City West Water & VAPAR - Case Study
The Challenge & Opportunity
As one of three major water utilities servicing the Melbourne Metropolitan area, City West Water manages over 4,000 km of sewer pipes supplying the Victorian population.
The operations and maintenance demands required to operate such an expansive network are extremely challenging. Each year, City West Water proactively completes CCTV footage inspection on hundreds of kilometres of pipe infrastructure to ensure that asset condition is maintained, helping to avoid unplanned downtime and interruptions to the customers they serve.
Due to the large amount of labour resources required, water utilities are not able to audit all captured pipe CCTV footage internally, instead often relying on feedback from field teams, and triaging sections of networks based on structural and service condition grades.
Since structural and service condition grades are obtained via a manual process, the quality and standardisation of the data is variable. This can impact the flow-on analysis that the condition grades are used for, such as predictive analytics, program planning and cost forecasting.
As a leading Australian water utility with a commitment to practice innovation, City West Water sought to investigate a software-based solution which would allow them to improve the quality of their data by standardising condition grades obtained from inspection footage. This would allow them to form more accurate and effective planning for the maintenance and repair of pipe networks, delivering meaningful service improvements to their customers.
City West Water and VAPAR - Working Together
In June 2020, City West Water engaged VAPAR to explore an AI-based, automated CCTV review process which could deliver the standardised condition grades they desired.
In order to validate the effectiveness of the VAPAR platform, City West Water elected to run a pilot project to determine whether the VAPAR platform could deliver a suitable level of accuracy to support the guaranteed standardisation of the platform.
The Pilot Project involved the review of 235 CCTV files, representing ~14 km of City West Water pipe infrastructure, which was delivered on an entirely remote basis. Nearly 5,000 features were identified, with a comparable rate of accuracy on main defect identification compared to their traditional inspection process.
Since the pilot project, VAPAR and City West Water have continued to work together to develop innovative service solutions to benefit both utilities and their users. Through their involvement in a VAPAR pilot project, City West Water have proven that water utilities are able to use VAPAR as a way of automatically producing standardised condition score data, which can in turn help utilities to maintain the condition of assets more effectively.