Mapping Underground Utility Infrastructure

Mapping Underground Utility Infrastructure

Nadine Buddoo | Utility Week

The vast web of buried infrastructure across the UK is a challenge for the utility sector. Against a backdrop of shifting policy expectations and regulatory uncertainty, utility suppliers are under pressure to maintain this underground asset base while demonstrating consistently high levels of efficiency, safety and service.

One of the key challenges for utilities tasked with managing buried assets is the dearth of accurate information about what is really going on below ground. Statutory records are often lacking reliable and up-to-date information, an issue made more problematic by the UK’s historic legacy of subterranean assets, from Roman sewers to Victorian drains.

Nicole Metje, a co-investigator of the Assessing the Underworld project, which is part of a 25-year initiative to make streetworks more sustainable, describes the maze of underground assets as chaotic. “We probably only accurately know where 50 per cent of our buried infrastructure is. Of the 50 per cent that we don’t know, it could be that they are only a few centimetres out or it could be metres out. That’s the background challenge that we’re facing,” she says…(Read the full story)

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