Pipe failure predictions in drinking water systems using satellite observations

André Marques Arsénio*, Prabu Dheenathayalan, Ramon Hanssen, Jan Vreeburg, Luuk Rietveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Soil deformation is believed to play a crucial role in the onset of failures in the underground infrastructure. This article describes a method to generate a replacement-prioritisation map for underground drinking water pipe networks using ground movement data. A segment of the distribution network of a Dutch drinking water company was selected as the study area. Failure registration data comprising 868 failures registered over 40 months and geographical network data were obtained from the water utility. Ground movement was estimated using radar satellite data. Two types of analyses were performed: cell and pixel based. For the cell-based analysis, asbestos cement (AC) pipes exhibited the highest failure rates. Older AC pipes were also shown to fail more often, whereas failure rates for PVC were the lowest. For the pixel-based analysis, ground movement was demonstrated to play a role in the failure of all materials combined. Therefore, a replacement-prioritisation map for AC was generated which combined ground movement data and pipe-age data. This method can be a beneficial resource for network managers for maintenance and continuous monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1102-1111
JournalStructure and Infrastructure Engineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • failure analysis
  • pipe networks
  • satellite observations
  • underground infrastructure
  • water supply


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