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Story / Corporate 17 Nov 2016

Sydney Water wins major awards for research project

Sydney Water has won two major awards for our Advanced Condition Assessment & Pipe Failure Prediction Project - the International Water Association Project Innovation Award in Applied Research and the Business/Higher Education Round Table Award for the Best Research & Development Collaboration in 2016.

The project was a partnership between Water Industry Research Ltd (UK), the Water Research Foundation (UK), Water Corporation (WA), City West Water (VIC), Melbourne Water (VIC), Yarra Valley Water (VIC), South Australia Water Corporation (SA), Queensland Urban Utilities (QLD), South East Water Ltd (VIC), and Hunter Water Corporation (NSW). Monash University led the research on the project, supported by University of Technology Sydney and the University of Newcastle.

The six-year international collaboration has improved the prediction of pipe failure, reduced renewal and maintenance costs, and improved reliability and customer service. 


With over AU$500 billion of pipe assets in Australia, the UK and US alone, the project was designed to address the need of water utilities to predict when and where major failures of critical pipes would occur, as well as to come up with effective and long-term preventative solutions.

Sydney Water Project Leader Dammika Vitanage, who nurtured the project from inception to completion, says the success could be attributed to the quality of the collaboration. He says the key challenges were the innovation that was required to improve pipe failure prediction.

“The success of this significant innovation for the international water industry is due in large part to the fact that we assembled the world’s best project team, and to the leadership displayed by the collective water industry. Our prime focus was to undertake research which would lead to providing improved services to the customers of water utilities worldwide".

The project has also produced innovative models to predict the probability of pipe failure, verified through field case studies, a world-first calibrated model to predict the long-term exterior corrosion of cast-iron pipes, and enhanced interpretations of existing pipe condition assessment tool results through innovative machine learning techniques. It has also created unique research infrastructure, a 1.2 km long research pipe test bed and an automated pipe burst testing facility.