Atkins uses NetCreate to accelerate water network planning in Nepal – for Anglian Water and WaterAid

Engineering and design consultant Atkins (a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group) has automatically generated layout plans for more than 170km of new water network in Nepal, improving supply and hygiene for thousands of people.

The work was carried out by Atkins as part of charitable support provided by Anglian Water for WaterAid’s Beacon Project, which aims to provide a clean water supply in Lahan – a fast-growing town with a population of approximately 100,000 in south-eastern Nepal.

Central to its support, Atkins deployed its NetCreate digital tool in order to accelerate the network planning process.

NetCreate is an innovative digital process which draws on global open source or client-specific GIS (Geographic Information System) datasets to automatically create outline water networks on a repeatable basis, devising the shortest route from water sources to demand points.

Evita Widjaja, Atkins Project Manager said:

“The project was broken down into two stages. Stage 1 was to develop high-level water supply networks in three wards that do not currently have any pipework, served by three water towers. Stage 2 was to review the water supply layout for urban Lahan for an increased customer coverage.

“NetCreate was adapted to use the existing network as a starting point for the pipe routing to show which parts may need to be upgraded or extended to allow water supply to more customers. Key considerations including pipe routing optimisation pressure management and actual / required storage capacities were highlighted as recommendations in further design stages.

“The final result was that four scenarios with different assumptions were processed through NetCreate, showing its flexibility with standardized data. By using NetCreate we were able to generate more than 170km of high level water network in just three months.”

Stage 2
Stage 1

How the project was delivered:

  • Stage 1 – 73km of pipework with diameters up to 315mm was generated for over 15,000 people in three rural wards. Scenario testing of additional storage to the east of the river crossing was assessed for increased resilience, and resulted in better pressure management opportunities.
  • Stage 2 – 99km of pipework with diameters up to 500mm was generated to serve over 42,000 people in the urban wards by 2030, compared to the existing 66km-long network currently serving approximately 14,000 people. Geospatial analysis for recommended network expansion or pipe upsizing were also undertaken to provide added value for Anglian Water and WaterAid.

The output from NetCreate was then imported into proprietary modelling software to refine the hydraulic assessment.

Andy Taylor, Digital Transformation Director at Atkins said:

“This is a really important project for the people of Lahan and it’s a great example of collaborative working with Anglian Water and WaterAid to help deliver high-level water network layout plans for the most essential services, by using our latest digital tools.

“The Beacon Project will make a huge difference to peoples’ lives in Lahan, and Atkins is extremely pleased to be able to support it in this way.”

WaterAid’s Beacon Project was established in 2017 to bring clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene to everyone living in Lahan by 2030 – in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6).

James Gelsthorpe, Senior System Optimisation Engineer at Anglian Water, said:

“The insight the NetCreate tool and the NetCreate team has provided to The Beacon Project is incredibly valuable.

“This insight is a key foundation towards designing a new network for Wards 13,14 and 24 in Lahan, regions that do not currently have a piped water network. The outputs will enable the Beacon team to develop a network more effectively than using conventional manual methods.”

Hannah Gray, Beacon Project UK Programme Manager at WaterAid, said:

“Thank you to the team at Atkins for generously providing the NetCreate tool and staff time to The Beacon Project.

“The outputs generated from NetCreate will help our partner, the Nepal Water Supply Corporation, to efficiently target their limited resources to provide clean water to people that currently don’t have access to a reliable and safe supply.”

Find out more about The Beacon Project:




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