All water supply systems are made up of assets (infrastructure). These include pipes, water meters, control valves, pressure reducing/regulating valves, air release valves, washout valves, pumps, motors etc.
All these assets serve different roles within the water supply systems, ultimately contributing to the overall objective of supplying clean water to the public.
Therefore, the functionality and integrity of all the assets that form part of the water supply system should be guaranteed at all times. However, like is with all assets, they are subject to wear and tear. These assets have a role to play in managing water losses and enhancing energy efficiency. As such, air release valves prevent air surges that lead to turbulent flows which oftentimes result in bursts and leakages; pressure reducing valves regulate pressure in sections of the water supply systems, preventing the occurrence of bursts; control valves regulate pressure, and as well control wastage during repairs etc.
It is important therefore to ensure that these assets are strategically located, well protected from damage, and that their functionality is guaranteed sustainably. This is what makes strategic water asset management critical for all water supply systems.
Our technical experts bring an experienced eye and a fresh outlook to carefully study your water supply system with regards to water supply pressures, distribution pipe specifications, water quality and all system components, and guide you on the right infrastructure to use, how long it will serve, and how often it should be replaced, with an overall aim of driving operational efficiency.
We thus provide you with project lifecycle solutions to maximise asset values, from feasibility studies through to decommissioning. This enables you to optimise operations and maximise plant asset values throughout the lifecycle of the facilities.
Water Infrastructure Condition Assessments (Capital Needs Assessments)
Water extraction, treatment, supply, and distribution infrastructure ages with time. Damage is mainly due to seismic activity, traffic activities; damage caused by growing tree roots, and regular wear and tear. Moreover, as quality deteriorates over time, it ultimately affects water quality, hence leakages (water losses), financial losses, and health challenges posed. The more they age, the more they are prone to failure. This can be mitigated by having a well-planned and managed system with pressure valves well placed in the network, meters, tanks, right pumps, so we ensure high structural and functional integrity of the system. The functionality largely depends on how these are well placed in the distribution system.
Every day, pipe failures cause significant water losses, customer service is disrupted with each failure, emergency crews are often called in during night hours, and pipes that are replaced often have over five years of remaining useful life; incurring costs that could have been used elsewhere. When it comes to infrastructure planning and management, more often than not, managers and engineers are required to create effective operating and capital planning programs that will result in lower non-revenue water loss, improved customer satisfaction, enhanced workers’ safety, while keeping their budget in check.
Furthermore, leaking and bursting portions of the water supply systems pose a serious public health threat. Whenever pipe bursts occur, water pressure into that section of the system is controlled to enable repairs proceed. However, in the course, pathogens and other contaminants within the vicinity may enter pipes and result into public health threat. On the other hand, unseen and therefore unrepaired leaking portions of the system are too prone to pathogen entry whenever pressures are low.
At Hydro Concepts (U) Ltd, we undertake water infrastructure condition assessments (replace ageing and deteriorated facilities), infrastructure valuation and compilation of infrastructure asset registers. Under this, we undertake pipeline condition assessments; assess technical asset performance, reliability and risk audits, and technical audits. These conditions assessments are key as they help in various ways as outlined below:
- Monitor and respond: They enable gathering of robust information on the water supply systems, which helps react to disruptions and emergencies faster. The condition assessments enable water utilities to identify various blind spots, thus well positioned to achieve operational excellence.
- Asset health: The assessments enable utilities to monitor asset health (condition) and to minimise asset deterioration and extend the life of water supply network assets.
- Improved utility performance: The assessment reports and data gathered enable utilities to respond faster with accurate forward visibility based on better information, which drives better outcomes, improves response times, and customer satisfaction levels. The assessments as well do identify opportunities to drive operational efficiencies.
- Reduced duration of disruptions: The assessments help lessen duration and disruption of maintenance and repairs. They enable utilities to foresee and pre-empt future network failures (e.g., locate growing leaks before pipes break) and prepare and respond to emergencies.
- Deployment of advanced asset management tools for continuous water flow monitoring, non-revenue water monitoring, and increased speed of leakage detection, location, and repair, diagnosis of water meter issues ranging from asset registers, to crossover issues, to meters that may be defunct or of incorrect size.
- Help minimise premature pipe replacements (misguided pipeline repair costs), reduction of future failures with more effective capital plans, replacement and rehabilitation planning. The condition assessments and use of gathered pipeline condition data lead to significant capital savings through targeted improvements as compared to the cost of wholesale replacement.
- Knowledge of high-risk areas and other areas where pipe segments are prone to structural system failures e.g., road crossings/road resurfacing works, areas under redevelopment, etc.
- Guide decisions on whether to clean and line large segments of distribution piping instead of replacing them outright. It gives utility engineers another big-picture frame of reference on changing hydraulics relative to whether the utility’s customer base is growing or shrinking or where the utility is in its budget cycle.
We undertake assets analysis, including asset criticality assessments to know the CAPMANEX costs of the utility/municipal and the components that need repair. Through this, we enable our Clients to identify zones with high levels of water loss, either system wide or specific zones, areas with a high rate of water main breaks or ageing pipe infrastructure, and locations of high consequence in the event of a main failure.
