South West Water's approach to finding leaks is out of this world

South West Water has teamed up with SUEZ and their technology partners, the satellite data analysts ASTERRA, to use satellites to help find water leaks underground to help reduce leakage levels across its network.

This technology is the same as is used to search for water on other planets, such as Mars, and works by using microwave sensors onboard a satellite in space to take photos of the earth showing potential water leaks.

As microwaves can penetrate up to two metres underground, the data will highlight potential leaks which may not be showing above ground so South West Water’s leakage technicians can locate more leaks and make necessary repairs.

South West Water provides drinking water and waste water services throughout Devon and Cornwall and in small areas of Dorset and Somerset. Wayne Arscott, Leakage Delivery Manager at the utility company, said: “We are continually working to improve our leakage performance and are on track to meet our leakage reduction plan, using innovative technology to identify leaks.

We maintain enough underground water pipes to reach Australia if laid end to end and investing in technology like this is key to helping us achieve our challenging leakage reduction targets.
Nick Haskins of SUEZ commented; “Over the last 12 months we have gone from scanning small areas of the network to covering the entire South West Water piped distribution and trunk mains system. It is fantastic to see all the satellite points of interest being distributed to the Leakage Technicians as part of their normal day to day activities, a true step change in active leakage control.

Steve Baker, ASTERRA UK&I Managing Director, said: “We are excited to be working in this beautiful part of the world with South West Water and our UK partner, SUEZ. ASTERRA’s product, called Recover, will help save treated water and thereby reduce the associated carbon emissions. Having this opportunity to help South West Water continue their performance improvement while also looking after the environment is particularly rewarding.

In the last two years South West Water has doubled its number of leak detection staff and significantly increased the number of Customer Leakage Technicians. The company is also using remote sensing technology which are acoustic loggers placed on the network that listen for leaks 24/7.

To find out more about satellite leak detection click here.


Media: Charlotte Thursz
[email protected]