Anglian Water steps up drone leakage trial
Anglian Water is extending a trial of the use of thermal imaging drones to detect leaking water pipes.
The new technology has already been used to successfully identify leaks in the rural villages of Southery and Wissington, Norfolk, and the company plans to trial the new technology more over the coming months.
With nearly 24,000 miles of water pipe to keep an eye on, much of it in rural and remote areas, Anglian Water hopes the aerial technology will help reduce the cost and time taken to find a leak and pinpoint its location more precisely by spotting changes in soil temperature near the water pipes.
“The drones are just the latest weapon in our £60M war on leakage,” said Anglian Water’s Emma Staples.
“We’re testing other high-tech tools and have put more boots on the ground. Our 300-strong leakage team now includes new detection teams tasked with uncovering hard-to-find leaks, who have been given specialist training on how to use the new drone technology.
“We’ve also invested millions to better manage the water pressure in our network of pipes, dramatically reducing the number of bursts.”
The company’s focus on an innovative approach is paying dividends; last year Anglian’s leakage level was the lowest in the country and less than half the national average.
“We hate leaks as much as our customers do and we’re determined to keep reducing them,” Staples continued. “Our targets are already way beyond those of other water companies and we’re always looking for new ways to push things forward.
“The drones have already saved us time and money finding and fixing hard-to-spot leaks. We’ll continue to trial them over the coming months, focussing on leaks in and around Newmarket where our innovation hub, the Shop Window, is based.
“Leading on leakage reduction is what our customers told us they wanted. It’s the right thing to do for them and the environment. It also helps to increase of region’s resilience to drought.”
The drones will also help Anglian Water minimise disruption for customers, by covering large distances in a short space of time. The sensor and camera on the drone can identify differences in soil temperature which could be caused by water escaping from the pipe. These differences are then investigated further by a leakage technician on-site, rather than needing to be analysed back in the office.
South West Water announced earlier in the month that it is also trialling the use of drones for leak detection, after a research project with the University of Exeter suggested the effectiveness of the method.
- Isle Utilities joins forces with merchant bank Turquoise International, the specialist energy and environment merchant bank, has teamed up with cleantech innovation... Read More >
- Degassing technology wins Water Dragons heat at Utility Week Live A piece of technology which removes nitrogen bubbles from activated sludge floc won the day in the Water Dragons... Read More >
- Itron to supply 'high-end' meters to Yorkshire Water Yorkshire Water has awarded a new contract to Itron for the supply of advanced water meters for both residential and... Read More >
- Valves and flow control: Pressure Points Building a smarter network need not be expensive - a first step is to establish a calm pressure profile, writes Craig... Read More >
- Optimising water supply network performance the smart way Water network management is complex but accurate flow measurement plays across the spectrum of activities, says NEL's... Read More >
- Innovation Zone: FlowSure This month, we look at a software system that uses real-time network data to identify and prevent leaks and other network... Read More >
- Decreasing network pressure to minimise leakage With reducing leakage a priority for UK utilities, calming the network with the correct use of valves can make all the... Read More >
- Front Line: Phil Jones, Network Manager, Dee Valley Water WWT meets Phil Jones, who is tasked with keeping the water network flowing in Dee Valley Water's service region Read More >
- Divisional Operations Director Castle Water is the leading independent water retailer in the UK, and one of the fastest growing utility supply companies, supplying services... Read more here.
- Project Manager (Electrical & Instrumentation) SGN operates over 74,000km of gas mains and services in Scotland and the south of England. Whoever your supplier is, we have a responsibility... Read more here.