In the day-in, day-out quest to lower operation costs and maximize profitability in the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry, software tools that help professionals analyze costs and streamline workflow are at a premium. By leveraging realtime data, engineers, project managers, and others can save resources and make more informed decisions, whether they’re designing a commercial building or heading up an infrastructure project.

One software provider focused on the latter—infrastructure—is now offering enhanced versions of its design and analysis software solutions for water-distribution systems. Bentley Systems, www.bentley.com, Exton, Pa., offers several infrastructure-specific solutions for the AEC industry, including the AssetWise platform for asset management, the MicroStation platform for design and modeling, and the ProjectWise platform for collaboration.

Recently, the company announced new versions of its WaterCAD and WaterGEMS V8i (SELECTseries 4) solutions intended for utilities, municipalities, and design engineering firms. WaterCAD is a hydraulic and water-quality modeling solution for water-distribution systems that features model building, optimization, and asset-management tools, among others.

Similarly, WaterGEMS is a water-distribution modeling application the company says can either run as a standalone application or within other applications such AutoCAD or MicroStation. The solution offers fire-flow and water-quality simulations, energy-cost analysis, and advanced optimization tools, among other functionalities.

New features of the WaterCAD and WaterGEMS V8i solutions include the ability to aggregate energy costs across pumping stations, factor in complex tariffs and non-model-related energy costs, and perform net present value analyses of operating scenarios. The company says each new operations-related capability will help utilities optimize the efficiency of water-distribution systems and minimize operation costs.

The enhanced solutions will also allow users to create new reports, including flushing studies and valve and hydrant locations, thereby automating processes that are time consuming when done by hand. Bentley says the new releases are also easier to use, especially when working on complex models.

The company already has plans for future updates and releases, including the ability to bring hydraulic modeling results into utility control rooms, which could enhance a team’s ability to access information and make informed decisions. By helping utilities and other AEC professionals visualize projects, aggregate data, and manage assets, technology can help lower operation costs and boost the bottomline.