An Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is nowadays recognized as a very promising tool for relating input data to output data. It is said that the possibilities of artificial neural networks are unlimited. Here we focus on the potential role of neural networks in integrated water management. An Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is a mathematical methodology which describes relations between cause (input data) and effects (output data) irrespective of the process laying behind and without the need for making assumptions considering the nature of the relations. The applications are widespread and vary from optimization of measuring networks, operational water management, prediction of drinking water consumption, on-line steering of wastewater treatment plants and sewage systems, up to more specific applications such as establishing a relationship between the observed erosion of groyne field sediments and the characteristics of passing vessels on the river Rhine. Especially where processes are complex, neural networks can open new possibilities for understanding and modelling these kinds of complex processes. Besides explaining the method of ANN this paper shows different applications. Three examples have been worked out in more detail. An intelligent monitoring system is shown for the on-line prediction of water consumption, ANN are successfully used for sludge cost monitoring and optimizing wastewater treatment and the usage of ANN is shown in optimizing and monitoring water quality measuring networks. An ANN appears to be a multiuse and powerful tool for modelling complex processes.

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