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THE MAGAZINE FOR THE DRAINAGE, WATER & WASTEWATER INDUSTRIES


with leakage, acoustic logging equipment is installed and once the leak is found, the kit is moved to a new site.


As this acoustic logging technology advances and costs fall, the direction of travel is towards more permanent monitoring. This has allowed UK utility Anglian Water to install over 3,200 of fixed network hydrophone acoustic loggers and results have been very positive. Leakage teams have been able to accurately pinpoint leaks and they are experiencing very few false-positive readings.


Pinpointing leaks


Having loggers distributed throughout the network and listening in at different points makes it possible to measure the time taken for noise to reach different loggers. This technique, known as correlation, makes for greater accuracy in pinpointing leaks. During trials, Anglian Water have found that correlation can work over longer distances than previously thought, so fewer loggers are required to cover the whole network.


James Hargrave, regional operational leakage manager, Anglian Water said, "The results we achieve show that working collaboratively and thinking differently complements the technology and data platforms to deliver a holistic and scaleable solution."


Some UK companies are exploring best use of these techniques following trials over the last few years and there will be wider rollouts in the next five-year asset management period (AMP7)


which started on 1 April 2020. Fixed network acoustic logging features in utilities’ business and water resource plans and chief executives are saying that this is what will help them achieve the stringent targets set by the regulator.


Looking ahead, the uptake of remote monitoring is expected to increase and the human resource challenge experienced during the coronavirus pandemic is a good example of why organisations must prioritise and accelerate their plans. During times when companies are very reluctant, or the situation makes it impossible, to send people out to work on the network and risk the health and safety of their employees, so new ways of carrying out operations will have to be found.


There are always tasks that must be done on site and others that can be carried out remotely and companies are trying to prioritise remote working where that is feasible. It is difficult to predict how that might impact on long-term trends but given that remote working is already underway for equipment monitoring and meter reading, it is likely to accelerate in leak detection.


Reducing risk


Even before Covid-19 there was a perfect storm driving leakage toward digital solutions – water scarcity, tightening budgets, carbon reduction, rising customer expectations and importantly, the availability of better and more affordable technologies.


The water industry has necessarily been Alan Cunningham


conservative and risk averse and has not always moved as fast as others in embracing new technology. These solutions are now becoming more widespread and where the risk is greater, whether that is from water shortages or sending operatives out on site, the balance shifts.


Given their position supplying clean wholesome water to their customer base, utilities should be aiming for a point where they can notify the customer in advance of any issue and provide advice. The water crisis may be deepening, but the increased availability of proven technologies that capture the power of data means that a more efficient and proactive service is within reach.


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June 2020 | drain TRADER 41


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