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Locating Bahrain’s underground utilities

7 Sep 2017

The Survey and Land Registration Bureau (SLRB) has partnered with the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) and the Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs, and Urban Planning (MWMAUP) to improve the accurate location of underground utilities in the Kingdom.

3D data model of Bahrain

His Excellency Shaikh Salman Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, President of SLRB said: "For decades SLRB has mapped and charted the natural and built environment ‘on the land’ and ‘below the waters’ of Bahrain. This is the first time that we are working to better record the location of features ‘under the land’. SLRB is working to support our sisterly agencies and the private sector in their respective business of locating and recording underground utilities by sharing our geospatial knowledge and skills and our international networks of partners."

Global specialists in positioning and mapping technologies, Ordnance Survey International (OSI), are working with the partner ministries to study current management of underground utilities information. OSI will then set out a roadmap for the future precise positioning and improved recording of location of Bahrain’s national underground utility assets.

Eng. Naji Sabt, SLRB’s General Director of Survey, adds: "It’s about linking the best and latest available technologies with strong information management procedures to ensure the right people have the right information on which to make good decisions, be it new developments or infrastructure."

"In Bahrain, we have all experienced the inconvenience of utilities works investigating underground assets; we hope to minimise the significant costs and delays involved and particularly reduce the impacts on major infrastructure projects and improving sustainability. In fact, improving the recording of their [underground utilities] precise location when installed and inspected during maintenance – better information for better decisions and planning."

From July to December 2017, OSI will be consulting stakeholders on the current state of underground utilities information management. Key experts representing OS from the United Kingdom will hold stakeholder workshops to share their international experiences and explore international and industry standards and practices. Advanced and industry accepted technologies, such as Electromagnetic Profiling Locators and Ground Penetrating Radar, will be tested in the field at key sites to identify the best tools to locate and map the corresponding existing utilities.

Within Bahrain both private consultants and surveying firms are key. Firms responsible for installation or maintenance of underground assets must ensure utilities, such as pipes or cables, are placed in the correct location and their position accurately recorded to the agreed standards and specification when installed or inspected. They too will benefit from better information and records with reduced need for digging trial holes, reducing hazards involved and cost over-runs.

The project plays an important role in achieving the objectives of the Bahrain Economic Vision 2030 and the Kingdom’s progressive development agenda towards a globally competitive economy. OSI will provide recommendations aimed at generating efficiencies across the utilities sector directly supporting utility owners with better information about the 3D position and attributes of their aboveground and underground assets. Through improved information capture and records management, knowing which assets are buried allows construction and infrastructure projects to plan and progress efficiently, contributing directly to sustainable urban growth.

Nigel Clifford, CEO of Ordnance Survey, said: "Ordnance Survey and SLRB have a long and close partnership in using location information to support national infrastructure projects. The accurate positioning, and mapping, of underground assets is a challenge which all nations, including Britain, face. Given Bahrain’s rapid growth we are delighted to work together on this project, the first of its kind in the region. I am confident that the project will deliver significant benefits across many areas of development within the Kingdom of Bahrain."

SLRB is the authority for land and property registration and national mapping for the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Bahrain Economic Vision 2030 establishes a roadmap for economic and societal growth across the Kingdom of Bahrain and focuses on developing government, the private sector, and enhancing the lives of Bahraini citizens towards a sustainable future.

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey
Press Office

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