Western Water & VAPAR Case Study

The Challenge & Opportunity

Western Water have completed CCTV condition inspections of significant parts of their wastewater network since 2014. While the worst condition pipes had been identified and repaired, there remained almost 40 km of inspected pipes where the risk was not easily quantifiable due to the available data and the way it was structured. 

VAPAR presented a proposal to the Western Water Reliability Team to use our artificial intelligence algorithm to quickly process this large dataset and present the inspection results along with consequence of failure data. This methodology provided a risk-based framework to convert a large pipe dataset into distinct risk cohorts to provide outputs that will allow more informed decision making for budget allocation and developing rehabilitation programs. 

Project Snapshot

Approximately 38,000 m of wastewater pipe footage assessed. 

More than 15,000 pipe features and defects identified and categorised using AI. 

Collaboration between VAPAR & Western Water to quantify likelihood and consequence of failure. 

Risk-based prioritisation resulted in a $2M refinement of the initial priority program estimate. 

About the Client

Located northwest of Melbourne, Australia. 

Services ~75,000 properties with a wastewater network of 1,500 km. 

Merged with City West Water in July 2021 to form Greater Western Water. 

Western Water and VAPAR - Working Together

Most of the inspection footage uploaded had been categorised with a structural grade of 4 and varying levels of service grading. There was not a high level of confidence that these grades alone provided the optimum method of planning future works. The time, cost, and resources required to review years’ of videos scored by a wide range of people and companies was the primary challenge. 

VAPAR used a combination of automated and advanced auditing to provide consistent scoring and defect analysis options through the VAPAR.Solutions™ platform. All pipes went through VAPAR’s renewal recommendation module that uses smart logic to provide consistent recommendations based on specific pipe defect categories. Recommendations can include relining, patching, root treatment, jetting, or a combination of these measures. 

A collaborative workshop between Wester Water and VAPAR  defined the consequence of failure and aligned the results with the Wester Water’s corporate risk matrix. These outcomes were then used to define risk cohorts in the dataset. The result allowed for more detailed inputs to be considered and improved budget estimates for targeted future capital works directly informed by risk. Approximately $2M was saved from the previous capital works program estimate that was based on the available summary data prior to analysis using VAPAR. 

What's Next?

Western Water (now Greater Western Water) have more accurate condition data to plan their future budgets. High risk assets can be placed on the first rehabilitation programs and lower risk pipes that were inspected prior to 2016 will undergo another inspection due to the potential for deterioration since last available data. 

Inspection reports, images, videos, and associated condition data is now readily accessible in a single location for their engineers and project managers to track the progress of the associated upcoming work. 

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