From mains data to mains knowledge

Decision-making about which mains to replace, and when, is one of the most important issues for asset management regarding the distribution network. With decision-support software, water companies can select which mains to replace with greater objectivity and transparency. This software needs to be improved, for instance, through the input of good and representative data on the condition of mains, and the possibility of combining different data sources.

The objective of this project is to:

  1. Develop a proposal, in close consultation with the water companies, for an architecture plan, to provide the basis for input on the mains’ condition for decision-support software packages, and an investigation of analytical techniques with which to combine different data sources.
  2. Extend the COMSIMA calculation model with data on stress caused by water-pressure loading, and ground and traffic loading. In a previous BTO project, the COMSIMA model was developed to calculate the stress caused by soil settling. The calculation results of this project are validated in a pilot.

Extension and validation of stress calculations, innovative analytical techniques for failures

We develop a qualitative description of an architecture plan and describe existing data sources, including matching to stipulated preconditions. We survey analytical methods and outline the associated preconditions. We report on our findings and present them at a scientific conference, together with a paper.

We add internal stress (water pressure) and external stress (traffic and ground loading) to the existing stress calculation methods, which are included in the COMSIMA software package. COMSIMA is connected to a GIS and can make calculations for an entire mains network. We conducted the validation of this new package by calculating the stress in the mains for one mains network. We took the soil settling data for these calculations from satellite measurements. We verified whether the mains with the highest stress were also the ones where failures occurred; for this, we used USTORE data. The pilot showed that there is indeed a relationship between the stress calculation and failure numbers.

This project also included the production of a paper for the IWA LESAM conference on distribution network performance.

Effective management of replacement policy

The idea behind the project is that through the effective use of different data sources, and of data on the surroundings, one can reduce the uncertainty about the conditions of water mains, so that companies can more effectively manage their mains replacement policy.

The architecture model developed in UKNOW to support decision-making about mains replacement.

The architecture model developed in UKNOW to support decision-making about mains replacement.