The Australian urban water industry welcomes the announcement today by The Hon Craig Laundy, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science of major funding for research into pipes. $3 million through the Cooperative Research Centres Project stream will fund research and innovation into the Smart Lining for Pipes.

Adam Lovell, Executive Director of the Water Services Association of Australia said, ‘Water utilities around the world manage water and sewerage infrastructure to provide the most essential of the essential services. In Australia we have over 260,000 kilometres of water and sewerage pipes – enough to go around the earth more than 6 times. Around 70 per cent of it is underground and often forgotten – until there is a pipe burst under a major road. The inconvenience it creates is a growing issue in our busy cities and towns, but replacing kilometres of pipes is a very costly exercise.’

‘Many water and sewer pipes in our cities and towns are approaching the end of their life and to completely replace them can cost thousands of dollars per metre. Water utilities can potentially keep customer bills down by using new materials or new smart robotics and sensors in repairing pipes instead of replacing them,’ said Mr Lovell.

The project will see collaboration across the globe with 30 project partners focusing on new materials and technologies to increase the life span of these assets. ‘We are especially pleased to be working with an extensive range of national and international partners, including SMEs. This will keep customer bills down and reduce the ‘inconvenience’ cost to the community,’ said Mr Lovell.

With limited budgets for asset replacements, the global water industry is required to do more with less; it needs to be more innovative to develop products to extend infrastructure “end of life”. The global market opportunity for smart lining products is significant, estimated at more than $60 billion over the next 10 years, assuming linings defer 10 per cent of pipe renewals. Australia represents 5 per cent of this market so expanding market opportunities for Australian SMEs offers huge potential.

The project is valued at a total of over $24 million and will strategically position Australia as a global leader in smart water infrastructure design, engineering, testing and management.

For more information please contact Sarah Mahar, Asset Management Program Co-ordinator on (03) 8605 7615 or sarah.mahar@wsaa.asn.au

6 Dec 2017

Sandi Kolbe

Sandi Kolbe

Communications Manager