United Utilities rolls out record leakage investment
United Utilities is rolling out the biggest acoustic logger project in the world in a bid to tackle water leakage.
The company is expecting to spend around £30 million installing around 100,000 acoustic loggers over the next two years on its underground water supply network. The vast pipe system – more than 26,000 miles in length – would wrap around the world if the pipes were laid end to end.
Kevin Fowlie, United Utilities’ network delivery director, said: “We have one of the largest and oldest water supply networks in the UK and it’s a constant battle to keep on top of leaks. Many leaks never show on the surface, so it is a round-the-clock challenge to find and fix them.
“Following the extreme dry weather last year, we’ve seen leakage rates increase due to ground movement. We have doubled our leakage detection and repair resource to meet our leakage targets, and now we need to go even further.
"Our customers have told us it is one of the issues most important to them, so we have committed to a 20 per cent reduction in leakage over the coming five year investment period, and that means using the latest innovations.
"By 2020 we will have the largest estate of acoustic logger technology in the world. Every quarter of a mile on our water network we will be able to glean real-time data, allowing us to respond faster and more accurately when a pipe begins to leak.”
An acoustic logger is a small device, installed directly onto the fittings of a water pipe, that detects the characteristic noise waves that are transferred through pipe walls by a leak.
Upon detection of the sound, the logger sends an alarm to United Utilities’ integrated control centre. Analysts can then send an engineer to pinpoint the leak and raise work for it to be repaired.
Engineers carried out a trial of the technology last year when 2,000 loggers were installed in Liverpool and Manchester city centres. These are already thought to have saved up to 5 million litres of water a day.
In phase one of the project this summer, 44,000 loggers will be installed across the north west at a cost of £14 million. A second phase of 50,000 loggers, worth around £16 million, is in the pipeline for 2020.
The new loggers will join a growing arsenal of ideas employed by United Utilities in the battle to reduce leakage, including satellite technology and specially trained water sniffer dogs.
- Environment Agency calls for action on water efficiency Rivers and wildlife could be left without sufficient water unless action is taken to reduce water use and wastage,... Read More >
- Thames Water to install 'smart' water meters Thames Water is to become the first company in the UK to start installing smart water meters at all the properties it... Read More >
- ACWA completes ammonia removal plant at Leigh WwTW ACWA Services has completed a new £1.7M ammonia removal plant at United Utilities' (UU) Leigh Wastewater Treatment Works... Read More >
- Under pressure: Tackling leakage in new networks Leakage in new pipelines represents a significant problem but, working alongside Scottish Water, Ant Hire Solutions has... Read More >
- Comment: New tech and partnerships will up the ante on leakage Closer partnerships, technology and connectivity will be the key to tackling leakage, with collaborative delivery... Read More >
- SES Water seeks out below-ground intelligence Collaborative work to assess the condition of pipes in the Sutton and East Surrey region is set to give SES Water... Read More >
- Opinion: A smarter way to read the water network Smart metering technology could be the key to closing water companies' knowledge gaps about usage in their network -... Read More >
- Ready for anything: Resilience in the Round Resilience is one of the four priorities that Ofwat wants to see water companies adopt in their plans for PR19. But what... Read More >