Through our robust water asset management strategies, we guide utilities in incorporation of innovation and technology in their business practices, usage of data for more informed decision making around water asset management, and how they can utilise the data to develop asset management programs. Our systems produce business risk profiles of 1-20 years, enabling utilities to reduce pipe failures, non-revenue water, and premature pipe renewal, hence able to maintain sustainable levels of service.
Our unique condition assessment technologies (external non-invasive technologies and spot inspection technologies) can identify the condition of both distribution and transmission mains, while simultaneously searching for leaks, all without the need for large excavations or service disruptions. For utilities with ageing pipeline infrastructure challenges, our condition assessment technology is ideal to quickly understand the structural strength of buried assets and optimise rehabilitation and replacement programs.
Our intensive asset analysis enables utilities and municipalities to know the CAPEX and OPEX costs and the components that need repair. Our non-invasive technologies work very cost effectively to survey pipe segments in urban environments with lots of fittings and connections. They compare well against invasive technologies regarding the total cost and labour for the value returned. An important difference between invasive and non-invasive technologies is in the amount of prep work required to get a valuable data set and the amount of effort required to conduct the actual evaluation. Non-invasive condition assessment can provide leak detection as well as insights on pipeline conditions without having to redirect flows, dig a chamber, or insert a tool into water lines, so there is zero risk to pipelines or water quality.
It is key to note that in water distribution infrastructure, performing condition assessments before replacing large swaths of piping does provide guidance on where to concentrate efforts and even the confidence to scale back from complete replacement to refurbishment and relining where warranted.
Our water engineers guide water utilities on how to properly leverage focused pipeline condition assessment and leak detection to be most cost effective, which helps minimise lost time, wasted money, and misguided pipeline replacements. In our condition assessments and pipeline evaluations, many variables go into evaluating piping infrastructure conditions i.e., pipe material, age, soil conditions, and repair history.
This helps us identify a more refined perspective of which piping segments warrant wholesale replacement and which have 5 or more years of performance life left, thus guiding you with the best decisions to take, enabling you to focus capital expenditures on the areas where they are most needed. Ideally, we prioritise undertaking condition assessments on transmission mains, which form the mission critical, high-profile backbone of water networks; and using our non-invasive condition assessment technologies, we identify the most cost-effective system wide priorities for maintenance or replacement investments on both transmission and water distribution networks.
We help utilities to better understand the remaining service life of their water infrastructure assets and identify sources of water loss. Our non-invasive pipe condition assessment solution enables utilities to make data-driven decisions about needed repairs to improve the effectiveness of its capital spending. This helps to prioritise repairs and replacements.
Water main condition assessment services are used for:
- Baseline understanding of water mains condition.
- Replacement and rehabilitation planning.
- Rate case justification.
- Due diligence support for water system acquisitions.
- Strategic deployment of intrusive (Internal NDT) condition assessment technologies.
- Reduction in the number of water main breaks experienced by a city, municipality, or rural growth centre (RGC).
Our high-end water asset management consulting includes:
- Technical asset performance, reliability and risk audits.
- Asset performance optimization i.e. comprehensive asset risk analytics and planning support services.
- Development of more effective capital plans to reduce future failures.
- Identification of pipes of interest for condition assessments, thus minimise premature pipe replacements, as well as inform targeted leak monitoring and valve exercising programs.
- Utilisation of data to develop water asset management programs.
We undertake water infrastructure condition assessments (Replace ageing and deteriorated facilities), infrastructure valuation, and compilation of infrastructure asset registers for water utilities and municipal governments, enhancing service performance of their water supply and wastewater infrastructure.
Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM)
Preventive maintenance is defined as routine, scheduled activities performed before equipment failure for the purpose of extending service life of equipment, reducing O&M costs, and increasing reliability. Maintenance programs should devote an appropriate level of resources to preventive maintenance. PPM is vital for such water infrastructure as:
- Electrical equipment.
- Dredging tanks.
Every asset has a recommended schedule e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, or bi-annually when PPM is conducted. The preventive maintenance is carried out in accordance with a maintenance procedure sheet. This maintenance is done to clarify the status such as deterioration of facilities, and to conduct repairs and improvement works as scheduled. If any defective part is found by this task, it is immediately replaced with suitable measures. Preventive maintenance is carried out in accordance with the yearly execution schedule. This reduces cases of abrupt equipment failure, minimises downtime, improves safety records, minimises repair costs, and reduces operating costs.
We offer planned preventive maintenance of water assets, especially electromechanical equipment. As is the case, equipment like pumps don’t instantly break down or fail, but this is a gradual process, which may be detected through routine health and performance checks, via PPM arrangement. This increases the lifecycle and prolongs asset lifespan, saving you billions in replacement costs.
Water storage tanks are critical to communities because they provide clean water to residents and help meet peak demand. Regular inspections and maintenance ensure that everything works as intended so end users have reliable access to water when it is needed. Without maintenance, the efficiency of the facilities may decline or they may malfunction. Adequate, timely, and preventative maintenance must be carried out to ensure continuous water of the recommended quality and quantity. Without a solid maintenance strategy in place, it remains a self-destructive strategy for utilities as they grapple with lost time, lost efficiencies, and stranded assets.