GSP-YVW: Valve Position Status at Yarra Valley Water


Yarra Valley Water (YVW) is Melbourne’s largest retail water utility, providing essential water and sanitation services to more than 1.9 million people and more than 50,000 businesses across a 4,000-kilometre area, from Wallan in the north to Warburton in the east. YVW owns and operates approximately a combined 20,000km of sewer and water infrastructure, as well as wastewater treatment facilities.

Yarra Valley Water owns and maintains over 60,000 water valves in the supply network. In two areas of the network where Yarra Valley Water has taken ownership from a water trust or local authority, water valves with opposite thread to standard water valves were used, meaning that they open in an anti-clockwise direction instead of a clockwise direction.  In some cases, new standard water valves have been added to the non-standard network as replacements, creating confusion for civil water crews attempting shutdowns and sometimes causing water supply issues when valves have been unintentionally left shut. A device that could categorically determine the position status of all water valves would create invaluable work method and network efficiencies, resulting in reduced maintenance costs and improved customers service outcomes.

The section drawing below shows a sluice valve similar to those used in the YVW network. The main point of difference is that YVW valves are buried and do not have a handwheel. To operate the valve, a valve key is to be fitted to the spindle (top part of the stem) which allows the stem to be rotated either clockwise or anti-clockwise, thereby raising or lowering the disc (opening or closing the valve).

The thread on the stem can be machined to determine whether the valve will open with a clockwise rotation or an anti-clockwise rotation. With the valve disc enclosed there is no way to determine (see) if the valve is in the open or closed position without performing a shutdown. Where the valve open/closing direction is unknown, and where there are multiple valves in a shutdown, this may mean many combinations of opening and shutting valves are required to achieve the shutdown.


Develop a mechanical/electrical device that can determine the position status of a water valve.

The deliverables of this project are specified below:

  • Project Plan/Scoping document
  • Data/information collection
  • Industry and literature research
  • Develop proposed solution/s
  • Document all findings in a Project Report
  • Presentation on the Project Report


  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
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