Data Science Helps Raleigh Water Avoid Digging Up The Streets
Oct 13, 2021
Global water technology company, Xylem, has helped the City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department (Raleigh Water) get a clearer picture of its 2,340 miles of pipes, some of which are more than 100 years old. Accurately predicting which parts of the pipe network might fail helps Raleigh Water pin-point maintenance, avoid unnecessary digs and reduce water main breaks.
Combining Xylem sensors and advanced risk analytics with Esri location intelligence software, Raleigh Water achieved a far more accurate, predictive, and targeted view of its potential trouble spots. Deciding which water mains to replace took 75% less time than in the past, while also reducing unnecessary capital costs and water loss from pipe failures.
“Based on what we’ve seen with Xylem’s predictive modeling services, we are confident that replacing these mains is the best bang for the buck,” said Adam Haggerty, Asset Manager for Raleigh Water. “This is a game changer for us, and it is something we will be able to use for a wide variety of applications.”
“It’s a huge challenge to manage risk in a big pipe network,” said Rocio Echeverria, Vice President and General Manager at Xylem. “You have to predict failure in an asset you can’t see, knowing the pieces were built at different times in different ways. Get it wrong and you replace some pipes prematurely, while leaving higher-risk parts of the network in place. So, getting it right with advanced risk analytics gives the utility more confidence, saves the community money, and enables you to dig only when you have to.”
“This is a great result for Raleigh Water, demonstrating the power in combining geographic information system data with insight into the water network,” said Christa Campbell, Director Industry Solutions: Water, Esri. “We’re so pleased that, together, Esri and Xylem are bringing actionable new decision intelligence that delivers real savings by targeting work in the city where the need is greatest.”
Xylem Asset Performance Optimization analyzed the utility’s entire network, combining historical pipeline break data with information from Raleigh Water using Esri ArcGIS Enterprise. The resulting assessment identified the top 1% of at-risk pipeline segments, scattered throughout the city, based on their probability of failure. The team then clustered groups of at-risk pipes to be prioritized for more targeted preventative maintenance.
The data-driven risk model also supports a city-wide initiative to increase racial equity by eliminating bias from selection of infrastructure projects. To date, Raleigh Water has planned six projects using the results of Xylem’s analyses. It estimates the work with Xylem has already saved the utility 75% of planning time while reducing risk to the network, decreasing response times, and lessening community impact of breaks that might occur.
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