Home » Atkins software tool helps WaterAid project in Nepal

Atkins software tool helps WaterAid project in Nepal

by Mark Cantrell
a man working on a water pipe

Innovative software has helped speed up the delivery of a project to improve water supply and hygiene for thousands of people in Nepal.

Engineering and design consultancy Atkins, part of the SNC-Lavalin Group, deployed its NetCreate digital tool to automatically generate layout plans for more than 170km of new water pipe network.

Charity WaterAid’s Beacon Project aims to supply clean water to the fast-growing town of Lahan, in the south-eastern region of Nepal, which has a population of around 100,000 people.

Atkins carried out the work as part of support Anglian Water is providing for the charity’s efforts. By using its NetCreate tool, the consultancy was able to accelerate the network planning process.

NetCreate is described as an innovative digital process, which draws on global open-source or client-specific geographic information system (GIS) datasets to automatically create outline water networks on a repeatable basis, devising the shortest route from water sources to demand points.

According to Evita Widjaja, Atkins project manager, the project was broken down into two stages.

“Stage one was to develop high-level water supply networks in three wards that do not currently have any pipework, served by three water towers,” she said. “Stage two was to review the water supply layout for urban Lahan for an increased customer coverage.

“NetCreate was adapted to use the existing network as a starting point for the pipe routing to show which parts may need to be upgraded or extended to allow water supply to more customers. Key considerations including pipe routing optimisation, pressure management and actual [or] required storage capacities were highlighted as recommendations in further design stages.

“The final result was that four scenarios with different assumptions were processed through NetCreate, showing its flexibility with standardised data. By using NetCreate we were able to generate more than 170km of high level water network in just three months.”

In the first stage, 73km of pipework with diameters up to 315mm was generated for over 15,000 people in three rural wards. Scenario testing of additional storage to the east of the river crossing was assessed for increased resilience, and resulted in better pressure management opportunities.

In stage two, 99km of pipework with diameters up to 500mm was generated to serve over 42,000 people in the urban wards by 2030, compared to the existing 66km-long network currently serving approximately 14,000 people. Geospatial analysis for recommended network expansion or pipe upsizing were also undertaken, Atkins said, to provide added value for Anglian Water and WaterAid.

The output from NetCreate was then imported into proprietary modelling software to refine the hydraulic assessment.

Huge difference

Andy Taylor, Atkins’ digital transformation director, said: “This is a really important project for the people of Lahan, and it’s a great example of collaborative working with Anglian Water and WaterAid to help deliver high-level water network layout plans for the most essential services, by using our latest digital tools.

“The Beacon Project will make a huge difference to peoples’ lives in Lahan, and Atkins is extremely pleased to be able to support it in this way.”

WaterAid’s Beacon Project was established in 2017 to bring clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene to everyone living in Lahan by 2030 – in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6).

James Gelsthorpe, senior system optimisation engineer at Anglian Water, said: “The insight the NetCreate tool and the NetCreate team has provided to The Beacon Project is incredibly valuable.

“This insight is a key foundation towards designing a new network for Wards 13,14 and 24 in Lahan; regions that do not currently have a piped water network. The outputs will enable the Beacon team to develop a network more effectively than using conventional manual methods.”

Hannah Gray, Beacon Project UK programme manager at WaterAid, added her thanks to the Atkins team for providing the use of its NetCreate tool.

She said: “The outputs generated from NetCreate will help our partner, the Nepal Water Supply Corporation, to efficiently target their limited resources to provide clean water to people that currently don’t have access to a reliable and safe supply.”

Image credit: muratart/Shutterstock

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