Title PM4WAT - Preventive Maintenance for Water Utility Networks
Project Number 502419-LLP-1-2009-1-GR-LEONARDO-LMP
Project Type Development of Innovation
Country EU-Centralised Projects
Today most public water utilities carry out maintenance on their networks only when a catastrophic breakdown occurs. This logic dictates that it costs more to regularly schedule downtime and maintenance than it costs to operate the network until breakdown at which time rehabilitation becomes absolutely necessary. Unreliable service and customer dissatisfaction are inevitable, to say nothing of the significant water losses and revenue due to leakage or pipe rupture.
The reliability of an urban water distribution network can however, be improved significantly by adopting a systematic strategy of replacement of worn components. This is the essence of pre-emptive or Preventive Maintenance (PM) which is aimed at the prevention of breakdowns and major failures before they occur. The essence of preventive maintenance is thus to prevent failures of components before they actually occurs. To take advantage of such procedures, water utilities must have accurate topological records of the network, the age, the type of materials used in the branches of the network and complete maintenance records.
Public utility networks, whether water distribution or wastewater can be very complex and systematic PM is essential to save valuable natural resources and reduce lost revenues. An effective and efficient PM schedule is possible only if the personnel of a utility are well trained and cognizant in the field. This cannot be claimed today by any utility. The consequences of not applying these methods are poor quality of service and a lack of preparedness for the case of major hazards.
It becomes imperative today to train maintenance personnel in state of the art PM and take advantage of new methodology for assessing the condition health and reliability of a municipal water distribution network.
It is proposed to develop an innovative web-based platform and courseware for VET on modern practices on preventive maintenance of urban water distribution networks. Improved maintenance, increased reliability, decreased disruption of service and increased lost revenues are envisaged. The proposed training program involves
•a theoretical part which includes web-based courseware developed. This part will cover the basic principles of PM, benefits, limitations, organizational aspects, etc. The platform will provide flexible and friendly authoring mechanisms, self-teaching and assessment capabilities, course and trainee management. Courses will also be made available as stand-alone multi-lingual multimedia applications on a CD.
• a practical part for off-line use which involves software that integrates Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Reliability Analysis (RA) and Database Query (DQ) to determine how ageing and natural hazards affect the reliability of the network under different environmental conditions. The new system will be adapted from a prototype that was developed in an earlier FP5 project, entitled SEISLINES, and will use real data from a medium sized urban water distribution utility. The system will offer the trainee suggestions on how best to rehabilitate the network and compute the associated cost. The trainee will also be able to examine the effects of different scenarios and learn the most appropriate rehabilitation procedures in case of a natural hazard.
The critical objectives of this proposal are therefore to i) provide state of the art training on PM practices, ii) provide training on pro-active rehabilitation and iii) the effects of natural hazards. This is especially relevant for personnel in earthquake-prone regions. The partners will fuse their national experiences and practices to produce a unified curriculum definition, a library of learning content and specifications of the web-based training course. The subject of the course will include conditions, criteria and guidelines for PM.
Most urban water distribution networks involve pipe sections that have been subjected to fatigue, corrosion and damage due to settlement, soil erosion, leakage, earthquakes and ageing. As a consequence, the structural resistance, reliability, robustness and resilience of the network vary widely throughout the network. The principal objectives of the project are to create an innovative VET training programme that will:
• transfer state of the art PM methodologies to personnel of urban water distribution networks from domain experts from the participating countries
• develop a simulation platform that will integrate GIS, Database Queries and Reliability Analysis to advise the trainee on the reliability of the overall distribution network and examine ‘what-if’ scenarios. This platform is the basic training tool on which trainees will be trained on how best to deal with different practical problems.
• develop a curriculum for systematic PM of urban distribution networks. The curriculum will be accompanied by web-based learning material, localized for the different participating countries
• develop courseware and off-line educational material that will allow access to specific topics of the training programme.
Open and distance learning
Sectors Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities
program or curricula
material for open learning
open and distance learning
The end-product will consist of a multilingual web-based courseware that can be used in training programs of PM by the end-user partners for the training of personnel and engineers responsible for the maintenance of urban water networks.
The courseware will be made available on the web as well as off-line in the form of CDs in 4 different languages (English, Greek, Italian and Turkish). The second product is the training simulator that will also be made available on a CD, accompanied by a user manual and will allow ‘what-if’ scenarios thereby offering the trainee the possibility of examining ‘worst case’ scenarios that he hopes never to meet in practice.
The products of the project will have universal applicability and there are no apparent organizational or legislative barriers to its dissemination.