Independent advice on a ‘digital twin’ for a water strategic system

The Challenge

Anglian Water’s Strategic Pipeline Alliance is delivering an ambitious plan to create a series of up to 500km of interconnecting pipelines and associated infrastructure to move water from areas of surplus in Lincolnshire down to the drier south and east of the region. It wanted to create and derive benefit from a ‘digital twin’ to support better design, fabrication, installation and commissioning; as well as to help with the operational management of the pipeline network in due course.

The Solution

Priestland Consulting was appointed as an independent adviser to the SPA Alliance, effectively acting as ‘critical friend’ on the development of digital twins. We helped articulate and clarify what the digital twin was trying to achieve; and developed a clear benefits statement that could be communicated effectively internally and externally. We constructively challenged the achievability of some of the plans; and made proactive suggestions for alternative and additional technology that could be used.

The Outcome

Examples of savings that the digital twin approach was able to deliver include:

• Design stage efficiencies led to 100km of pipeline removed, 20% reduction in diameter achieved and £3m Capex savings. • £4m saved on commissioning (plus reduced risk of overruns) from digital rehearsals.
• £650k Opex saving identified from reduced electricity and maintenance costs.

The SPA Alliance won the ‘Digitial Initiative of the Year’ at the 2021 British Construction Industry Awards for its Digital Twin.

what the client said

James Crompton, SPA’s Director, said: “Priestland Consulting brought the knowledge, skills and independence we needed to help kick-start our digital twin programme with clear purpose and outcomes based thinking. I recommend them highly.”


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