The Australian Government will provide $3 million in funding to the Cooperative Research Centres Project stream to fund research and innovation into the Smart Lining for Pipes project.
The Australian urban water industry welcomed the announcement by Craig Laundy, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.
Gary Hurley, Manager Networks at Sydney Water said, “Three Australian Universities Monash, UTS and Sydney University will provide the research and work in collaboration with the lining industry partners to improve specifications, standards, products and services. Sydney Water has almost 50,000kms of wastewater and water pipes in our network and this project will help to prolong the life of these assets, which will help to deliver an even more reliable water & wastewater service and lessen future customer disruption through reduced repairs and replacements.”
Executive Director of the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), Adam Lovell, said the funding was vital for water utilities to manage water and sewerage infrastructure.
“Many water and sewer pipes in our cities and towns are approaching the end of their life, and to completely replace them can cost thousands of dollars per metre. Water utilities can potentially keep customer bills down by using new materials or new smart robotics and sensors in repairing pipes instead of replacing them,” Mr Lovell said.
The project is valued at a total of over $24 million and is expected to position Australia as a global leader in smart water infrastructure design, engineering, testing and management.
The project will see collaboration across the globe with 31 project partners focusing on new materials and technologies to increase the lifespan of these assets.
“We are especially pleased to be working with an extensive range of national and international partners, including SMEs. This will keep customer bills down and reduce the ‘inconvenience’ cost to the community,” Mr Lovell said.
The global market opportunity for smart lining products is estimated at more than $60 billion over the next ten years, assuming linings defer ten per cent of pipe renewals.
Australia represents five per cent of this market so expanding market opportunities for Australian SMEs offers huge potential.