Forward thinking creates savings

Tuesday 5 September, 2023

Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is powering ahead with improvements to assets across its delivery networks to help create long-term savings.

The water corporation has thousands of modernised assets that are currently powered by lead-acid batteries.

GMW Strategy and Services Planning general manager Steven Abbott said that over the next five years, these batteries will be replaced with longer-lasting lithium batteries.

“In recent years, we have undertaken significant research and testing of lithium batteries to determine if we could benefit from their use,” he said.

“When our water delivery network was modernised, lead-acid batteries were the most cost-effective option. However, the price of lithium batteries has dropped significantly since then, making them a far more viable option.”

GMW has trialled lithium batteries in its flume gates and service points and found they last two to three times as long as lead-acid batteries.

As the lead-acid batteries GMW is currently using in its assets reach the end of their life cycle, GMW will replace them with lithium batteries.

Mr Abbott said the long-term savings from this change would be substantial.

“Our delivery network has more than 10,000 remotely monitored service points and 6000 flume gates, all of which are at least partially battery-powered,” he said.

“The batteries in these assets need to be manually replaced by staff. Therefore, by switching to longer-lasting batteries, we will see a significant reduction in labour costs, in addition to the savings created by purchasing fewer batteries.

“Over the next 15 years, it will create savings of over $10 million.”

In addition to the financial savings, lithium batteries will improve the reliability of GMW’s assets.

The batteries are also smaller and weigh significantly less than their lead-acid counterparts, meaning they can be handled with greater ease and require less storage space.

GMW has already replaced approximately 500 of its lead-acid batteries with lithium batteries.

“It is a change we are delighted to be able to share with customers,” Mr Abbott said.

“As a non-profit corporation, our pricing is structured to recover the costs of the services we provide to customers, so decisions like this help us ensure we are providing our services at the best price possible.”