broken pipe

Funding Much Needed Replacements of District Drinking Water Pipes

Platte Canyon Water & Sanitation District has over 76 miles of water mains ranging in diameter from 4” to 18”. Within this system is a substantial amount of cast iron pipe, which fails regularly and results in unplanned outages, property damage, and emergency repair costs.

The District has regularly developed an annual 10-Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to prioritize the replacement of water mains that experience regular failures, such as the 60-year-old cast iron pipe pictured above. In 2018, District staff set out to revise the CIP to recommend water main replacements more frequently than in the past. These recommendations were developed by using two factors – a probability of failure and a consequence of failure. These factors were applied to every water main in the District to develop a ranked list, with those water mains with the highest probability and consequence of failure being at the top of the list. This list was then used to create a CIP that accelerated the rate of water main replacement to the industry standard, which is 1% of the total system length per year.

The District’s Board of Directors believes this new approach to the CIP provides significant benefit to district customers and is considering several different options in order to fully fund the planned water main replacement projects.

Fully funding the 10-Year CIP allows us to be proactive rather than reactive when dealing with water main replacements as projects are prioritized so the water mains most in need of repair are replaced in a timely manner. It will also lead to reduced operation and repair expenses by avoiding costly unscheduled repairs and replacements of deteriorating water mains. Most importantly, the accelerated water main replacement program helps avoid unplanned water shutoffs in your neighborhood and reduces the potential for public safety, public health and property damage impacts.

Should you have any questions about the approach detailed in this article, feel free to contact the District’s Assistant Manager, Cynthia Lane, at