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CRC unveils $3m water and sewerage pipes makeover research project

Australia’s water and sewerage pipes may soon be set for a new-aged makeover thanks to a $3 million research project into smart lining for pipes funded by the Cooperative Research Centre stream.

The project aims to foster collaboration with 31 global project partners, assessing new materials and technologies to help increase the lifespan of pipes.

Water Services Association of Australia Executive Director Adam Lovell said the research will help develop more cost-effective solutions to the ongoing maintenance of underground assets.

“Water utilities around the world manage water and sewerage infrastructure to provide the most essential of the essential services. In Australia we have over 260,000km of water and sewerage pipes – enough to go around the earth more than six times,” he said.

“Around 70% of it is underground and often forgotten – until there is a pipe burst under a major road. The inconvenience it creates is a growing issue in our busy cities and towns, but replacing kilometres of pipes is a very costly exercise.

“Many water and sewer pipes in our cities and towns are approaching the end of their life and to completely replace them can cost thousands of dollars per metre. Water utilities can potentially keep customer bills down by using new materials or new smart robotics and sensors in repairing pipes instead of replacing them.”

With Sydney Water providing industry leadership to the 10 Australian utility partners and the three international research partners, Sydney Water Networks Manager Gary Hurley said the utility looks forward to governing the project partnership.

“Three Australian universities [Monash, UTS and Sydney University] will provide the research and work in collaboration with the lining industry partners to improve specifications, standards, products and services,” he said.

“Sydney Water has almost 50,000km of wastewater and water pipes in our network and this project will help to prolong the life of these assets, which will help to deliver an even more reliable water and wastewater service and lessen future customer disruption through reduced repairs and replacements.”

The overall project is valued at more than $24 million and is expected to position Australia as a global leader in smart water infrastructure design, engineering, testing and management.

Adam Lovell, along with Sydney Water's Kevin Young, Shoalhaven Water's Carmel Krogh, and Central Coast Council's Bileen Nel, will be speaking at the upcoming NSW Heads of Water Forum on 9 March. You can view more details here.

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