Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


The Future For Water Pipes

For over 6,000 years, humans have built pipes in order to carry water from one place to another. Over this time, there have been many iterations of water pipes. 6,000 years ago, there were clay pipes used in the Indus River Valley. 4,500 years ago, copper pipes were used within Egypt. Nowadays, in the United States, there are several different types of pipes used.

Since the 1820’s, steel pipes were widely used in buildings with a longevity of 85 years. While sturdy, these steel pipes were increasingly at risk of corrosion, which could detract from the estimated longevity. As such, these steel pipes are known to be difficult to repair and replace. On top of that, they are also the most expensive, when compared to the later innovations upon pipes.

A little over a century later, piping innovation finally came in the form of Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipes (PCCP). These pipes have slightly longer longevity, but with an increased risk of premature failure and pipe ruptures. Therefore, 13 years after, Ductile Iron Pipes (DIP) helped bridge the gap between PCCP longevity and steel pipe reliability. This innovation also didn’t come without a cost, as DIP’s are resource intensive creations. Even when you thin out the pipes to use less resources, this drastically drops to a lifespan of 11-14 years.

Aside from longevity and practical applications for these pipes, there are serious negative externalities involved with pipes that are improperly maintained. For example, the CO2 emissions involved with manufacturing CO2 are 64% larger than manufacturing PCCP. There can be health concerns as well. Corroded DIP’s have been linked to kidney damage, bone damage, liver damage, and developmental delays in infants. They even stunt plant root growth by as much as 42%.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Fortunately, the 1960’s brought about the Hobas Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer Mortar (FRPM) pipes. They hold the longest lifespan amongst piping systems, with a longevity of 150+ years. Additionally, they can be utilized for new water mains or supplanted onto existing pipelines to provide an additional 150+ years with minimal disruption. In addition, they have the lowest carbon footprint of any type of water piping system.

But, in recent years, there has been a push to increase conscientiousness of the water pipes used. February 20th of 2024, the Federal Government announced funding to update municipal water infrastructure to the sum of $5.8 billion. There were several factors driving this financial aid package. Namely, significant water waste, emphasis on longevity, and environmental sustainability.

As of 2024, we lose over 9,000 swimming pools worth of treated water every day. This equates to 6 billion gallons lost in the U.S within only 24 hours. However, the plans to combat thew water waste are not intuitive. Only 0.5% of the national water piping infrastructure is replaced each year, or 200 years to fully update drinking water pipes every cycle.

This long process makes it clear that 2 things need to happen: we need to make pipes last longer and we need to speed up the replacement process. Fortunately, the latter is being taken care of with the $5.2 billion aid package. On the other hand, the former is neglected and long overdue for attention. We are 75 years into an infrastructure that is only designed to last 50. However, if we were to implement 150-year pipes, this can cut maintenance costs and prevent catastrophic collapses, such as sinkholes in roads and streets.

Lastly, piping infrastructure should be cutting carbon impact, not contributing to it. The replacement of these antiquated piping systems with Hobas’s FRPM could slash the carbon footprint of city sewers, culverts, and channels. In order to cut carbon costs and to keep the nation running smoothly, the Hobas Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer Mortar pipes are essential.

The Water Fiberglass Pipe – Yesterday, Today, and

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.