Using Latest Technologies to Maintain Region’s Water Infrastructure
The Water Authority operates and maintains a regional water delivery system capable of delivering more than 900 million gallons of water per day. The system consists of 310 miles of large-diameter pipeline, 1,600 aqueduct-related structures, and approximately 100 metering/flow control facilities. It also includes a state-of-the-art water treatment plant, hydroelectric facilities, pump stations, flow regulatory structures, and a dam with a 24,000 acre-foot reservoir.
Portions of the Water Authority delivery system are several decades old. As assets naturally age, it is critical to actively replace and repair them to minimize service impacts to member agencies or the public.
The asset management team uses the latest inspection technologies to detect age-related defects that might be occurring on pipelines and other water conveyance facilities. By identifying defects early, they can often be corrected using localized, low-cost repair methods prior to them becoming larger, more costly issues. Below are examples of the innovative technologies used by the asset management team.
The asset management program’s mission is to rehabilitate assets before problems occur that cause disruptions in service. The program also seeks to extend the life of assets in good condition.
Water Authority staff maintain a comprehensive inventory of all assets, which includes detailed information about location, condition, performance and useful life. Routine assessments include visual inspections, internal/external inspections, steel thickness measurements and real-time cathodic protection data.
In addition, the Water Authority uses the most current technologies for monitoring large-diameter pipelines, including electromagnetic scanning, which detects and locates damaged areas within pipeline walls, and real-time acoustic fiber-optic monitoring, which can detect and locate distress on pipelines while they are in service. Recently, the asset management program identified several large-diameter pipeline sections that were nearing the end of their service life. Rather than abandoning or replacing the pipelines, the Water Authority has been actively repairing them by inserting steel liners. This extends the life of the pipeline without major disruptions to the local community and reduces the cost of replacement.