Thames Water plugs gap with IT

Feature

Thames Water plugs gap with IT

Thames Water is using a central project management system to locate and fix leaks as it embarks on a one-year, £3.9m programme to replace ageing water pipes across North London.

As the UK prepares for a summer of water shortages, the utility company has expanded its use of a Windows-based project management and planning suite called Open Plan from Deltek to help solve the problem of water wastage. Last July, Thames Water was officially criticised by regulator Ofwat for losing 915 million litres of water a day through leaks.

Open Plan will help the utility company to track water leakage, plan current and future projects, and create reports that include graphical maps.

“Ofwat requires certain outputs at certain times, showing, for example, that a certain length of pipe is in the ground. They want to know that we are spending the right amounts of money, linked with how much customers are charged, and we need to demonstrate that at any time,” said Paul Smith, commercial manger at Thames Water.

Open Plan integrates with a large standalone database systems, which was written by a member of Thames Water’s IT department, and holds information on resources, contractors, timings, geographical areas and councils.

The database also holds information on the age of pipes and types of soil present in different areas, said Smith. It is used by around 50 people who are involved with the upgrade projects.

Open Plan also has an interface with Thames Water’s timesheet and corporate finance systems, which are “very old” and due for replacement next year, said Smith.

The system is supported by consultancy firm Accenture, as part of the five-year, £87m outsourcing deal signed with the utility company in 2002.

Thames Water will run between 10 and 20 projects simultaneously, with the projects centring on upgrading one of 1,000 areas of London, each of which have around 15km of pipe in them.

The current pipe replacement programme began at the start of April with the Hackney Downs area. The programme aims to replace 10% of London’s Victorian cast iron pipes with more durable plastic ones in the next five years.

 


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This was first published in May 2006

 

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