Research led by Monash University wins Australian Water Award
The Advanced Condition Assessment and Pipe Failure Prediction (ACAPFP) project has won the 2016 Research Innovation Award, at the Australian Water Awards.
ACAPFP is a multi-million dollar collaboration between researchers at Monash University, University of Technology Sydney, and University of Newcastle, with two international partners and nine Australian water utilities, including Sydney Water. The project was launched in 2011, and has already garnered several other awards, although this is perhaps the most prestigious so far.
The Australian Water Awards were presented at a glamorous gala dinner in Melbourne, as part of the international OzWater conference and exhibition.
ACAPFP was one of six research projects shortlisted for the Research Innovation Award.
Professor Jayantha Kodikara from Monash University is the ACAPFP project’s Chief Investigator. “The project has produced excellent results, which is creating a paradigm shift in improving industry practice locally and around the world,” he said.
The project is also leading to significant benefits for the community, through sustaining water supplies, he added.
Dammika Vitanage, Asset Infrastructure Research Coordinator at Sydney Water, was at the event to accept the award. “This award is a tribute to the water industry’s customers around the world. We have translated this research into outcomes that create real and significant benefits to customers,” he said.
The main focus of the ACAPFP project has been the large, cast iron water pipes which are critical in water supply networks in Australia and around the world. Until now, it’s been very difficult to predict the life-span of these pipes, and what factors are responsible when water mains burst.
The results produced by the research are assisting water utilities to get the best possible data, to ensure that pipelines are only replaced near the end of their life, which provides significant savings.
Although the project is making a huge difference to Australian water utilities and the way they manage the maintenance of their pipes, the project also has international significance. Up to 70% of the world’s urban water supply is reliant on buried pipes, with water utilities in America alone estimating that the repair and replacement costs of their ageing infrastructure, inclusive of pipes, could reach into the billions of dollars over the next 20 years.