As we discussed in the August newsletter, the oldest pipes in the RMWD service area are over 60 years old and about half of the system of 325 miles of pipe is 50 years or older. Since pipelines are generally designed to last 50 years we are at a point where action is needed. Many of our customers have experienced water outages and traffic inconveniences due to water main breaks, and as the system ages this problem will get worse unless proactive approaches are taken to manage the aging system.
One solution would be to simply replace each pipeline as it hits the 50-year mark. While simple, this would be prohibitively expensive. Our system is worth about $400 Million so replacing the half of it that is over 50 years old is out of the question. Further, even though these pipes are 50 years old they are still providing an acceptable level of service. We will define the level of service as how often a pipeline breaks. Too many breaks means multiple outages, potential property damage, overtime and other costs for repair, etc. It is critical that we manage the performance of pipelines to keep the break rate in acceptable ranges.January 2018 Newsletter