Big or small, we will find you.

While a 100% leak-free water network is a pipe dream for utilities worldwide, Unitywater is taking bold strides towards achieving this for its customers by further enhancing its suite of leak-detection technologies.

Unitywater is placing sensors in water pipes that use acoustics to monitor pressure and flow. When these sensors pick up unusual pressure variations, which can be signs of leaks, they send an instant alert to network operators.

Two acoustic monitoring sensors are being trialled simultaneously. Israeli leak detection technology firm Aquarius Spectrum is supplying its AQS-SYS sensors, while Swiss intelligent water technologies company Gutermann is supplying its HISCAN sensors.

“Water leaks of any size are always regrettable,” Unitywater Executive Manager Customer Delivery Rob Dowling said. “They cause wasteful and costly water loss, they damage infrastructure and they cause concern and disruption for our customers who are often without water while we conduct repairs.

“These technologies address these issues by helping us to detect leaks of varying sizes before they escalate to major pipe bursts and asset failure.

“The key benefit of these sensors is their fast notification. They give us an instant alert to a pressure change, which then triggers a faster response from us on the ground and therefore a much swifter fix.

“To date, we have not been able to monitor small changes in pressure or flow in our trunk mains, which has made it difficult to take corrective action before a break occurs.

“This really takes our leak-detection technology to a new and sophisticated level, giving us much more comprehensive network coverage.

“As a result, our customers can be confident that we’re doing everything possible to reduce leaks in our network.”

Unitywater is presently alerted to leaks by a monitoring system called TaKaDu, feedback from the public or investigations on the ground by field crews.

TaKaDu identifies leaks in the reticulation network, while members of the public are only able to alert Unitywater to leaks that are visible at the surface.

This new technology will detect more subtle changes to water flow and pressure in Unitywater’s larger, trunk water mains.

Data gathered by the sensors over time also predict future failure points and track network changes, giving Unitywater a more complete picture of its water network than ever before.

Unitywater will trial these technologies at two of its trunk mains on the Sunshine Coast.

Image: Aviv Amiri from Aquarius Spectrum, Unitywater Network Operations Manager Graeme Mitchell, Geoff Morgan from Inatex, Unitywater Network Operations Leader Martine Watson, Principal Digital Engineer Ratna Geddam and Fault Analytics Team Leader Tony Wotton.

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