Sydney Water awarded for predicting pipe failures

Sydney Water Corporation

Friday, 14 October, 2016

Sydney Water has won the International Water Association’s (IWA) Project Innovation Award in Applied Research for the Water Research Foundation (WRF) partnership project ‘Advanced Condition Assessment and Pipe Failure Prediction’. The award was presented this week at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Brisbane.

The international research collaboration was led by Sydney Water, with additional funding and participation from WRF and UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) as well as several Australian water utilities and universities. It encompassed a six-year program to enhance understanding of pipe condition and deterioration mechanisms to better predict when and where a pipe might fail, and the best method to intervene in order to extend the longevity of a pipe.

“This project demonstrates how water utilities, universities and research organisations can collaborate internationally to develop innovative solutions to predicting pipe failures,” said WRF CEO Rob Renner. “As many countries grapple with ageing infrastructure, methods to determine the useful life of that infrastructure are crucial for the water sector.”

The project found improved methods for estimating remaining pipe life considering available information, including condition assessment data. It also investigated a method to accurately predict sensor readings for a given geometric description of a buried large water main and obtain the best estimate of the pipe geometry from a set of measurements based on maximum likelihood principles.

The project also developed a realistic predictive model for pipe corrosion in soil, including the collection of datasets for measured pit depths and associated soil conditions. As a result of the project, the international water community will be able to address critical pipe failure issues more accurately, efficiently and economically, with improved customer service.

“The success of this significant innovation for the international water industry is due in large part to the fact that we assembled the world’s best project team and to the leadership displayed by the collective water industry,” said Dammika Vitanage, asset infrastructure research coordinator, Sydney Water.

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