Driving assessment

Smart Grid Management Puts SA Water Breaks on a Downtrend


With a long history of innovation, SA Water continues to embrace change in its day-to-day operation and long-term planning, including encouraging and developing new applications of cutting-edge technologies to benefit its customers and the southern community. -Australian.

SA Water’s role in providing reliable water services for a sustainable and healthy South Australia is, among other strategies, underpinned by agile and mature watermain asset management and condition assessment.

Coupled with continued investment and adaptation of new technologies, it has helped the utility better understand the state’s water and wastewater system and, more recently, helped reduce the outage rate. water pipes unprecedented in years.

Maintaining Australia’s longest pipe network

SA Water’s vast network of vital pipelines, pump stations and treatment infrastructure statewide exists to provide customers with the most essential services and as a result requires a modern management strategy and complete that meets customer expectations.

SA Water’s managing director of sustainable infrastructure, Amanda Lewry, said an important part of this includes a new approach to the performance of our water mains and condition-based maintenance programs, enabling the utility maximize the useful life of assets and reduce operating costs.

“Our water main condition assessment strategy is diverse and can be adapted to different situations, ranging from using hoop stress calculations in our reticulation network to determining blockages and low power incidents. throughput by leveraging CCTV and flowmeter technology,” Ms Lewry said.

“Our innovative fleet of over approximately 300 smart water acoustic sensors in the Adelaide CBD has also proven instrumental in proactively using acoustic monitoring to assess a better understanding of our underground network and detected with Proactively beat leaks and ruptures with the power of sound.

“Our sensors detect approximately 200 environmental noises every day, and we continue to understand and interpret the different acoustic patterns to distinguish cracks in our pipes from other sounds picked up by the technology.

“Adopting smart technology into our day-to-day asset management system has made us the first water utility in the world to implement a range of IoT-enabled sensors in a geographic area. Defined and supported the expansion of our sewer network and customer meters.

“Our thirst for innovation drives us to continue to adopt new technologies to better understand the condition of our assets and operate them smarter to deliver reliable and dependable water services in the future.”

The adoption of smart technology in the management of its water pipes has helped the utility to proactively monitor leaks and breaks in its underground network.

The number of leaks at the lowest in four years

The Bureau of Meteorology’s National Performance Report (NPR): Urban Water Utilities continues to confirm that SA Water’s water system is among the best performing in the nation. Results for 2020-21 show SA Water experienced an average of 13.3 mainline breaks or leaks per 100km of pipeline, which is below the average of 18.9 and higher than more than half of utilities Australians of comparable size (with 100,000 or more customers). ) – showing that watermain incidents are certainly not unique to South Australia.

Amanda Lewry, Managing Director of Sustainable Infrastructure at SA Water

“Adelaide’s reactive clay soils shifting between seasons and the stress this places on underground pressurized water pipes means we cannot completely prevent leaks and ruptures, but our continued investment means we can help reduce their frequency and impact on customers,” Ms Lewry says.

“This continued focus on improving customer outcomes is demonstrated by our investment of $155 million between 2020 and 2024 in proactive waterline replacements, installation of additional valves and ongoing technology development. “This includes a statewide water main replacement programme, which last year involved the installation of around 59km of new mains, including under several key thoroughfares in Adelaide. .”

In 2021, 3,614 water main leaks and breaks were reported across SA Water’s 27,000 km network, compared to 3,749 in 2020. ground and therefore fewer water main breaks.

“Less challenging conditions in 2021, coupled with our continued focus on improving customer outcomes, led to the lowest waterline incident rate in four years.”

Case Study: Upgrading South Australia’s Longest Drinking Water Pipeline

For nearly 80 years, the Morgan pipeline at Whyalla has transferred large volumes of drinking water – produced at SA Water’s Morgan water treatment plant in the Riverland – providing a clean and safe supply to around 100,000 customers in the Barossa, Mid North, Upper Spencer Gulf and Eyre Peninsula regions of South Australia.

As part of its role in providing reliable water services, SA Water’s in-depth condition assessment program has identified sections of the 358 km pipeline to be upgraded over several regulatory periods, to enable safe and long-term drinking water in the future.

An upgrade of the first 34 kilometers of South Australia’s longest drinking water pipeline, measuring up to 750mm in diameter on sections in the towns of Burra and Lindley, is due to start in mid -2022.

“The Morgan Pipeline at Whyalla provides drinking water to customers across the South Australian region, and many large businesses depend on this supply to enable their operations. By duplicating sections of the pipeline, we are able to maintain water supplies to these communities during this important project,” said Ms. Lewry.

“In 2018, our team used an advanced, non-invasive condition assessment method called Ultrasonic Thickness Phased Array, which sends electronic signals through the pipe material to measure pipeline thickness.

“Using analysis of this assessment and performance data, we were able to prioritize various sections of the pipeline for renewal over time, with the long-term program helping to secure regional drinking water supplies well into the future and prepare the network for continued residential and commercial growth.

“This first stage of renewal is part of our four-year, $1.6 billion capital program, which will provide a diverse portfolio of projects to maintain and improve our water system while improving services for our customers. “