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A two-time-scale point process model of water main breaks for infrastructure asset management

Lin, Peiyuan, Yuan, Xian-Xun
Water research 2019 v.150 pp. 296-309
Markov chain, assets, case studies, data collection, infrastructure, models, prediction, public water supply, risk, water distribution, Canada
Deterioration modelling has been a bottlenecking step towards risk-informed asset management of municipal water distribution networks. To close the gap, we proposed a two-time-scale (TTS) point process model on a pipe level for modelling and prediction of water main breaks. This paper presents the characterization, statistical parameter estimation, probabilistic features, and application of the model. Combining Poisson and renewal models into one, the proposed TTS process is characterized by a conditional intensity function of two time variables—one in a pipe clock for overall pipe aging and the other in a repair clock for local renewal. As a result, different aging patterns including the complicated bathtub-type behaviour can be modelled. A novel statistical method that combines data augmentation and Markov Chain Monte Carlo was developed for model estimation to deal with partially missing event histories. A case study using real-life data collected from a regional municipality in Canada was presented to illustrate the application of the proposed model. The modelling process ranging from model estimation, verification, validation, and updating to application in asset management was thoroughly demonstrated. This study also demonstrated that one must use the full distributions of the parameters to obtain an unbiased prediction of mean number of water main breaks. The proposed model was also compared with the Poisson process model in terms of break intensity, survival probability, mean cumulative number of breaks, and mean annual number of breaks. The implications of the different results to asset management were carefully discussed as well. Last, the ability of the proposed model to capture the maintenance effectiveness of pipe repair was proven. This work represents a solid advancement towards holistic assessment of the aging risk of a municipal water distribution network.