New technology targets water wastage

A new innovative technology has been designed that could help water companies to reduce wastage from leaking water pipes.

The new leak detection system, which is designed to identify damaged water pipes rapidly and accurately, has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield.

The system tests pipes by transmitting pressure waves along them, sending back a signal if it comes across any unexpected feature such as a crack in a pipe. The strength of the signal sent back can then determine the size and location of the leak.

The design is being trialled at Yorkshire Water’s field operators training site in Bradford and initial results show that leaks in cast iron pipes can be located to within one metre while plastic pipe leaks could be located to within just 20cm.

Current leak detection methods rely on acoustic sensing with microphones which can identify noise made by pressurised water escaping from pipes.

The Sheffield team claim that their invention is less time consuming and less prone to errors than the traditional method.

Current estimates suggest that up to 40% of the UK’s total water supply is lost through leakage in the water network every year.

Conor McGlone

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