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Northumbrian to use satellite technology to spot leaks

Northumbrian Water has become the latest water company to use satellite technology for leak detection.

Northumbrian has teamed up with SUEZ UK and satellite experts Utilis to use the technology – which is also used to help find water on other planets – to help identify leaks on a stretch of its network in County Durham and rural Northumberland.

The satellites, which can capture detailed images that cover 3,500 square km at once, will analyse the imagery to detect leaks and unusual amounts of water on the networks and pinpoint them to a team of leakage technicians on the ground, who will follow up, carry investigations and repairs.

The first phase of activity will be focusing primarily on trunk mains, which often run through quite rural areas of the region and are particularly difficult to identify leaks on due to the terrain and geography.

The survey from space could result in problematic leaks in some of the most remote areas of the region being fixed and water being saved more quickly than ever before.

Northumbrian Water′s network performance technical specialist, Joseph Butterfield, said: "This is extremely exciting technology that opens up a whole world of leakage detection benefits for us and we′re delighted to be working with Suez UK on the project and to see what we find and can fix.

"The sheer speed of the process, the detail it gives and the distances the images cover is fantastic and should really help us improve our performance around finding and fixing leaks and saving water."

Nick Haskins from SUEZ UK, the exclusive representative of Utilis in the UK and Ireland, is said: "We′re very excited to be teaming up with Northumbrian Water on this project and are really excited to see what impact it can have on the company′s performance around leakage.

"Using satellite technology to locate and fix water leaks is the most up-to-date and innovative method there is out there and it gives water companies the ability to survey the whole water pipe network in a single operation. This, of course, has the added benefit of being completely discreet to the customer and without any disruption to them."

Severn Trent, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities previously announced that are trialling the technology.

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Innovation , Leaks & bursts
Tags: Northumbrian Water , satellite , leak detection


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