Case Study

Using Cathodic Protection to Improve Performance Monitoring in Calgary

Enhancing corrosion management and asset optimisation in Calgary’s water infrastructure with real-time data monitoring.


Related Topics

Pipeline Corrosion Monitoring

Cathodic Protection Remote Monitoring

With a population of 1.24 million, Calgary is Canada’s fourth-largest city and is trending toward further growth. With a 5,000-kilometre watermain network, the City continues to build and replace its system to meet demand, investing in smart corrosion management to protect the system and the public.

To get ahead of potential failures, the City runs an aggressive anode retrofit and replacement program, waging war on watermain breaks. Since 1982, they have reduced breaks by a remarkable 85%. The annual investment in corrosion protection – on average, more than CAD $2 million per year – is a key factor in this success.


To manage corrosion in Calgary’s water network, the City employs galvanic and impressed current cathodic protection systems, which helps mitigate damage to metallic pipes and lengthen their lifespan.

Galvanic cathodic protection is typically used on the metallic portion of the City’s distribution pipes, while impressed current is reserved for the City’s larger steel transmission mains, which are considered critical assets. While the results are effective, monitoring and maintaining a rectifier on an impressed system can be expensive.

Manual inspections are slow and resource-intensive. They can also present safety issues, introduce human error, and, due to the need for regular field inspections, contribute to carbon emissions. Maintenance or repair often requires shutting down high-traffic areas, causing complaints from the public and business owners.


Along with the rest of the world, the North American water industry is rapidly moving toward data-driven systems. As an early adopter of wireless data monitoring systems for water networks, the City of Calgary was well ahead of the curve. The City started working with MOBILTEX in 2008. With the resulting data, Calgary has made great strides.

Now deployed throughout the City’s network, MOBILTEX’s low-cost, fixed-function RMU2 Remote Monitoring Unit is designed for cathodic remote monitoring applications, ideal for automated monitoring of rectifiers, test points, and bonds. In Calgary, the units are paired with CorView, MOBILTEX’s smart, secure web interface, which give inspection teams access to up-to-the-minute measurement data about their systems.


Already, Calgary monitors more than 121 km of steel feeder main, and Engel’s team plans to expand this annually. The MOBILTEX solution is now built into the specifications for any new infrastructure and critical mains. “The project is ongoing, but the idea is to monitor the entire steel critical feeder main system, eventually,” Engel says.

The collected data is informing other departments, too. “We regularly share data with the asset managers, which helps them optimise timelines and budgets for O&M and replacement,” he adds. “This way, we can get the most from the City’s infrastructure.”

As an early adopter of IIoT technology in the water sector, Calgary is now able to look back at 11 years’ worth of data. “Compared to the cost, the savings have been significant,” Engel says. Dollar for dollar, the cost of protecting 10 km of pipe is the same cost as replace one kilometre, according to a 2015 article that appeared in the Calgary Herald. “Additionally,” he adds, “real-time monitoring has made our team smarter. It has not only helped us benchmark our system’s performance, but also given us the time to explore new ways to improve and optimise.”

The data we receive has helped us lower costs, minimise complaints from the public, and rapidly address damage by third parties. In a nutshell, it has made our lives a lot easier.

– Rod Engel, Team Lead, Cathodic Protection, City of Calgary
Featured SWAN Members: