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CP427  Economics of supply pipe leakage Leakage
Project Appreciation and Objectives

For many years companies have concentrated on reducing leakage in distribution mains and this has historically presented the most economic approach.

Whilst companies are now beginning to address other areas of leakage, there has been little change to the historic stance on supply pipe repairs and replacement. The approach is generally based on the customer reporting a leak and the leak being repaired or the pipe replaced, through a wide range of individual company policies. Under these policies the cost of repair or replacement may be borne by the customer, the water company, or via contributions from both parties.

Building upon a previous industry research, this project will provide a timely review of the economics of customer supply pipe repair and replacement options, to allow companies to optimise their policies, evaluate individual supply pipe options, and integrate supply pipes within an overall leakage policy.

Benefits to Clients

  • Supply pipe repairs and replacement based on robust economic analysis.
  • Justified supply pipe policies as an integrated element of leakage management.
  • Informed decision making for repair and replacement options for individual or cohorts of supply pipes.

Work Programme

  1. Gather information on company supply pipe repair and replacement policies and evaluate supply pipe leakage in relation to the policies.
  2. Review historic repair and replacement data to estimate failure rates in terms of location, material, repeat failures.
  3. Examine costs associated with supply pipe repairs and replacement based on a range of factors such as location, length, and material.
  4. Evaluate leakage and other benefits such as water quality and pressure.
  5. Develop cost benefit functions.
  6. Recommend optimal supply pipe policies.

Project Output

  • A full review of current supply pipe repair and replacement policies for all UK water companies that includes a comparison of performance against numbers of repairs, numbers of replacements, and leakage savings.
  • Lost benefit functions that cover the full range of benefits that could be attributable to supply pipes repairs and replacement. The functions will be described within the final report and made available in Excel format.
  • The derivation of an optimal economic policy for supply pipes.

Related WRc Work

  • Development of costs benefit tools for the water industry in support of PR09.
  • Standard Financial Analysis for leakage and serviceability driven schemes, 2007-2008.
  • Development of least-cost planning models, ongoing.

WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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