Blog#1 | Saving water by NOT replacing pipes

So here I am. My double ice-skates have been tied tightly under my winter boots, standing behind the chair that was put in front of me on the ice of the small pond nearby. Encouraged by beloved ones who sincerely hoped I could make the first few meters without any support. Going forward slowly without falling. The exact same feeling I had 40 years ago when entering the ice-skating domain, I feel now entering the blog space. Just checked out Piers’ notes edition 186, which makes me very humble. But Piers must have started with edition 1 one day himself, so let’s kick ass here!

This week I heard about the remarkable results of Dutch drinking water utility Oasen in reducing leakages of their infrastructure network. Not the bare fact that they reduced their non-revenue water from 6,5% to the incredible low 4%, but the way they managed to do so. The first thing the asset engineers did was proposing to the management team that no more than 50% of the pipe replacements would be undertaken upon request or as a consequence of external reasons. Secondly, the asset management team replaced gut feeling and engineering practice by analysing data ánd including the objective desired by the board: reduce the NRW with 50%. In five years’ time they managed to identify the pipes that were (expected to) contribute maximally to the total NRW and ordered the maintenance crew to replace exactly those pipes. Objectively, supported by true, undisputed data. I am not sure if the approach of telling your external stakeholders you will no longer do everything you can to serve them is generally replicable, but truly inspiring in this case.

This example helped me to dive into the world of data science, asset management and GIS. Quite excited to widen my current knowledge of the digital domain, ie. shutting down Minecraft and Fortnite when the prepared dinner has been ignored too long by my children. Therefore, I’m very pleased and honoured that Arnoud Drevijn and Jurjen den Besten invited me to join their company Spatial Insight and explore the opportunities of data driven asset management in Europe.

Ignaz Worm, posted on