Research Assistant, University of Waterloo
A decision support tool enables water utilities to develop long-term financially sustainable plans.
Water distribution and wastewater collection networks have been in service for more than a century in the majority of the cities in Canada. Although “out of sight” infrastructure might often be “out of mind”, the functionality of these city arteries greatly influences public health. Lack of effective maintenance and proactive renewal plans may increase the incurred costs of water infrastructure systems drastically until they cannot be covered by water fees. Management of aging water infrastructure systems with limited financial resources requires comprehensive asset management plans that help decision-makers minimize the total life-cycle cost of their assets while enhancing levels of service. A viable asset management plan should incorporate a Strategic plan (10+year), to set the policies and strategies; Tactical plan (2-10 years), to develop renewal programs; and Operational plan (1-2 years), to establish renewal projects. An effective dynamic communication among planning levels is critical to share and exchange information, and, thus promote alignment of their respective objectives. This research will develop an Integrated Water Infrastructure Asset Management (IWAIM) model comprised of strategic, tactical and operational plans to (1) align corresponding objectives; (2) share and exchange their information; and (3) optimize the allocation of financial resources. The proposed research will make several noteworthy contributions to the body of knowledge for water distribution and wastewater collection networks: (1) The development of an integrated strategic-tactical asset management planning model to build R&R programs with aligned objectives; (2) The development of an integrated strategic-tactical-operational asset management planning model to build R&R programs and establish R&R projects with aligned objectives; (3) The development of an optimization model to select, group, and schedule optimal R&R activities; (4) The novel integrated infrastructure asset management decision-support tool that enables water infrastructure system stakeholders to make optimal decisions in compliance with various regulatory and legal mandates.
Abstract: Accurate prediction of municipal water demand is critically important to water utilities in fast-growing urban regions for drinking water system planning, design, and water utility asset management. Achieving the desired prediction accuracy is challenging, however, because the forecasting model must simultaneously consider a variety of factors associated with climate changes, economic development, population growth and migration, and even consumer behavioral patterns. Traditional forecasting models such as multivariate regression and time series analysis, as well as advanced modeling techniques (e.g., expert systems and artificial neural networks), are often applied for either short- or long-term water demand projections, yet few can adequately manage the dynamics of a water supply system because of the limitations in modeling structures. Potential challenges also arise from a lack of long and continuous historical records of water demand and its dependent variables. The objectives of this study were to (1) thoroughly review water demand forecasting models over the past five decades, and (2) propose a new system dynamics model to reflect the intrinsic relationship between water demand and macroeconomic environment using out-of-sample estimation for long-term municipal water demand forecasts in a fast-growing urban region. This system dynamics model is based on a coupled modeling structure that takes into account the interactions among economic and social dimensions, offering a realistic platform for practical use. Practical implementation of this water demand forecasting tool was assessed by using a case study under the most recent alternate fluctuations of economic boom and downturn environments.
Pub.: 18 Feb '11, Pinned: 17 Aug '17
Abstract: Water utilities particularly in the developing countries continue to operate with considerable inefficiencies in terms of water and revenue losses. With increasing water demand and scarcity, utilities require effective strategies for optimum use of available water resources. Diverse water loss reduction options exist. Deciding on which option to choose amidst conflicting multiple criteria and different interests of stakeholders is a challenging task. In this paper, an integrated multi-criteria decision-aiding framework for strategic planning of water loss management is presented. The PROMETHEE II method was applied within the framework in prioritizing water loss reduction options for Kampala city. A strategic plan that combines selective mains and service lines replacement and pressure management as priorities is the best compromise based on preferences of the decision makers and seven evaluation criteria characterized by financial-economic, environmental, public health, technical and social impacts. The results show that the most preferred options are those that enhance water supply reliability, public health and water conservation measures. This study demonstrates how decision theory coupled with operational research techniques could be applied in practice to solve complex water management and planning problems.
Pub.: 05 Aug '11, Pinned: 17 Aug '17
Abstract: Water services are a strategic sector of large social and economic relevance. It is therefore essential that they are managed rationally and efficiently. Advanced water supply and wastewater infrastructure asset management (IAM) is key in achieving adequate levels of service in the future, particularly with regard to reliable and high quality drinking water supply, prevention of urban flooding, efficient use of natural resources and prevention of pollution. This paper presents a methodology for supporting the development of urban water IAM, developed during the AWARE-P project as well as an appraisal of its implementation in four water utilities. Both water supply and wastewater systems were considered. Due to the different contexts and features of the utilities, the main concerns vary from case to case; some problems essentially are related to performance, others to risk. Cost is a common deciding factor. The paper describes the procedure applied, focusing on the diversity of drivers, constraints, benefits and outcomes. It also points out the main challenges and the results obtained through the implementation of a structured procedure for supporting urban water IAM.
Pub.: 31 Oct '12, Pinned: 17 Aug '17
Abstract: To overcome the difficulties of strategic asset management of water distribution networks, a pipe failure and a rehabilitation model are combined to predict the long-term performance of rehabilitation strategies. Bayesian parameter estimation is performed to calibrate the failure and replacement model based on a prior distribution inferred from three large water utilities in Switzerland. Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and scenario planning build the framework for evaluating 18 strategic rehabilitation alternatives under future uncertainty. Outcomes for three fundamental objectives (low costs, high reliability, and high intergenerational equity) are assessed. Exploitation of stochastic dominance concepts helps to identify twelve non-dominated alternatives and local sensitivity analysis of stakeholder preferences is used to rank them under four scenarios. Strategies with annual replacement of 1.5-2% of the network perform reasonably well under all scenarios. In contrast, the commonly used reactive replacement is not recommendable unless cost is the only relevant objective. Exemplified for a small Swiss water utility, this approach can readily be adapted to support strategic asset management for any utility size and based on objectives and preferences that matter to the respective decision makers.
Pub.: 11 Dec '13, Pinned: 17 Aug '17
Abstract: The requirement to provide urban water services continuously while infrastructures are ageing, imposes the need for increasingly sustainable infrastructure asset management (IAM). To achieve and maintain adequate levels of service, the AWARE-P IAM methodology has been applied in collaborative projects launched by the National Civil Engineering Laboratory, in partnership with IST (Technical University of Lisbon), Addition (software company) and several water utilities. The objective of these projects is to support urban water utilities in the development, implementation and maintenance of IAM plans. To guarantee the success of IAM planning, following the AWARE-P IAM methodology, utilities are required to: consider that the infrastructure has system behaviour and lifespan is indefinite and guarantee the full-alignment of IAM planning with organisation objectives. By analysing the strategic and tactical plans of participating utilities, the proposed methodology principles are discussed and supported. The main innovation results from the implementation of IAM planning are also presented and discussed, including the challenges of setting up an IAM process, together with the major benefits and drawbacks that come up when developing IAM plans. The results were demonstrated by the effective implementation of 16 strategic and 14 tactical IAM plans by the participating utilities.
Pub.: 21 Oct '16, Pinned: 17 Aug '17
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