Intelligent control of the water distribution system in Alicante

(Eastern Spain)


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Alicante is a province with water deficit due to its low rainfall, persistent periods of drought and a complex hydrogeological configuration. In 1993, the Provincial Council developed a system capable of monitoring water resources, through a system of remote management and telemetry with the help of local companies.
The telemetry system allows to monitor and manage the infrastructures and the network in high time in real time. It also contains a tool (ModopENE) useful for improving and optimizing the efficiency of drive pumps. Finally, it contains a module that allows the supply network to be sectorized and managed. The remote management and telemetry system generates alerts and warnings in real time that the operators or the person in charge receive.
The replicability of these actions lies in the sensorization of the area. It is a technically advanced solution that allows to rethink efficient management systems in other areas with similar contexts of water scarcity and arid conditions.

Responsible entity

The Provincial Council of Alicante, through its Water Cycle Area, is responsible for characterizing the situation of provincial water resources and giving technical advice to local administrations, as well as building hydraulic infrastructures that provide service to municipalities, as befits the role of the Provincial Institution as “City Council of City Councils”.


Water Cycle is an entity of the Provincial Administration constituted by officials specialized in the management and administration of the water cycle and its infrastructures.

Its objective is the preferential support to all the City Councils of the Province of Alicante and other Local Entities such as Consortiums, Associations, User Communities with municipal representation or Minor Entities, to whom it provides its services in order to ensure the effective development of the municipal water supply service in sufficient quantity and quality to improve the well-being of citizens, as well as the municipal sanitation service, and advising on the optimal management of the resource and hydraulic infrastructures.

Specifically, the remote control and management system of the Diputación de Alicante monitors in real time the hydraulic infrastructures of the province. The data is stored in the Provincial Water Database, which can be accessed from anywhere thanks to the Internet. Operating expenses are covered by the Provincial Council’s own budget.

Water policy at the provincial level is established around two fundamental objectives:

  • The use of own water resources.
  • The optimal management of the resource, both own and external, at the municipal and provincial level.

Detailed explanation

In 1993, the Telemetry and Control System of Water Resources and Hydraulic Infrastructures was initiated in order to obtain real-time information on the different parameters involved in the water cycle and its municipal management. The high-water cycle is managed by the SISCON IB software and a set of hardware that together make up the SISCON system.
SISCON is a data collection system with a presence in 107 municipalities. SISCON consists of three modules: the SICON IB module focuses on infrastructures and the high network, while the ModopENE module is applied in energy optimization. Both modules are useful tools for diagnosing, controlling and optimizing water drives and energy control. The third module, MapConta, allows the sectorization of the supply network.

The operation of SISCON can be divided into four phases:

  1. Automatic data capture in remote installations, with more than 4,000 sensors, and storage in their internal memory
  2. Transmission of data to the central computer by means of a communication medium via radio, on the mesh of repeater stations of the communications system “Trunking” of automatic sharing of resources and channels
  3. Information processing in the flexible and simple environment of SISCON IB software
  4. Updating and storage of data in the computers of the remote control room in the facilities of the Water Cycle Department. (P. Alfaro, 2004),

The system is oriented to provide real-time and quality information on variables (R. Hernández et al. 2017):

  1. Hydrological: piezometry, hydrometry, exploitations…
  2. Hydraulic supply infrastructures: Catchments, tanks, water treatment plants…

The system is flexible, it can transmit via analog, digital or telephone radio allowing the connection with a multitude of commercial automata.

These characteristics allow SISCON to join other systems and / or applications of the Provincial Council, such as the provincial hydrological information system, exporting data and information collected in the remote management system in high (Aguas de Alicante, s/f)

Warnings and alarms

Those responsible for hydrological management receive the different warnings and alarms via mail or SMS, so that you can consult or perform actions on a mobile device. This interface also displays warnings regarding:

  1. Maximum and minimum flow rates
  2. Evolution of the flow rate
  3. High night flow
  4. Fugue
  5. Reagent dosing
  6. Faults
  7. Electrical parameters
  8. Extraction: Depending on the continuity of the extraction, the state of the pump can be estimated.
  9. Minimum maximum pressure
  10. Complex notices; for example, low flow rates and low pressures are indicative of pump failures or drive leaks.

Remote reading

Remote reading is a technology that allows the remote reading of meters periodically, avoiding the displacement of qualified personnel to the meter (Ciclo hídrico, 2017)

Hay dos modelos básicos de telelectura, el walk-by y el de red fija. El modelo walk-by requiere un contador en cada casa que emite ondas de radio desde el contador. Posteriormenteel operario recoge las medidas con un dispositivo receptor “TPL” que las descarga a la base de datos. El modelo de red fija prescinde del operario que toma las lecturas, instalando repetidores que envían los datos directamente. Este sistema tiene la ventaja de poder monitorizar la actividad del contador en tiempo real. Actualmente (2017), la provincia de Alicante está transformando su modelo walk by al modelo de red fija (Diputación de Alicante, s/f).

Institutional setting

The Water Cycle Area of the Provincial Council of Alicante has carried out several actions with the mission of advising Local Entities on the optimal management of water resources and hydraulic infrastructures.

In the last 20 years, Ciclo Hídrico de Alicante has invested about € 31 M in studies related to services and facilities. 128 agreements were signed with Universities, Hydrographic Confederations, consortia, Associations, IGME, City Councils and Sanitation Entities. (Diputación de Alicante, 2016)

The 2014 management report includes the companies contracted to develop the remote management system; Sistemas Avanzados Telecom-Levante, S.L, Hard Byte, S.L, Silicon Media, S.L.U. Danysoft Internacional, S.L. (Diputación de Alicante, 2014)

Geographical setting

A good part of the 5,800 km2 of the province of Alicante corresponds to permeable terrain, constituting geological formations with aquifer characteristics. The vast majority of Alicante aquifers are found in formations of carbonate nature: limestones and dolomites of the Cretaceous and, to a lesser extent, calcarenites, sandstones and Jurassic or tertiary limestones. Detrital aquifers are less abundant, and their location is reduced to the depressions that make up the carbonate reliefs (alluvial formations) and the coastal strip.

