This approach was applied on street network data sets which are of good quality and free accessible (e.g. OpenStreetMap). Further, the history of an urban infrastructure network can be recreated by extracting street network data out of historical orthophotos. It was proved that the DynaVIBe approach is also capable to be applied on real case studies for finding optimal mechanisms for developing and controlling urban water infrastructure systems.
The urban water software tool, named DAnCE 4 Water (Dynamic Adaptation for eNabling City Evolution for Water),comprises three modules:
- a city and water systems generatormodule
- a transitions module
- a performance assessment module
The city & water systems module generates possible layouts of urban areas together with water systems that meet given criteria. The transition module simulates uptake of novel technologies (such as water recycling and stormwater harvesting) depending on social-economical drivers. The performance module calculates the key performance indicators (for e.g. water security, pollution, stream health, amenity, microclimate, etc) of output scenarios.
At present, DanCE4Water will run two major simulations: Melbourne 2030 and Melbourne as an adaptive water sensitive city. Both case studies will be compared with each other and with the current city to identify important aspects that should be implemented if the ideal vision is to be met. During these simulations, further opportunity to improve upon the tool’s design will be available.
UrbanBEATS (Urban Biophysical Environments And Technologies Simulator) is an open source exploratory tool that can be used to test numerous planning scenarios of urban water infrastructure. This model integrates planning of the urban form with decentralised water management and water sensitive urban design, two philosophies that have gained momentum in recent decades. Although it is inherently technical, the purpose of such a model is to encourage participatory and interdisciplinary planning. The Figure below illustrates the basic model structure of UrbanBEATS.
With the challenges posed by climate change, a point has been reached, where adaptation of urban water infrastructure and management is paramount for sustainable future development of urban areas. In the project, DynAlp, the potential impact of climate change and city development on urban water infrastructure (and its development/adaptation) is analysed. The aim of this project is to develop and apply a strategic planning tool for integrated consideration of climate change and city development in view of planning urban water infrastructure. The outcome will be a comprehensive climate change impact and adaptiveness assessment. The evaluation of adaptation strategies and its visualization enables the preparation of commented vulnerability and risk maps as a decision support system for planning, adaptation and mitigation strategies.