How does the municipal planner know how much will need to be invested in water transmission networks, including sanitary, clean water and...

Models to the rescue.

December 2015 Pipeline

How does the municipal planner know how much will need to be invested in water transmission networks, including sanitary, clean water and storm water systems? How many more years before this particular sewer might need rehabilitation or replacement, or that section of the network risks becoming a threat to groundwater? Where's the most urgent possibility of leakage and potential contamination? We conduct CCTV and other inspections, but these can be relatively expensive and often provide only partial data.

Predicting the probabilities.

Today, engineers are learning to use sophisticated predictive modeling that takes existing inspection datasets and uses them to predict the probable condition of other pipes in the network. Studies such as this one and this one and this one examine and discuss methods of leakage monitoring and of selecting suitable pipes for closer inspection.

The growing risk of groundwater contamination by untreated sewage and chemicals, the general deterioration of much of our aging network, and the reluctance to invest in infrastructure, together create a dangerous perfect storm. In fact, I think it's one of the most urgent challenges — though relatively little discussed — that we face as a society today.

Engineers lead the charge in helping to overcome the danger, using all their talent, ingenuity and creativity. Predictive modeling is just one important weapon in that battle, providing decision-makers with the data they need to invest precious resources as wisely as possible.

Mike

P.S. I'd like to put infrastructure briefly to one side and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful, Prosperous 2016. Let our love go to families and friends, our respect go to contacts and colleagues, and our thoughts turn to those less fortunate than ourselves.