World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development 2021

Wednesday 4 March is the first World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development. This year, we're sharing the great work engineers in ECMS are doing under the theme of: early warning and prevention.

The World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development was proclaimed by UNESCO at its 40th General Conference in 2019. It has been celebrated worldwide on the 4th of March since 2020. The day offers an opportunity to highlight engineers and engineering’s achievements in our modern world and improve public understanding of how engineering and technology are central to modern life and for sustainable development.

Pipe Break Early Warning and Prevention through Smart Water Technologies:

The ability to detect small and developing pipe cracks as a precursor to pipe breaks, also known as ‘bursts’, in a noisy major city has been considered impossible by water utilities around the world.

Hundreds of wireless accelerometers have been permanently installed in the Adelaide CBD water network as part of the Smart Water Network (SWN) initiative of SA Water. A research alliance between SA Water and The University of Adelaide (UoA) has formed since February 2017 on the operation and data analytics of the SWN. Researchers from our School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering and School of Mechanical Engineering are involved in this alliance on behalf of the university. 

Mark Stephens, a civil engineering graduate from the University of Adelaide, is leading this project on behalf of SA Water. SA Water’s main role is the sustainable provision of water and wastewater services to the public of South Australia.They also have a responsibility to support the prosperity and development of the state of South Australia through its custodianship of the water and wastewater systems.

Since July 2017, over 40 potential pipe breaks have been prevented, reducing the pipe burst rate by more than 50%. The method and system developed in this collaborative project has, for the first time, transformed pipe break management from reactive to preventative. The project has also generated new knowledge on how cracks evolve in aging cast iron water pipes. Reducing the amount of water wasted during pipe bursts is incredibly important. It helps minimise the effects of droughts and shortages while preserving our environment. 

World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development

The project outcomes have won a number of awards, including the Best Municipal Project and IoT Project of the Year at the 2018 Australian Internet of Things (IoT) Awards, and an International Award of a Bronze medal in the Smart Systems and the Digital Water Economy category ay the 2018 International Water Association (IWA) Project Innovation Awards in Tokyo, Japan.

The research outcomes have been presented at international conferences, including the International Conference on Water Distribution Systems and Analysis (WDSA) sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the International Conference on Computing and Control for the Water Industry (CCWI) sponsored by a consortia of UK universities.

Recently the work won the 2019 AWA South Australia Price for Research Innovation for SA Water Machine Learning Analytics for Proactive Pipe Leak Detection and Repair, SA Water and University of Adelaide

Tagged in Civil Environmental and Mining Engineering, Latest News and Achievements, electrical and mechanical engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering