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1.7 Improved decision support of existing WS networks


Water and wastewater distribution networks are complex in the sense that a vast number of factors influence and determine the number of pipe breaks, amount of water loss and additional water, and other unwanted events and situations that may occur. Proper asset management is thus crucial to identify and prioritise maintenance work and refurbishing. However, water utilities typically lack in asset management which leads to inefficiency.

Expected results

The aim of this project is to develop a systematic, research-based, approach to manage water supply networks using minimum amount of staff and other resources yet delivering an optimum plan for maintaining and if necessary refurbishing the networks at a sustainable level (in all aspects) to achieve efficient use of water supply networks over the entire life cycle. Many research-based tools and methods for decision support is already available but smaller municipalities often lack the knowledge to handle them. The novelty in this project is not only the data it uses, but its simplicity and applicability. The method will support the municipality with tactical decisions for when to use supportive maintenance and when planned maintenance (reinvestment) is required.

Five main parts

The project includes the following main parts: First, a statistical analysis will be performed of available data from water utilities to identify what factors influence the probability of pipe break and other failures. Second, major consequence factors (e.g. people affected, risk for gastrointestinal illness, major secondary damages), will be identified and verified from available data. Third, a decision support method, including socioeconomic dimensions, will be developed for supporting water utilities when analysing and evaluating both reactive and proactive maintenance. Fourth, these methods will be implemented in at least three utilities to be able to achieve an efficient use of water supply networks over the entire life cycle. Fifth, sensitivity and scenario analyses will be carried out for evaluation of resilience.

Increasing sustainability

The results will contribute to increase in sustainable efficiency; the work will benefit all municipalities which have water and wastewater distribution networks in Sweden. The tested and verified work process and tools developed in the project can be used by any municipalities interested in planned asset management.