Friday, 29 August 2014

Learn more about the future of water infrastructure at a free AGI Asset Management SIG event

Jeremy Hidderley - AECOM & AGI Asset Management SIG

With ageing water infrastructure and the move towards total expenditure regulation in AMP6, UK water companies face tough decisions about how to spend their budgets most effectively.

Combining these decisions with delivering outcomes rather than outputs and increasing service demands from customers and the environment, the emphasis is on delivering effective operational and asset management. To help keep abreast of these challenges, the AGI’s Asset Management SIG is hosting a water utilities seminar in Bristol on Tuesday 9th September. 

All water companies have recently submitted their PR14 business plans to OFWAT.  The next great challenge will be applying asset management expertise to help translate these plans into tangible benefits for their customers. 

At the forefront of this challenge will be the need for accurate and complete data, the lifeblood of effective asset management.  The transfer in ownership of underground assets since 2011 has made this requirement a greater issue as the householders were the previous owners of the asset, and of course, very few formal records were maintained. 

Water companies are tackling these data issues either by proactively mapping assets from paper records or predicting the number, length and age of those assets using any available data.  In addition to this, mobile mapping technology has truly come of age with operatives now able to collect location and attribute information in the field which can be returned to the corporate GIS quickly and efficiently as certain attributes can be mandated during the collection phase. 

Wessex Water and Arup will be sharing their perspective on some of these issues and how they are using geospatial technologies and geographic information to solve them.  South West Water will be sharing their approach to fast and accurate asset data collection with their new black-lining system.      

In addition to the completeness and accuracy of data, the volume and speed at which data is being created is increasing.  Networks of sensors across water company assets already provide a wealth of information about the performance of a system. Further investment is still needed in this technology to increase coverage, allowing the performance of whole catchments to be viewed at the click of a button. This will help water companies move towards real-time operational management, and even take this to the next level of self-learning asset control. For example, if water companies could link the effect of prevailing weather patterns to the need for additional network storage or a temporary increase in wastewater treatment capacity this could increase operational efficiency and reduce customer disruption.

By utilising this wealth of data that is (and could be) available, the industry can start to build up a greater understanding about how and when assets fail.  In a similar fashion to using weather and climate data to predict capacity requirements, the industry can start to look more at the environment in which an asset resides. On this subject, Cranfield University will be talking about some of their research into the impact of soils upon underground assets.  As we begin to better understand modes of failure, the industry can begin to fine tune their predictive capabilities. 

To learn more about the above, please register for the event at:

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