Soil mechanics & dynamics

Ralph Beuken MSc

  • Start date
    01 Jan 2013
  • End date
    31 Dec 2015
  • collaborating partners
    Geodan, KWR en Waternet

Information about the soil is available from a number of sources. This information is important in the estimation of the aging subsurface infrastructure. Waternet needs to structure these information sources and combine them with existing information systems for drinking water mains and sewers. This would permit the development of an integrated risk assessment upon which to base the replacement policy for subsurface infrastructure.


A geographic information system (GIS) offers the possibility of combining data from various sources, using them for calculation purposes, and presenting the results visually in map form. Developments over the past few years could make the organisation of such a system possible. Thanks to asset information systems, network managers have access to their data. Databases have been built for the registration, for instance, of failures, inspections, complaints and maintenance. A calculation model, COMSIMA, has been developed to measure stress in the pipe wall in drinking water mains caused by ground or traffic loading.

The objective of this project is to develop a prototype GIS platform, in which soil data can be analysed and combined for the purpose of improving the management of the drinking water and wastewater subsurface infrastructure.


This project led to the development of a prototype of a GIS platform (Cormorant), in which soil data is combined and analysed with a view to improving decision-making concerning the replacement of the subsurface infrastructure for drinking water and wastewater (mains, gravity sewers and pressure sewers). The platform makes it possible to obtain a clear picture of connections which might support this decision-making. Cormorant is based on a risk approach with regard to the main undesirable effects. The result reveals, on the one hand, the most critical subsurface infrastructure, but also makes clear which elements require further improvement when it comes to the provision of information and the development of knowledge.


The project resulted in geo solutions to support decisions on the replacement of sewers and water mains. It also delivered a prototype GIS platform for the management of data on the soil, the condition and management status of drinking water and wastewater networks, as well as the associated documentation and instructions.

It became evident that the creation of a decision-support platform should be part of the further professionalization of the information provision for network managers.