Halcrow helps Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water make informed decisions about pipe repair using @RISK from Palisade

Posted: Friday 5th November 2010

Risk analysis technology enables water company to deliver value and service to customers and meet OFWAT requirements.

Halcrow is using @RISK from Palisade to help Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water (BWHW) make informed decisions about pipe repair. Palisade’s risk analysis software, used in conjunction with Halcrow’s ‘cluster’ analysis tool, enables BWHW to identify areas of the water distribution network where targeted pipe replacement will result in the greatest benefits for customer service. This proactive and quantitative approach to risk analysis is crucial to meeting the stringent requirements set out by the water services regulation authority, OFWAT1 to provide good quality service at a fair price for consumers.

BWHW commissioned Halcrow, a leading provider of planning, design and management services for infrastructure development worldwide, to develop a risk-based model to consider and improve the capital efficiency of its water distribution pipe network replacement programme. The @RISK model combines the probability of pipe failures across the region with the consequential benefits of pipes not failing in the future. As a result, BWHW is able to make more informed decisions about targeting investment and is able to replace pipes that, should they burst, would have the most significant impact on the level of service it offers its customers as well as the direct costs incurred by the organisation.

BWHW provides about 150 million litres of clean drinking water every day to around half a million people. Tony Read, operations manager at BWHW explained: “Given the size of the infrastructure that we manage, the variety and age of the materials it comprises and the budgets available, we prioritise our pipe replacement programme to ensure maximum efficiency. Therefore, it is essential that we can be confident that we are achieving the best possible return on investment. Through deploying @RISK and using its own expertise, Halcrow has enabled us to meet the regulator’s requirements to use risk based planning. As a result, we have ensured that we can maintain our good record for providing good value and service to customers.”

To measure the likelihood of pipe failure, Halcrow developed an innovative software tool to identify ‘clusters’ of pipe failure which used a variety of inputs. These cover everything from the age of BWHW’s existing infrastructure, the materials used to construct the pipes and their size, to the type of ground in which pipes are buried, and weather patterns that might affect them such as temperature and rainfall. The model inputs for the consequences of pipe failure include impacts on customer service through lack of water or loss of pressure, as well as the location of amenities such as hospitals and other key users, which make a region a high priority for pipe replacement work. The likelihood of pipe failure and the consequences were combined in an @RISK model to prioritise the areas where risk reduction could be achieved most efficiently.

Alec Yeowell, asset management engineer at Halcrow, concluded: “Organisations such as BWHW are under public and regulatory pressure to demonstrate that they are operating efficiently and effectively. Having used @RISK for a variety of projects that require a versatile and robust risk analysis tool, it was an easy decision for Halcrow to use the software, added to our ‘cluster tool’, to meet BWHW's needs. Adding our cluster tool to @RISK has combined its powerful capability with the added benefit of being easy and intuitive to use which ensures that complex analyses can be communicated in a transparent and meaningful way. As a result, BWHW meets the risk-focused requirements of the regulator and ensures that it delivers value to customers.”

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