Coliban Water joins program to optimise network

Thursday, 08 August, 2019

Coliban Water joins program to optimise network

Coliban Water is participating in the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Partnership for Safe Water Distribution System Optimisation program to assess and optimise its water distribution network.

Coliban Water’s Executive General Manager for Water Quality, David Sheehan, said the organisation was proud to be the first non-North American water corporation to participate in the program.

“The aim of the program is [to] provide water corporations with a structured process to review and optimise their water distribution networks, by identifying areas where there is potential for improvement,” Sheehan said.

“The program provides a holistic review process of Coliban Water’s water distribution networks, and participation demonstrates our commitment to improving our performance while giving us the ability to benchmark our performance against similar utilities across North America.”

A pilot of the program was conducted to review the Echuca Water Distribution Network, which allowed Coliban Water to identify areas where the network is performing well or where improvements could be made.

Sheehan explained that the program will assess Coliban Water’s water distribution across the whole network — from treated water leaving the treatment plant to where water is received by customers. Sheehan said that the assessment would provide answers to questions such as: what is the water pressure like? Are the tanks and mains being cleaned at the right frequency? Are the valves working as they should be?

Assessment of capital and staff will also be conducted to allow appropriate allocation of resources to complete any required actions.

“We are really proud of some of the results, including our water quality monitoring coverage and the maintenance of disinfection residual, which helps keep our drinking water safe for our customers. We also found a number of opportunities for process improvements, which will be implemented,” Sheehan continued.

Several projects are already underway in the Echuca Network, which complement the findings of the program — including a new 6 ML treated water storage tank and pump station, and the upgrading of the high lift pumps at the Echuca Water Treatment Plant.

Due to the range of information that had to be collated and reviewed, and the subsequent development of an action implementation plan, the project has involved the entire business. Data will now be sent to the AWWA each year as part of continuous benchmarking.

“Our submission will now be peer-reviewed by the AWWA and their panel of experts and, depending on the outcomes of the review, we will look at how we might roll out the program to the other water distribution networks that we operate throughout our region,” Sheehan concluded.

Image caption: Sarah Schroeder and Carmel Cumming present their final report. Image© Coliban Water.

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