Keeping water off main roads and living room floors

Preventing disruption in the community by pinpointing high-consequence watermain sections for replacement.

Hunter Water’s heritage assets have served the growing region in New South Wales for over 100 years.

Our Client
Hunter Water


Asset value


To ensure they can serve their community well into the next century, Hunter Water needed to identify high-consequence and high-risk sections of their ageing network of pressure water mains.

With such a large system of pressure water mains, breaks are a common occurrence throughout the network. Whilst the majority of the breaks are relatively minor, there are about one to two breaks per month where significant failures are experienced, requiring additional operational support to manage service interruptions, traffic, property damage or other impacts.

While costs to the community from asset failure have been assessed to varying extents previously, the accuracy of such assessments have been limited to generalised assumptions by pipe and land use. There was a need to address these uncertainties and gain understanding of how to best manage the risks associated with pipeline rupture.

Critical Hotspots Identified

Quantified consequences of critical failure at 5m intervals of the 250km (155 miles) trunk water mains. Hotspots showed where instantaneous flows exceeding 5,000L/s (1300 gal/s) could occur.

Street Level Accuracy

Innovative GIS and machine learning processes analysed local topography to simulate and track the impact of water main failure through streets, buildings and other structures.

Five-Year Break Location

The intuitive dashboard allowed non-technical users to interrogate the data over time for preventative works to reduce risk of failure.

“In the past we’ve waited for events to happen and then reacted to them.

This gives us the opportunity to understand which locations are the most critical… to invest more effectively in our infrastructure and ensure that the big events we’ve had in this region don’t happen again.”

Ian Hiles, Hunter Water
Manager Civil Asset Planning

Dependable planning for infrastructure maintenance

Through this project, Hunter Water has:

—   A reliable understanding of the community impact in the case of a watermain failure, focusing on residential areas and major roads

—   Greatly improved asset planning for their ageing network by pinpointing specific locations with the highest risks of critical failure

—   Maintained community expectations for dependable water services in the Hunter Valley area

Find out more about this project here or get a customized solution from GHD today.