Europe would save at least €10 billion if it developed better location techniques and made more use of trenchless technology to improve the state of its aging pipe systems. That is the claim made by Jo Parker, a civil engineer who works closely with U.K. and other European water agencies.
Her message, delivered at the recent No-Dig Mediterranean Conference in Rome, Italy, says that disruptive and costly excavations of city streets are no longer sustainable and that urgent research is needed to improve knowledge of utility mapping and trenchless techniques for laying plastics pipes.
In the U.K. there are more than 1 million km of water, sewer, and gas pipes as well as cable networks. Even though they are buried, out of sight and thus out of mind, they need regular maintenance, repair, or replacement, she says. No-dig techniques would avoid costly and unnecessary disruption of [British] city streets and save more than €1.3 billion/yr in direct costs could be secured for the national economy by less disruptive, but only marginally more expensive, methods of working.
The conference reported that potable water leakage rates in Italy are currently as high as 42% and that installation of plastics pipes, and use of the no-dig technology, could fix the solution, but so far politicians have not responded to this challenge.[email protected]