A well-functioning sewer is vitally important, but as a small municipality, how do you make sure that management does not cost unnecessary effort and money? Researchers from the Data Science and Asset Management professorships worked with Zeeland's sewer managers to design a decision-support system: Riobase.

This allows them to manage their sewer systems based on risks and data. This ensures a uniform way of sewer management, saves unnecessary work and resources are used more effectively.

The Riobase project was made possible in part by a RAAK grant from Regieorgaan SIA.

Replacement value

In the Netherlands there are some 100,000 kilometers of sewers with a total replacement value of about 60 billion euros. A substantial portion is at the end of its lifespan. Under the influence of climate change and large-scale work in the subsurface (energy transition), the complexity of the replacement task is increasing. In addition, today's society demands transparent use of government resources, including for effective and efficient sewer management.

Municipalities and the water board are responsible for management. So far, most sewer managers work on the basis of their knowledge and expertise. Each year, a different part of the systems in the thirteen Zeeland municipalities is up for maintenance based on inspection images.


With Riobase, HZ University of Applied Sciences, the thirteen Zeeland municipalities, Evides Waterbedrijf and Waterschap Scheldestromen have committed to increasing the quality of task performance.A large municipality like Rotterdam has been working in a risk-based manner for years. The basic principle here is that the sewer always works and that maintenance only takes place when it is really necessary. This saves unnecessary work and costs. Such a risk-based way of working is difficult for small municipalities, where often one or two people are responsible for sewer management. They are usually not specialists and have too many other tasks on their plates to focus on sewer management. A survey of sewer managers in Zeeland a few years ago showed that they too want to start risk-based management as soon as possible.That is now possible with Riobase.

During the project, a system was created that makes sewer management simpler, more efficient and effective for small municipalities.There is a framework and a toolbox of tools and techniques that allow smaller municipalities to manage their sewer systems based on risk and data.


The project began in two municipalities. The findings were then validated in two other municipalities, and the system was then deployed to the remaining nine Zeeland municipalities.In the background, the HZ was always available to help where needed and to think along.

It is an intensive collaboration, but we hooked everyone up and they all stayed hooked.As a result, the knowledge developed is really valorized.

For more information, see this Youtube video.

Research groups


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Data Science

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