Report May 2022

SWAN Digital Twin Readiness Guide

Applying SWAN’s Digital Twin Architecture to the water industry


Pusker Regmi, Brown and Caldwell | Chengzi Chew, DHI | Michael Karl, Brown and Caldwell | Gigi Karmous-Edwards, Karmous-Edwards Consulting | David Fortune, University of Exeter | Shayna Ramboz, SWAN Forum


BIOFOS | Consorci d’Aigües de Tarragona | DHI | Gruppo CAP | Idrica/Global Omnium | Kempner Water Supply Corporation | Public Utilities Board, Singapore | Romagna Acque Società delle Fonti S.p.A. | Royal HaskoningDHV | Specific Energy | VCS Denmark | Veolia Water Technologies | Waterschapsbedrijf Limburg (WBL)


Digital Twin technology can revolutionise the way utilities are managed, yet there hasn’t been any guide for utilities to best leverage this technology into a common environment where utility personnel are fully supported.

Over the past three years, the SWAN Digital Twin Group has advanced and clarified the conversation around Digital Twins in water sector. The promise of Digital Twins has been made possible by the recent progress in the areas of sensing and the internet of things (IoT), secure data integration and management, advanced data analytics, and continuously updated physics-based models, data-driven models, or a combination of both, called hybrid models.

While the path to implementing a Digital Twin is unique to each utility, the steps toward successful adoption are foundationally the same. A true implementation is scalable and iterative and will likely be phased over many years, depending on a utility’s set of software, infrastructure, and budget requirements. This Readiness Guide provides the foundation, the necessary steps, and the path for each utility to achieve those essential insights that lead to an efficient and optimised utility.

The Journey Toward a Digital Twin

Although every utility has unique needs and a unique community they serve, most have a similar set of questions when considering Digital Twin implementation addressed in this report.

Common Questions

What is a Digital Twin, and what benefits does it provide?

Understand a clear definition of Digital Twin and its value.

Where do I start?

View guidelines to help assess your current software, needs, and infrastructure so that you can make an informed decision on where to begin.

Should I start my Digital Twin now or wait?

Explore case studies that document Digital Twin success achieved for a diverse array of utilities.

Can I customise and scale a Digital Twin to best fit my needs?

Learn individual approaches that global utilities have taken to tailor the technology to best fit their needs.

Below are the four main steps of the Digital Twin journey.

To learn more download the report.

Digital Twin Definition: A dynamic digital representation of real-world entities and their behaviours using models with static and dynamic data that enable insights and interactions to drive actionable and improved outcomes.

As leading global utilities, we believe the SWAN Digital Twin Readiness Guide can transform the water sector by enabling utilities of all sizes and the industry as a whole to understand the foundation of a Digital Twin as they embark or continue their Digital Twin Journey.

-The SWAN Digital Twin Utility Advisory Group

Digital Twin Benefits

Across each design, construction, and operation phase, the Digital Twin provides a holistic view of information creating more transparency, collaboration, and ability to innovate across the entire utility.


  • Multi-objective simulations for optimal cross sector design
  • Experimentation in digital form prior to implementation
  • Improved decision making
  • Continuous operational optimisation

Operational Oversights

  • One comprehensive view
  • Anomaly detection
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Reduced compliance issues

Collaboration and Transparency

  • Transparency across sectors and departments
  • Increased interdepartmental collaboration
  • Knowledge retention for new workforce
  • Proactive workforce

Predictive Analysis

  • A near holistic real-time connection between the physical and the digital world
  • Ability to run what-if analysis at any time
  • Ability to adapt and respond to rapidly changing scenarios and disturbances

Access the Full Report

SWAN Members may login to download the full report. Non-Members, please fill-in your details below and then scroll down to the bottom of this page to access the report.