The Sky Is the Limit: Ensuring Reliable Water Supply at Extreme Altitudes

13. June 2023 | 4 min read

Reinforced thermoplastic pipe (RTP) systems — manufactured by Pipelife’s brand SoluForce — are a piping solution designed to withstand even the harshest environments, from sweltering desert heat to the high humidity of the jungle. However, RTP pipes are in demand not only in faraway locations but also in Europe. A mountain hotel in the Bode Gorge nature reserve, Germany, was faced with the dilemma of how to ensure drinking water supply from the valley more than 240 meters below. SoluForce’s team addressed the numerous project challenges, allowing the hotel guests and staff to enjoy safe drinking water at all times.

Reinforced thermoplastic pipe systems

Sustainable Development for a Protected Area

The Bode Gorge nature reserve covers a crucial conservation area on the border of Germany and Austria, with a total area of 4.75 km2. The secluded reserve has become a beloved destination for nature lovers and hikers due to its breathtaking valleys, deep ravines, lush vegetation and pristine rivers and streams.

As the reserve is home to sensitive ecosystems, any developments here have to be carried out non-intrusively, and numerous commonly used construction methods, such as deep trenching, are not allowed. Strict regulations also concern the local hospitality providers, ensuring sustainable tourism practices in the area. 

Supplying Water up the Hill

When a new-built mountain hotel located in the Harz mountains range, the northern part of the reserve, was looking for a way to connect to the drinking water network in the valley below, the challenging topography and environmental restrictions severely limited the solutions available.

The supply system had to be able to transport water up a 240-meter-high mountain at a 30-bar operating pressure. Furthermore, the steep, rugged slope covered with sharp rocks complicated the works and accessibility of the installation area. 

On such incline and length, a steel pipeline would collapse under its own weight if installed straight up the hill. However, the RTP system by Pipelife’s brand SoluForce proved to be a solution that was not only cost-effective but also fully in line with the installation requirements and local environmental regulations.

In total, nearly 400 meters of the SoluForce Classic pipe were used for the project, overcoming the vertical height of over 240 meters. The installation was quick and could be carried out during the operational maintenance of the nearby passenger ropeway.  

Pipes for new-built mountain hotel
Reinforced thermoplastic pipe systems are designed to withstand the harshest environments, from desert heat to the high humidity of the jungle

Piping System That Loves a Challenge

The flexible, metal-free SoluForce Classic pipe is reinforced with synthetic fiber and, for water, can handle operating pressures of up to 72 bar, making it more than sufficient for the Bodet Gorge project needs. 

Due to a PE liner pipe, the system fully meets the high hygiene requirements for drinking water projects and has been certified by the world’s leading testing bodies. Furthermore, SoluForce RTP systems are corrosion-resistant and virtually maintenance-free, with an expected lifetime of up to 50 years, which is another vital advantage for hard-to-access areas.

More than 4,000 kilometers of SoluForce RTP pipes have already been installed around the globe, including multiple water supply and distribution projects where using other pipelines would not be possible or feasible. 

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