A Value Engineering Analysis of Head Loss in Pumping Mains

Andrew Cobbe, Rodney Mcdermott

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With net zero carbon emissions targets approaching over the next 20 to 30 years, the water industry must act now to develop energy efficient techniques and designs to reduce emissions and reduce the carbon footprint of water utility providers. There is also the potential for significant energy and therefore financial savings to be realised from the adoption of more energy efficient designs approaches. Water utility providers account for a significant proportion of national electricity consumption. The purpose of this research is to determine if, over the long term, opting for a larger diameter pipe at design stage can lead to significant financial and emissions savings for water utility providers when considering pumping mains. Pumping mains are widely used throughout the water and wastewater industry where a gravity solution is not possible. 72 hypothetical water main design scenarios were analysed and the long term financial and environmental impact of each hypothetical water main was assessed. It was found across all design scenarios that larger diameter water mains were capable of delivering the same rate of flow of smaller diameter pipes at a much reduced velocity and requiring reduced pumping power. It was concluded that pumped mains of larger diameters can ultimately be more energy efficient and cost effective over the long term when selected in favour of smaller diameter pumped mains in otherwise identical design scenarios
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-631
Number of pages19
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Dec 2022


  • value engineering
  • head loss
  • pumping main
  • pipe diameter
  • water main design
  • energy reduction


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