Pipe failure research wins award

Worlds first pipe research test pipe
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Sydney Water has won the International Water Association’s (IWA) Project Innovation Award in Applied Research for their Advanced Condition Assessment and Pipe Failure Prediction project.

The award was presented at the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition in Brisbane in October 2016.

There are over $500 billion worth of critical pipe assets in Australia, the UK and US alone. Water authorities urgently needed the capability to predict where and when major failures of critical pipes would occur to put effective, long term preventative measures in place.

The $16 million, six-year international research collaboration is led by Sydney Water and includes the UK Water Industry Research, Water Research Foundation of the USA, Water Corporation (WA), City West Water, Melbourne Water, Yarra Valley Water, South Australia Water Corporation, Queensland Urban Utilities, South East Water, and Hunter Water Corporation.

On the research side, Monash University leads the project and is supported by University of Technology Sydney and the University of Newcastle.

The project’s aim was to address this industry gap and improve prediction of pipe failure, to reduce costs, improve reliability and customer service.

Sydney Water’s project leader, Dammika Vitanage, said, “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.

“Our prime focus was to undertake research which would lead to providing improved services to the customers of water utilities world-wide.”

The project has produced significant outcomes to improve water pipe inspection and prediction of pipe failure to reduce renewal and maintenance costs and improve reliability and customer service.

Specifically, the project has produced 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.

The project also produced unique research infrastructure, a 1.2km long research pipe test bed and an automated pipe burst testing facility.

As a result, the international water community can address critical pipe failure issues more accurately, efficiently and economically, with better customer service.

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