Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Asset Management Tools


No-Dig Watermain Cleaning and Lining Technology


Water Main Condition Classification System


Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Asset Management Tools

Improved performance of water and wastewater buried infrastructure is recognized as an issue of strategic importance because it has strong environmental, social and economic implications. The Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technologies, in collaboration with the municipalities, has developed unique tools and techniques for effective, efficient and sustainable management of water and wastewater networks. The next-generation water and wastewater infrastructure management tools address the social, technical, and financial elements of asset management. Some of the salient features include:

  • Inventory: Tracking inventory of physical assets as they transit different condition grades due to inherent deterioration and rehabilitation/replacement interventions;

  • Maintenance Expenditures: Expected annual maintenance expenditures associated with pipes in various condition grades;

  • Rehabilitation Strategies: Impact of rehabilitation strategies on system service performance;

  • Financing Strategies: Formulation of different financing strategies such as ‘pay-as-you-go’, borrowing, building up/utilizing cash reserves, or a combination of these;

  • User Rates: Determining user rates under various financing strategies;

  • Water Demand and Conservation: Estimation of consumers’ average water demand as a function of user rates, annual flow volumes of supplied water and collected wastewater;

  • Annual expenditures itemized by operational and capital expenditures,

  • Annual operational expenditures further itemized by administrative, maintenance, water/wastewater treatment, and interest expenses,

  • Annual revenues, surplus or deficit;

  • Accumulated surplus or deficit;

  • Based on condition grades of pipes, calculation of water losses and extraneous flows; and

  • User friendly interfaces to quickly update the models with new data and create and explore various scenarios.


No-Dig Watermain Cleaning and Lining Technology

Cities and water utilities around the world are required to provide reliable, safe drinking water to domestic, industrial and institutional consumers while meeting increasingly stringent regulatory requirements and customers’ expectations. Tuberculation and scale formation is a common problem in the old, rusty metallic water pipes that supply drinking water to our homes and businesses. These defects compromise hydraulic and structural integrity of water pipes and create water quality and safety issues. “This is like clogged arteries and blood vessels in our bodies which can cause increased blood pressure and cut off blood supply to heart causing heart attack,” says Dr. Mark Knight of uWaterloo’s Civil and Environmental Engineering. “Similarly, tuberculation, scale formation, and corrosion cause catastrophic pipeline failures.” Every year our cities lose millions of litres of drinking water through breaks and leaks causing damage to properties and lost revenue. The city of Toronto alone experiences 1,400 water pipe breaks every year requiring millions of dollars to fix broken pipes not to mention inconvenience to businesses, consumers and public. According to the US National Research Council of the National Academies, the municipal water supply systems span over 2 billion kilometers – about 72% of them are made up of metallic pipelines. Hundreds of billions of dollars are required to rehabilitate or replace these pipes.

The uWaterloo’s Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technologies ( is at the forefront of finding timely and cost effective solutions for fixing drinking water pipelines’ issues. Dr. Mark Knight of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Rizwan Younis of the Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technologies, and Dr. David Johnson of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering in collaboration Envirologics Engineering Inc. are working on the development of an innovative trenchless technology for the rehabilitation of aging drinking water pipelines.

The technology (Tomahawk System and Spray-on Polyurea Lining) can renew deteriorated water distribution networks with significant cost and time savings compared to the traditional open-cut pipe replacement methods. The cities will be able to rehabilitate drinking water pipelines at a fraction of replacement costs and without digging city streets. The technology will enable “same day” rehabilitation and return to service for water pipes compared to pipelines’ replacement using open-cut (excavating streets) method which takes months to complete. “We are very excited to be part of this initiative,” says Denise McGoldrick, Director of Water Services at the City of Waterloo. “This technology will allow the city to extend the life of iron water pipes at a lower cost than existing technologies with significantly lower disruption to our customers and traffic.”  Expected benefits to Canada include the creation of manufacturing and construction jobs while improving water quality for domestic, industrial and institutional consumers. Furthermore, tremendous savings in terms of social costs (avoiding construction related traffic delays or road closures, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions) can be accomplished.

The financial support from Envirologics Engineering Inc., NSERC (Natural Science and Engineering Research Council), and OCE (Ontario Centres of Excellence is greatly acknowledged.


Water Main Condition Classification System

In 2014, recognizing the need for a standard condition assessment protocol for water distribution pipelines, the Water Research Foundation initiated a project entitled “Potable Water Pipeline Defect Condition Rating”. The project objective is to develop the framework and contents of a standard defect coding system for potable water distribution pipelines. The three main components of the proposed framework include: (1) a simplified, risk-based approach for preliminary prioritization of water mains for condition assessment, renewal, etc.; (2) defect coding and water main condition classification system; and (3) decision support system to determine, based on water main condition, when to rehabilitate, replace or to follow up with more rigorous condition assessment technique.

Municipalities and water utilities will benefit from the standardized approach for condition assessment and management of buried water mains. The defect coding system, an important component of this standardized approach, will serve as the basis upon which inspection-discerned distress indicators will be interpreted into pipe condition rating. The benefits include: (1) industry standard terminology, inspection surveys, and data format; (2) contractors’ quality assurance and quality control using certification programs; (3) water main inspection technology and software vendors using standard data format resulting in data portability; (4) standardized critically analysis enabling different water utilities to communicate using the same language; (5) development of data benchmarking performance indicators; (6) cost savings; and (7) decreased subjectivity, and high quality, consistent data.