National Drones is helping Western Water to deliver efficiencies and improve the quality of their spatial asset register by locating and identifying ground assets such as hydrants, sewer pits and stormwater drains using aerial imaging, 3D mapping and geo-location.
Western Water is dedicated to finding innovative solutions using emerging and disruptive technologies to address challenges, new and old. Western Water is also working collaboratively with other utilities and local Government stakeholders to explore efficiency opportunities across organisations
A common problem for water authorities is maintaining the completeness and accuracy of their asset register and spatial database. In many cases asset locations may be incorrectly located, or missing altogether, which impacts ability to plan and manage assets adequately, and increases the risks of unplanned events.
Assets such as sewer pits and stormwater drains are often located in residential backyards. This makes accessing and inspecting the asset costly and time consuming. In many cases it’s not possible to know if a householder has covered or built over an asset without a physical inspection. In addition, legacy registers typically lack important information about the location of adjacent non-water assets (e.g. energy, telco), which are critical to plan and reduce risks of water asset maintenance jobs.
Initial trails with Western Water have provided valuable data insights for the trial locations assessed to date. Over an initial area of 8.5ha (approximately 60 residential blocks) circa 120 ground assets were identified (both water and non-water). 31 ground assets not previously included in the GIS database were identified including storm water drains and pits. A number of fire plugs / hydrant locations were identified that were incorrectly located, or not present on the GIS datasets.
Whilst further work to cleanse the GIS datasets is underway, initial results identified a number of locations requiring field investigation to locate assets, or where asset location needs to be updated on the GIS database. In addition, 52 non-water assets were mapped including underground electrical pits and telco pits. Western Water have engaged National Drones to conduct lager scale trials.
“We are investigating new technology to ensure tasks reduce the OHS risk to our staff, minimise impact to our customers and deliver efficiencies within our business. We are working with National Drones to investigate any opportunities to deliver this.”
Dean BarnettManager Field Services & Network OPERATIONS – WESTERN WATER