24 Feb 2022

Utility case: the 2 projects at the top of the list are less than 30% of the total, yet will avoid 62% of predicted pipe breaks

Impact quantification for each of the CIP projects in the pipeline allowed this utility to prioritize their resources and maximize the number of avoided pipe breaks (or their associated avoided cost).

In this US public utility, mains breaks represent an increased liability in many sections of the network, due to traffic disruption, easements, the density of sensitive customers, and the proximity to environmentally protected areas.

When the utility began using Baseform, there was already a pipeline of several dozen small renewal projects (typically in the range 1-3 mi) ready to be commissioned. The main question was how to reliably quantify performance, define priorities and calendarize them in order to maximize return for the available investment resources.

How many breaks and how much risk are likely to be avoided, over a given horizon, by implementing each?

Baseform connects unintrusively to the utility’s data systems – in this case the GIS and CMMS (work orders) – and geolocates and reconciles all data. Its stochastic and machine-learning models automatically explore relationships between asset failures and potentially explanatory factors, such as installation date, material, soil or any other factor that the user may wish to explore, both from GIS attributes or any other source that is fed to it. The utility itself is best placed to pursue those that may impact mains deterioration.

The result is the ability to reliably predict, for every mains, service line or other type of asset :

• the number of failures for the year or time range concerned (and specific deterioration curve);

• Total Cost of Failure (including repair cost, direct and indirect costs, service & liability costs, other); • Business Exposure Risk, with an unlimited range of Consequence of Failure (CoF) dimensions, including hydraulic criticality.

 

The utility can therefore predict the gain achieved by each project, e.g., through the list shown above. The existing set of projects totalled 13.46 mi of mains and would avoid 16 breaks/yr in 2021 (19 in 2025). If the same extension was optimized by the software, that number would go up to 43 breaks/yr in 2021 (51 in 2025) – a 2.7x increase in return of investment.

In parallel, the software has a complete environment for generating renewal plans that optimize failure, cost or risk avoidance – therefore enabling the utility to build new renewal projects of any dimension, granularity or asset combination that maximize the return of the available resources.

UTILITY PROFILE

Population served: 20 200

# clients: 14 070

Total network length (water supply): 252 mi Total network length (sewer system): 330 mi

Available data systems

• GIS: water system, zoning

• Maintenance/CMMS: work order records since

2009

Focus of Baseform implementation

• CIP and Asset Management optimization

• Network renewal planning (Water supply/Sewer) 

DATA LEVERAGED IN THIS CASE

Baseform’s software is designed to take full advantage of the data that already exists in the utility, depending on each application objective.

The software connects to the available data systems in an automated, non-intrusive and completely secure manner.

In the case of this specific utility and the application described here, data from the systems highlighted below were used.