Historical overview

La digitalización aplicada al ciclo del agua va ligada al ‘Plan Estrategia Alicante Smart Province’ que pretende constituir el marco que permita convertir esta provincia, sus servicios públicos y sus organismos en un territorio interconectado e inteligente, para servir mejor, beneficiar más y de forma más inmediata. (Diputación de Alicante, s.f)
Las primeras definiciones de Smart City aparecen a principios de los años 2000 (2000-2005) “Una ciudad inteligente es una ciudad que se desempeña bien de manera prospectiva en estas seis características, (economía inteligente, personas inteligentes, gobierno inteligente, movilidad inteligente, entorno y vida inteligentes), construida sobre la combinación “inteligente” de dotaciones y actividades de ciudadanos autodecisivos, independientes y conscientes” (Giffinger et al., 2010, p.13).

Previously, the concept of Sustainable City, which began to develop in the 80s, served as a response to the challenges faced by cities, which adapted to sustainable development, understood as that development that manages to face the present needs without compromising those of future generations. (WCED, 1987) El desarrollo de soluciones inteligentes con elementos tecnológicos avanzados incorporados en sus infraestructuras facilitaría las vidas de los ciudadanos, la gestión de los recursos y el compromiso de la ciudad con el medio ambiente. (Muñoz, 2011)

In 2012, the European Commission selected certain priority action areas such as energy, transport or ICT. In addition, the purpose of integrating technology in all these areas was raised, thus achieving a positive and real efficiency, as well as a decrease in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. (Pulido, 2013). In the field of water resources, an improvement in the efficiency of management using these technologies would result in the optimal use of resources. (Comisión Europea, 2014).

These policy initiatives at EU level have affected the digital transformation of the water sector and, among them, the innovations for hydrological management implemented in the province of Alicante.

Evidence of benefits from implementation

The provincial remote management system integrates elements of the entire water cycle, allows communication by analog, digital and telephone radio. It is a system that is related to the Hydrogeological Information System and management and optimization applications present in the Water Cycle.

The system supports high management, improves the management of hydraulic infrastructures and water resources, reducing cost and improving communication with the user.

Replication potential in SUDOE region

In the SUDOE region, all entities have control networks that can be remotely managed as well as the hydraulic infrastructures themselves.
The methodology applied in Alicante in the face of a scarcity scenario is an advanced solution and can serve as a reference to contrast and redefine management in other locations in the SUDOE region in order to improve the management itself.

Future outlook

The implementation of remote control and telemetry technologies are a step towards Smart Cities. In this sense, Alicante is a pioneer in Spain, basing its management on the constant knowledge of water resources

Key points of the innovative method

  • The commitment of the Provincial Council of Alicante around the management of water resources has allowed the implementation of the remote management and remote reading system
  • It requires investment and continuous work to improve knowledge and decision making.
  • Innovation lies in the vision of the future of those responsible for managing the resource in an arid and scarcity situation and location where the resource is a strategic element.


La práctica innovadora fue sugerida por José Luis García Aróstegui Científico Titular del Instituto Geológico y Minero de España.


Diputación de Alicante (ciclo hídrico). (2016). Memoria de gestion 20 años (p.1-15). 

Diputación de Alicante. (2016). Estructuras organizativas de la Diputación de Alicante. 

Diputación de Alicante (Ciclo hídrico). (2014) Memória de gestion 2014 (p.15).

Ciclo Hídrico Diputación Alicante (23 de noviembre de 2017). Alicante Smart Water 2017 – Programa mañana 1ª sesión (Archivo de video). YouTube:   

Alfaro, P., & Simposio sobre la Enseñanza de la Geología 13o. 2004 Alicante. (2004). Geología de Alicante. (Universidad Alicante, Instituto de Ciencias de la Educación).

Rodríguez Hernández, L., Fernández Rodríguez, H., Palencia, R., Ciclo, R., & Diputación De Alicante, H. (2017). Red de telegestión de recursos hídricos e infraestructuras hidráulicas abastecimiento en alta 

Aguas de Alicante. (s.f). Telelectura. Recuperado de:ía,tenga%20que%20desplazarse%20al%20contador 

Ciclo Hídrico Diputación Alicante (23 de noviembre de 2017). Alicante Smart Water 2017 – Programa mañana 2ª sesión (Archivo de video). YouTube: 

Diputación de Alicante (s.f) “Estrategia Alicante Smart Province-provincia inteligente.” Recuperado de: 

Giffinger, R., Fertner, C., H. Kramar, N. P., & Meijers, E. (2007). Smart Cities Raking of Europeas Medium-Sized Cities. Viena: Centre of Regional Science. Universidad Tecnológica de Viena.

WCED. (1987). Our Common Future. World Comission on Environment and Development. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Muñoz, J. H. (2011). ¿Qué son las Smart Cities o Ciudades Inteligentes? Madrid: Sociedad de la Información. Telefónica.

Pulido, J. I. (2013). Retos para una gestión inteligente del turismo. En J. I. Pulido, & P. J. Cárdenas, Estructura Económica de los Mercados Turísticos. Madrid: Síntesis.

Comisión Europea. (17 de Mayo de 2014). Comisión Europea. Obtenido de Smart Cities and Communities:


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