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Case Study - ARIavCAD analysis for Muranga water

How ARIavCAD helped a water supply utility in Kenya to remediate an airlock problem that had left 300 000 people with an unreliable water supply.




A water treatment plant in Kenya experiences a rapid drop in flow rate of over 50%

The treatment plant received its water via gravity feed from an intake 15km away, across hilly terrain. The plant serviced a population of 300,000 residents, who were growing increasingly frustrated because they were not receiving water.
The system was designed to deliver 11,000 m3/day, but about 3 years after the system was handed over, the flow rate rapidly declined to an average of just 7,000 m3/day. Initially the site engineers suspected that this drop in flow rate was due to siltation issues and hoped the flow would return to normal after the silt cleared up. But it didn’t. In fact, the flowrate dropped to an untenable 5274 m3/day, leading the site engineers to suspect that air lock in the pipelines was the root cause of the problem. With pressure mounting from customers, staff, and management, the site engineers uploaded their data into ARIavCAD and started analysis and troubleshooting with the A.R.I. Engineering Team.





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Analysis of the system in ARIavCADAnalysis of the system in ARIavCADand strategic replacement of air valves

The original air valves were in a poor condition and were prone to leaks, soThe original air valves were in a poor condition and were prone to leaks, sothe A.R.I. engineering team recommended replacing all 36 air valves in thesystem. However, due to budget constraints, the site could only replace 12valves.So, which of the 12 air valves should be replaced? This question wasanswered by the ARIavCAD Profile View of the system (Figure 1). Here, theengineers could identify the 12 most critical positions for the replacementair valves. ARIavCAD also specified the optimal, most cost-effective air valvemodels and sizes for the system.


A return to optimal flow rate – meaning significant cost savings and increased revenue for the utility

12 of the valves were replaced, and within two months, the flow rate had12 of the valves were replaced, and within two months, the flow rate hadincreased by an incredible 107% (see the improvement from Month 3 toMonth 5 in Figure 2). In this short space of time, the system was back todelivering the flow rate it was designed for. This was after only a third of thevalves had been replaced.By using ARIavCAD, the design engineers were able to implement a solutionthat fit within the utility’s budget and returned the system to the flowrate it was designed for within just two months. If you consider moredrastic solutions, such as replacing the pipeline, then the air valve solutionpotentially saved the utility millions of dollars – and the results were realizedalmost immediately.The web-based ARIavCAD software allowed for seamless collaborationbetween the members of the engineering team in Kenya and with the team. This resulted in faster decision-making and buy-in fromall stakeholders – a huge saving in time and effort. That’s not to mentionthe increased levels of motivation from the team after being involved in thissuccessful project.Perhaps most importantly, the increased flow rate meant that customerswere receiving the water they required. So, not only did the complaintsend, but the increased usage meant increased revenue for the utility – a truewin-win for all.


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