Application of a fully-integrated groundwater-surface water flow model in municipal asset management

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 9:45 AM
Lindsay Kathleen Bowman, Andre Unger and Jon P Jones, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada
Access to affordable potable water is critical in the development and maintenance of urban centres. Given that water is a public good in Canada, all funds related to operation and maintenance of the drinking water and wastewater networks must come from consumers. An asset management system can be put in place by municipalities to more efficiently manage their water and wastewater distribution system to ensure proper use of these funds. The system works at the operational, tactical, and strategic levels, thus ensuring optimal scheduling of operation and maintenance activities, as well as prediction of future water demand scenarios. At the operational level, a fully integrated model is used to simulate the groundwater-surface water interaction of the Laurel Creek Watershed, of which 80% is urbanized by the City of Waterloo.

Canadian municipalities typically lose 13% of their potable water through leaks in watermains and sanitary sewers, and sanitary sewers often generate substantial inflows from fractures in pipe walls. The City of Waterloo sanitary sewers carry an additional 10,000 cubic meters of water to wastewater treatment plants. Therefore, watermain and sanitary sewers present a significant impact on the groundwater-surface water interaction, as well as the affordability of the drinking water and wastewater networks as a whole. To determine areas of concern within the network, the integrated groundwater-surface water model also simulates flow through the City of Waterloo’s watermain and sanitary sewer networks. The final model will be used to assess the interaction between measured losses of water from the City of Waterloo’s watermain system, infiltration into the sanitary sewer system adjacent to the watermains, and the response of the groundwater system to deteriorated sanitary sewers or to pipes that have been recently renovated. This will ultimately contribute to the City of Waterloo’s municipal asset management plan.