This observation was shared by the Assises de l'eau on the French territory, which drew up an alarming report, confronting French local authorities with a wall of investment in the years to come. Water networks and infrastructures are constantly deteriorating and could end up being obsolete due to the lack of investment in this type of renovation in the medium to long term. Indeed, for many years, local authorities have often tended to focus on maintaining the serviceability of equipment through mainly curative interventions (repairs when failures or breakages occur), in the absence of a clear investment strategy for the medium - long term replacement. The problem postponed inevitably leads to an increasingly critical situation.
To rationalize investments that have become necessary, SUEZ Smart Solutions offers a multi-infrastructure decision support tool that allows future projects to be prioritized, thereby minimizing the risks and additional costs associated with unanticipated asset failures.
Many factors are responsible for the deterioration of assets. They may be subject to physical, chemical or climatic stresses, wear and tear, or intensive or inappropriate use. Local authorities must therefore make the right decisions on the maintenance of their assets, at the right time to maximize their use.
To do this, SUEZ provides them with Asset Advanced, a tool that combines its know-how in water and wastewater assets, as well as powerful decision-making models that help guide investments, thanks to genetic algorithms and a computing capacity made possible by High Parallel Computing (HPR). Multi-infrastructure and customizable, this management solution apply to plants and underground networks, but can also be applied to other types of infrastructure (urban cooling and heating networks, public lighting, road renovation, urban equipment replacement planning, etc.). It allows for the optimization of asset maintenance, the reduction of the risk of failure, finding the right OPEX/CAPEX balance, the reduction of investment costs, and the pooling of work while taking into account a large number of constraints that make decision-making more complex. The constraints may be hydraulic, carbon footprint reduction, minimizing disruption to roads, time constraints, reputation, political issues, etc.
A multitude of factors can be considered to guide investment programs and thus enable the various stakeholders (banks, local authorities, politicians, etc.) to make informed choices, and to help them place the cursor according to sometimes contradictory criteria in order to invest in the right place at the right time.
The Asset Advanced solution is the result of more than ten years of research. Each step of the implementation process uses algorithms to predict failures due to ageing infrastructure, to optimize the efficiency of investments by combining available budget, contractual requirements, local specificities and environmental protection.
The first step of the solution is data engineering, which allows the automatic import, structuring and processing of descriptive data and intervention history. A failure analysis is then conducted using a library of advanced failure models classified by equipment category to select the most suitable and efficient model according to the needs.
Then, a risk analysis is carried out thanks to the contribution of open data and environmental or hydraulic criticality analysis tools which allow prioritization according to the impacts (hydraulic, economic, social, environmental) of a failure. All this information entered the software leads to optimization, which sets a multitude of constraints (budget, planning, level objectives, hydraulic improvements to the network, etc.) to reach a financial compromise between the stakeholders to make decisions on asset management.
Asset Advanced then assesses the condition of the assets through a module that establishes an optimized sampling program, which will not only validate the replacement of equipment deemed obsolete by the ageing models, but also improve the knowledge of a system's assets by inspecting only a representative part of it.
Finally, geospatial grouping allows the creation of an adapted renewal program to organize the works in renewal sites.
To capitalize on this essential asset management information, the Asset Advanced viewer provides a map display, modelling the structural condition of the network and statistics on possible leaks, failures etc....
The largest water utility in the state of Colorado relies on Asset Advanced to plan and optimize its annual pipe replacement.
A comprehensive, dynamic and transparent water main replacement plan was provided, using all utility data and risk assessment, feasibility and return on investment calculations, creating value for Denver Water and enabling it to continue to provide an optimal level of service.
"The investment strategy for pipe replacement must be based on a tool that is transparent, auditable and repeatable. This tool should allow a multitude of scenarios to be considered to best meet the objectives and to help select the best investment projects. This is what led Denver Water to partner with SUEZ and rely on the integration of Asset Advanced software to select the right pipes to replace, thereby reducing the number of unanticipated breaks and optimizing the cost associated with the overall risk reduction strategy. Jaclyn Gorman, senior engineering specialist, Denver Water
Contact: Thomas Van Becelaere & Bertrand Vanden Bossche