Sydney Water has won the International Water Association’s (IWA) Project Innovation Award in Applied Research for the WRF partnership project, “Advanced Condition Assessment and Pipe Failure Prediction.
The award was presented to Sydney Water on October 12 at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition in Brisbane, Australia.
This research encompasses 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 organizations can collaborate internationally to develop innovative solutions to predicting pipe failures,” said Rob Renner, CEO of the Water Research Foundation. “As many countries grapple with aging infrastructure, methods to determine the useful life of that infrastructure are crucial for the water sector.”
“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. “Our prime focus was to undertake research which would lead to providing improved services to the customers of water utilities world-wide.”
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.
Finally, the project developed a realistic predictive model for pipe corrosion in soil, including the collection of data sets for measured pit depths and associated soil conditions. As a result of this project, the international water community will be able to address critical pipe failure issues more accurately, efficiently, and economically, with improved customer service.
The IWA Project Innovation Award program was created to recognize excellence and innovation in water projects throughout the world, “highlighting the belief and emphasis within the water sector, that solutions to our water challenges can be achieved through innovative and practical solutions.”
The international research collaboration was led by Sydney Water, with additional funding and participation from WRF and UK Water Industry Research Ltd (UKWIR).
Other Australian co-sponsors included Water Corporation, City West Water, Melbourne Water, Yarra Valley Water, South Australia Water Corporation, Queensland Urban Utilities, South East Water Ltd, and Hunter Water Corporation. Monash University led the research effort, supported by University of Technology Sydney and the University of Newcastle.