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Printer Friendly VersionSelected Information - Proposed Research

CP565  Global Trunk Mains Resilience Forum and Toolkit Asset Management

Trunk mains are a critical asset, but without proactive management they pose a risk to resilience in the water industry. This project will provide a forum for practitioners, as well as delivering a toolkit to ensure cost effective investment in these assets.


Trunk mains are the arteries of the water supply network. They are integral to ensuring water quality, and a safe and continuous supply of water to distribution networks, and onto customers. There are, however, many kilometres of trunk main assets where little information about them or their condition is known, and leakage from trunk mains networks is highly uncertain.

In the last 14 years, since the last guidance on managing trunk mains was produced by WRc there have been technological and regulatory changes, as well as a vast increase in availability of data. Answering a number of key questions would now, and sharing knowledge and best practice between companies would enable trunk mains assets to be managed more effectively.


The outputs from this project will equip water companies to manage the trunk mains network to minimise risk of failure in a cost-effective manner. Specific benefits from effective management include:

  • Better targeted leakage detection activity allowing more efficient operational spend.
  • Improved accounting for leakage on the Trunk Mains network.
  • Improved leak detection results from correctly selected technologies getting to targets faster and at a reduced cost.
  • Improved understanding of trunk mains condition through use of correctly selected tools.
  • Proactive interventions to improve resilience of trunk mains and reduce the risk of service failure.


WRc will consult with participants to ensure that the 'wish list' of questions that need answering is comprehensive. These may include:

  • What is the natural rate of rise from Trunk Mains?
  • What is the relationship between asset failure and service failure on Trunk Mains?
  • What options exist for detecting leaks or condition assessment on different areas of the trunk mains network, and how do I pick the right solution?

We will draw upon our extensive knowledge to produce comprehensive guidance. It is anticipated that the outputs of the project, rather than a printed document, will be interactive - either as an interactive pdf, a mini-website or application that allows users to easily search for information and find answers to questions.


The last guidance on managing trunk mains was produced in 2002 by WRc, whilst there have been updates to individual components over recent years, no-where pulls this together and considers trunk mains holistically. Being a part of the development of the trunk mains resilience toolkit will provide confidence that you are equipping yourself to manage the Trunk Main network in the most cost-effective way to ensure resilience. WRc have extensive knowledge of trunk mains assets accrued through years of monitoring and surveying trunk mains, as well as handing and analysing data from these assets.

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

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