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Leveraging GIS & Hydraulic Modeling for Prioritizing Water and Sewer Renewal and Replacement

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Underground infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating and utilities are struggling to develop a rehabilitation and replacement program that addresses the most critical pipes in the system. Many capital improvement programs spend millions of dollars annually but, unfortunately, do little to lower total system risk because they are focused on infrastructure that may not be hydraulically significant to system operation.

Due to limited funding, it is essential that utilities review all available data and consider more than simply pipe age in determining which mains to repair or replace. By utilizing GIS data, water distribution models, and other available data sources, utilities can obtain a more complete estimation of the true likelihood and consequence of water main failure.

Likelihood of failure will be based on a variety of factors such as pipe age, material, soil type, and CCTV video. Consequence of failure requires a more detailed estimation of the hydraulic significance of each water main. This will determine the real impact of water main failure on critical facilities and ensuring adequate water service to customers. These scores can then be used to compile an overall risk score for each pipe.

Once a risk score is determined for each main, this is used to prioritize which mains require rehabilitation first versus others that may be able to wait until future years. The prioritized Rehabilitation Plan will ensure that utilities “get the most bang for the buck” and lower their total system risk as opposed to simply replacing older pipes first.

This presentation concentrates on utilities using advanced GIS and Hydraulic Modeling Applications that integrate hydraulic engineering simulations, comprehensive risk assessment and GIS spatial analysis. Techniques, tips, and requirements for these types of analyses will be presented along with a working example demonstrating how to perform a detailed Risk Assessment and develop a complete Rehabilitation Plan for a real water system.
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Keywords: Asset Management; CCTV; Capital Planning; Hydraulic Modeling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2010

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