Water Journal : Water Journal November 2014
NOVEMBER 2014 WATER 31 Feature Article as current valve status is generally not updated in the GIS. Reliable high-quality GIS data is critical to the development of water network models (and the operation and management of water supply systems); therefore, the model development process presented an opportunity to improve the quality of data stored in the GIS and, over time, start to include more accurate operational information. The bene ts associated with the water authority developing accurate water network models, while at the same time improving the quality of GIS data, are starting to be realised in the Nadi Lautoka water supply system. After developing a water network model for Nadi Lautoka and verifying the data through consultation with eld staff and targeted network monitoring, the water authority has been successfully using the model as a key tool in investigating and resolving operational issues such as intermittent supply areas and the inability to ll and maintain levels in key reservoirs. Some water supply zones in Nadi Lautoka were only providing water at an acceptable pressure for eight hours per day (and in some cases no supply at all) due to various operational issues, including incorrect valve settings and/or placement, dependence on manual valve operation in response to customer complaints, valve failure, air locks and inadequate reservoir controls. The rst step in resolving the operational issues was to use the network model to determine ideal operational controls that would optimise theoretical system performance, including establishing discrete supply zones and reservoir controls. This became a benchmark against which actual system performance was compared and operational improvements were progressively implemented. Operational improvements were implemented through changing valve settings (eliminating throttle valves and establishing permanent supply zones), repairing or replacing failed valves and eliminating pipe blockages due to air locks at high points and accumulated debris at low points. Key outcomes achieved to date by the Water Authority of Fiji in the Nadi Lautoka water supply system include: • A signi cant reduction in the number of intermittent supply areas across the system -- the water authority is well on the way to achieving its target of a reliable, continuous supply to all customers by the end of 2014; • A signi cant reduction in the need for manual valve operation as an ad-hoc response to customer complaints; • Improvements in trunk main performance, which has assisted with the lling of key reservoirs and consequently improved water supply security; • Improvements in the accuracy of GIS data and incorporation of up-to-date operational information; • Greater understanding of the water supply system -- the process has highlighted the importance of high-quality GIS data and water network models for the understanding and successful operation of complex water networks. Key staff from the Water Authority of Fiji and their trainer from Hunter Water Australia recently presented the results of the Nadi Lautoka operational modelling at the 7th Annual Paci c Water Conference and Expo hosted by the Paci c Water and Wastes Association (PWWA). It was a demonstration of how a water utility from one of Australia's major neighbours in the Paci c could make major advances in a very short time and use advanced computer modelling to make rapid operational gains. It was also a demonstration of true capacity building. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE The Australian water industry is well placed to develop lasting partnerships with Paci c Island water utilities and support them with their goal of providing safe and reliable water and wastewater services. These partnerships need to focus on training and mentoring water professionals and operators, working with water utilities to educate government authorities and regional provinces on sustainable water management principles, and assisting with educating local communities on water problems and solutions. Hunter Water Australia is working alongside some of our Paci c Island neighbours, training and building the capabilities of managers, engineers and operators to better manage their utilities. Face-to-face time is critical in capacity building and is a key component in developing lasting relationships. While capacity building takes time, it is clear that this approach to capacity building is making signi cant gains towards Paci c Island water utilities becoming self-suf cient and capable of managing themselves in a sustainable way. WJ THE AUTHOR Cameron Smith (email: Cameron.Smith@ hwa.com.au) is a Principal Planning Engineer with Hunter Water Australia Pty Limited. He has 19 years' experience in the water industry, predominantly in strategic planning, and has a strong focus on supporting regional water utilities in Australia and the Paci c. Staff from Water Authority of Fiji developing modelling capabilities in Newcastle. Seru Soderberg, Sonam Lata and Miteshwar Chand examining model results.
Water Journal September 2014
Water Journal December 2014