Failures in ageing critical pipelines which deliver fresh water to towns and cities of the world present a major challenge to cost effective management of water pipe assets. Sydney Water in 2013 leaked 120 million litres a day from its pipe network, up from 96 million litres in 2010. This equates to almost 44 billion litres of water a year. Water main breaks took an average 40 hours to repair.
Members of the Australian water industry committed $13.4 million in cash and in-kind to a project – the Advanced Condition Assessment & Pipe Failure Prediction Project (Optimal management of water infrastructure) initiative – for five years, commencing in 2011.
In 2016 the Project won the BHERT Award for Best Research & Development Collaboration. The Project resulted in innovative models to predict the probability of pipe failure verified through field case studies; a world first calibrated model to predict the long-term exterior corrosion of cast iron pipes; and enhanced interpretations of existing pipe CA tool results through innovative machine learning techniques.
Photo courtesy Sydney Water
The R&D phase of the Project has now ended. Sydney Water has now engaged with the researchers from Monash, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the University of Newcastle to implement the findings. This three-year Implementation Phase Project, aims to implement findings in Sydney Water operations to realise customer benefits.
In order to embed the outcomes and skills in the next generation of water engineers, the findings of the project have been incorporated into a Master of Advanced Engineering program run by the Department of Civil Engineering at Monash University.
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