Water Journal : Water Journal April 2012
smart systems technical features 92 APRIL 2012 water Asset Management Intelligent networks provide the potential to reduce current urban water service provider capital and recurrent maintenance costs, and improve the return to asset management program expenditures (in the long run) by optimising where the replacement activity occurs to maximise asset life. Sydney Water Corporation In 2008-09, Sydney Water Corp budgeted to spend $122 million on water pipeline capital expenditure (Sydney Water, 2007). Of this figure, it has been calculated that between 64% and 74% represents maintenance expenditure, with the remainder representing expenditure on new capacities. Therefore, the maintenance capital spend was in the order of $77.6-89.7 million in 2008-09 alone, and before including the associated labour/ operational expenditure relating to the installation of this new capital. South East Water Limited In 2008--09, South East Water budgeted to spend $11 million on water reliability capital (South East Water, 2008). Also in 2008--09 they budgeted to spend $11 million on preventable and remedial operations. Adding these figures, maintenance capital and operational spend was around $22 million. Australian urban water network According to the WSAA Report Card for 2007/08 (WSAA, 2010b): • During 2007--08 the urban water utilities invested $835 million in replacing old and under-performing assets and $535 million in maintaining asset reliability -- a total of $1.37 billion; and • Over the five years to 2013, water utilities will invest around $5 billion in replacing old and underperforming assets and around $2.7 billion in maintaining current assets -- an average annual total of $1.54 billion. While it is not known what proportion of these figures represent expenditure on pipelines alone, the logic applies that whatever that fraction may be, it represents the maximum potential saving new intelligent technologies could realise in this application. The actual benefit realised would be less than this figure, as some level of capital replacement will always remain. Short of a greater understanding of the precise form and function of the new technologies themselves, and a greater understanding of what proportion of annual maintenance expenditure is avoidable/non-optimal, no potential attribution can be estimated. Having said this, even a 1% reduction in the forward estimated figure represents a significant cost saving of $15.4 million per annum. Conclusions In summary, the benefits of utilising sensor technologies for the implementation of intelligent water networks are both economic and service oriented. The economic benefits include better management of customer service obligations, reduction in operational cost of water and wastewater systems, optimal utilisation of system capacity and need based augmentation of system. In addition to the direct and indirect economic benefits already mentioned, there are a number of operational and community benefits. These are inherently difficult to quantify in terms of their dollar value; however, it is clear they will benefit both the community as well as the water utilities in terms of improved service delivery, less environmental disruption and enhanced utilisation of operational budgets. More specifically, some of the benefits are deferring capital expenditure by improved planning with enhanced knowledge, improvement in operation with systematic maintenance due to timely interventions, reduction in environmental degradation due to water quality and overflow event management, and proper integration of centralised and decentralised systems. Acknowledgements Thanks to Andrew Chapman (Manager -- Water Systems Leader, South East Water Limited) and Priscilla Chung (formerly Special Projects Leader, South East Water Limited, and currently Principal Consultant -- Project Management at AECOM New Zealand), for organising the series of CSIRO/Victorian Water Utilities Intelligent Water Networks Science Symposia Workshops conducted during 2011. The Authors Dr Donavan Marney (email: Donavan. Marney@csiro.au) is a research scientist and stream leader of Intelligent Networks at CSIRO. Dr Ashok Sharma (email: Ashok. Sharma@csiro.au) is a research scientist and stream leader of distributed and decentralised systems at CSIRO. Both work in the Urban Water Theme of Water for a Healthy Country Flagship. References Australian Natural Resources Atlas (ANRA), 2002: "Water Resources -- Quality", 2000-2002 National Land and Water Resources Audit theme assessments, www.anra.gov.au/topics water/ quality/index.html, accessed 6 July 2010. Sydney Water Corporation, 2007: "Sydney Water Submission to IPART". South East Water Limited, 2008: "2009/10 to 2012/13 Water Plan". Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), 2010a: National Performance Report 2008--2009: Urban water utilities -- Part A Comparative Analysis, April, Canberra. -2010b: National Performance Report 2008--2009: Urban water utilities -- Part C Data Set, April, Canberra. -2010c: "Intelligent networks urban water industry requirements of communications national broadband network," Position Paper No. 4. Bibliography Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE), 2008: Urban water management: optimal pricing and investment policy under climate variability, ABARE Research Report 08.7, Canberra, August. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2006: Water Account Australia 2004-05, Cat No. 4610.0. Business Council of Australia, 2006: "Water under pressure". Business Council of Australia, Australia. 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Water Journal May 2012
Water Journal December 2011