Satellite leak detection

Satellite leak detection uses imagery from satellites overlaid on geographical information systems to detect water leaks. The technology – which SUEZ brought to the UK – allows us to provide a leak detection service that is more cost-effective and less resource-intensive than traditional methods.
Satellite leak detection in the UK

SUEZ brings world’s first satellite leak detection solution to UK

Satellite imaging technology – used for over 20 years to detect the presence of water on distant planets – is helping our water company customers locate leaks more effectively in the UK.


We take images from satellite-mounted sensors and overlay them on geographic information systems. Using a unique algorithm that detects treated water, this patented system can locate leaks more efficiently over large areas. Each image covers a 3 500km² area of land – big enough to cover most UK cities, and thousands of kilometres of pipework.


billion litres

of water lost every day in the UK water sector

A strategic perspective of water leakage

Many factors contribute to water leakage within a network, such as ageing infrastructure and pipe damage caused by freezing weather or heavy traffic on roads. The far-flung nature of distribution networks and the need to balance preventive and responsive works, while minimising disruption and cost, add to the challenge.


This innovative technology allows water companies to tackle the problem at scale.


Satellite leak detection is a novel, strategic solution that enables water companies to monitor entire distribution systems in an accurate and systematic way, without making changes or installing equipment to existing infrastructure.


The benefits of this approach include:

  • No preparations or upfront investments required.
  • Multiple surveys can be made through the year, rather than every 2-3 years.
  • More effective use of field labour, eliminating randomly working through a DMA.
  • Priority leaks can be targeted quickly, reducing potential damage and claims.
  • An entire water system can be covered in a single screening.
  • Background leaks that might otherwise go undetected can be found quickly.
ASTERRA, technology by Utilis
SUEZ provides ASTERRA Recover satellite leak detection services in the UK and Ireland in conjunction with our technology partner, Utilis.

Utilis leak detection technology from space


Case study

South Staffs Water

Why satellite leak detection has become part of the South Staffs Water’s leakage reduction plans.
Read more